How to Test Sterling Silver for Authenticity

Many people have items made of sterling silver. It’s common for women to have sterling silver necklaces, and some people have sterling silver vases in their homes. Since sterling silver is so popular, some vendors try to pass off non-silver items as genuine. That’s why it’s so important to test your silver pieces’ authenticity. Anyone wondering how to test sterling silver for authenticity should read this resourceful guide.

Check for Markings

Sterling silver pieces typically contain 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal alloy. Most manufacturers will put a marking on each sterling silver item they produce. That way, consumers can know exactly what percentage of silver is in the product they want to buy. The first step is to inspect your sterling silver items for any markings. If you don’t see any markings on your sterling silver item, that may mean it’s a fake.

Perform the Magnet Test

The magnet test is probably the simplest thing you can do to determine if an accessory is really sterling silver. Silver is a non-ferrous metal, meaning it’s not magnetic. To perform the magnet test, all you need to do is grab a magnet from the fridge and place your sterling silver item near it. If the piece immediately clings to the magnet, then it’s not actually sterling silver. Even if the object moves slightly toward the magnet, that still indicates it’s not sterling silver. If you intend to purchase a sterling silver accessory from a shop, bring a magnet with you so that you can perform the test on the spot. Checking right then and there will prevent you from making a poor investment.

Smell It

The “smell it” method is somewhat unconventional, but it works. Real sterling silver doesn’t exude any sort of odor. If you question whether or not you have genuine sterling silver, simply put the piece against your nose and take a whiff. If you smell anything unusual or foul, that strongly indicates that the piece is fake. Again, much like the magnet test, the “smell it” method is something you can easily do at a shop before you purchase an item. Make sure to ask the jeweler or manufacturer if you can take the item to a neutral-smelling area while you check it. Sometimes, shops that sell fakes make the entire room stink, so you can’t get a read on how the item smells. Be smart, and do everything you can to ensure you buy an authentic piece of sterling silver.

If you’re on the hunt for genuine sterling silver for sale, Nelson and Nelson Antiques only sells quality, authentic statement pieces. We can guarantee you’ll receive not only a piece you know is real but a piece that will last you a lifetime.