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Thread: How to Identify Silver?

  1. #1
    Valued Senior Member Carcano's Avatar
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    How to Identify Silver?

    One of my nieces brought home a necklace she bought at a garage sale a few days ago. She paid all of five dollars for it, but as soon as I picked it up I noticed it was quite heavy.

    Hmm, I said, maybe this is real silver...which would make it worth 40-50 bucks just for the melt value.

    Wowee, she shouted...or maybe its platinum!

    Dont push your luck kiddo.

    So I got a magnet, and sure enough its not magnetic. Most junk jewelry is magnetic.

    I'm still not sure though. It could be sterling silver, but then it would usually have a 925 stamp on it somewhere...indicating 92.5% silver alloy with copper or zinc.

    Or it could be plated??? I just dont know.

    Is there anyway to identify real silver without destroying the piece?


  2. #2
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Usually there is an engraving which identifies the silver

  3. #3
    I suppose you could give it the old mustard test.
    http://www.helium.com/items/176936-h...or-pure-silver

  4. #4
    Valued Senior Member Carcano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joepistole View Post
    I suppose you could give it the old mustard test.
    http://www.helium.com/items/176936-h...or-pure-silver
    Oh, thats good...make it tarnish.

    However, if its silver alloyed with zinc, it will be resistant to tarnishing.

    All I've established is that it contains no iron or nickel...both of which are magnetic.

  5. #5
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Why not just take it to a jewler and let them examine it for you. That way you'll see how they test so you can do it next time.

  6. #6
    Tell your neice she has good taste.

  7. #7
    Valued Senior Member Carcano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Why not just take it to a jewler and let them examine it for you. That way you'll see how they test so you can do it next time.
    I think jewelers use some kind of acid test.

    Or maybe they measure the volume against mass...using the water displacement method discovered by Archimedes.

  8. #8
    Valued Senior Member Carcano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_raven View Post
    Tell your niece she has good taste.
    Yes, it looks better than the pic.

  9. #9
    Valued Senior Member Carcano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Usually there is an engraving which identifies the silver
    I'm not sure every country has rules about stamping silver.

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