Silver is a very popular material for jewellery making. To qualify as jewellery, silver objects must be composed of 92.5% pure silver and less than 7.5% of another metal, usually copper. There are many cheap imitations of silver in which a silver coating is used. Some produce silver jewellery but do not have any of the valuable properties of silver.
Distinguishing fake from real money
There are several methods of recognising real money. The first is to check whether the jewellery bears a hallmark. The most commonly used stamps are 925, 92.5, Sterling, S/S, Sterling 92.5 or the Minerva head in France. However, there are many antique jewels that are difficult to identify. It is therefore advisable to contact a jeweller or goldsmith to find out more. In Italy and Mexico, some brands have their own hallmark. The colour of a piece of jewellery can also be used to identify real silver. If it’s too shiny, chances are it’s silver-plated. Real 925 silver is rather dull and if the jewellery is blackened, this is a good sign. It has oxidised a little and just needs a good cleaning with a flannel cloth to restore its shine.
Proceed to the magnet test
If you have any doubts about an object or an alleged silver jewel, you can easily recognise the silver by using a powerful magnet. If the coin moves towards or sticks to the magnet, it is fake silver. This does not mean that it is pure silver, it may contain materials that are not magnetic. The other method is the sound test. You just have to put the silver coin in your hand and make it sound when it comes in contact with a metal rod. A clear and pure sound like the ringing of a bell will appear. A dull sound means that the silver is not pure but that it is in the presence of a metal alloy.
Chlorine or bleach test
Bleach or chlorine have a strong oxidising power which makes it possible to recognise real silver. If a cotton bud soaked in bleach tarnishes the silver, making it black, it is the precious metal. This method is very useful for identifying silver from an ingot or a coin. You can also use the ice cube test to identify the silver metal. Putting the silver in contact with the ice cube will instantly melt the jewellery due to the thermal conductivity of silver.