What is Real 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry and How To Identify It?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.
Fine silver, for example 99.9% pure silver, is relatively soft, so silver is usually alloyed with copper to increase its hardness and strength. Sterling silver is prone to tarnishing, and elements other than copper can be used in alloys to reduce tarnishing, as well as casting porosity and firescale. Such elements include germanium, zinc, platinum, silicon, and boron. Recent examples of alloys using these metals include argentium, sterlium, sterilite and silvadium.
The reason silver needs to be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make great designs with just pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of hardness has to be introduced, by adding other metals such as copper. That’s why jewelers are capable of making the most intricate and complex designs with 925 Sterling Silver.
925 Sterling Silver jewelry certainly does not come cheap. It requires quite an investment from your side, whether you are buying a sterling silver pendant or a necklace. But it is a worthwhile investment as its value increases with time. What is very important though is not to be duped into buying fake 925 sterling silver jewelry.
This is a serious issue because many jewelers are known to sell fake sterling silver necklaces, rings, earrings and so on. Sterling silver is much cheaper than costlier metals such as gold, and yet, fake imitations of sterling silver jewelry are sold in the market.
For instance, it is common to come across silver plated jewelries that are sold as real sterling silver jewelries. Just jewelries have only a minimal silver content and are bound to deteriorate, sooner than later.
That is why, knowing how to identify real 925 sterling silver from the fake ones will be of a great help to you and save you from much pain later.
The techniques described here will help you do just that – to identify real sterling silver jewelry from the fake ones that are sold by certain untrustworthy sellers.
1. Rub the jewelry using a soft white cloth. If you find any black marks on the cloth, then you can be sure that it is made of real sterling silver. This is because any air exposure causes real sterling silver to oxidize. This causes them to deteriorate with time, and the reason why black marks are found on the cloth they are polished with.
2. Do The Nitric Acid Test. When drops of nitric acid are added to fake non-silver jewelries, they cause them to lose their color. Always ask a jeweler before buying 925 sterling silver from him if you can conduct the nitric acid test on it.
Nitric acid has no effect on real s925 sterling silver, so if the jeweler is selling you a genuine product, he won’t have any objection to that. But be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes with goggles while doing the nitric acid test.
If the jewelry is made of real sterling silver, the part on which you drop the nitric acid will appear creamy in color, otherwise, if fake, it will appear green.
3. Use the Smell Test. Real sterling silver shouldn’t smell. If it does, it is because there is too much copper in it.
4. Use the Magnet Test. This is a simple test. Magnets have no effect on silver – just as they have no effect on gold or platinum. But if you find that the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, then it will be clear to you that it is not made of real sterling silver.
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