Sterling Silver Information

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Silver Acid Tests for Sterling

We remain convinced that the best ways to ensure that you are buying true sterling silver jewelry are these:

  • Ask a jeweler to teaching you how to identify sterling and its imposters.  Once you get a sense of the color and luster of sterling, you won't be fooled.

  • Buy from a reputable source. 

  • Don't be a "price sucker."  Silver prices are set globally.  If someone is offering you sterling silver at a price that is unbelievably good, then you are probably being offered fake silver or silver plating.

Another approach is to use a silver acid test kit.  These kits are readily available (do a search on the phrase "silver acid test" and you will find a number of sources).  Silver acid tests make use of nitric acid.  The problem with testing, however, is that you have to damage an item to test it.

The procedure is simple.  You make a nick in a hidden spot on the piece of jewelry you wish to test with a file or needle (also available for purchase).  Next, place a drop of the acid on the scratch.  The color that results will give you an indication of the silver content of the item.  Most kits come with a color chart to aid in interpretation.  (Different testing solutions yield different color results.)

The "reading" of the scratch results is a bit subjective.  You will learn if the jewelry piece has silver in it, or not.  You will also get a general sense of how pure the silver is.  However, you don't get a number from these tests; they won't tell you "925/1000 -- it's sterling!" 

One piece if information you can glean from the test, even without the drop of acid, is whether the piece you are testing is plated or not.  A slight nick is enough to cut through plating and reveal if that solid sterling jewelry you bought is really sterling through and through. 

Another approach is to take your jewelry to a lab, have it melted down, and then assayed.  That, of course, has an obvious drawback!  Again, train your eye and then trust your own judgment.



Index Of Articles

"Silver 101"
"Sources of Silver"

"Sterling Silver Defined'"
"Silver Standards"

"Silver Marks and Hallmarks"

"Silver Testing Kits"

"The Silversmith"
"Silver Coins"

Plating & Treatments

"Silver Plated Jewelry"
"Gold Vermeil Jewelry"
"Rhodium Plated Sterling"
"Antiqued Silver"

Fake Silver Jewelry

"Alpaca Silver Jewelry"
"German Silver Jewelry"

Silver Jewelry Styles

"Bali Silver"
"Indian Silver"
"Thai Hill Tribe Silver"
"Tibetan Silver"
"Turkish Silver"

Silver Allergies

"Silver/Nickel Sensitivities"
"Hypoallergenic Jewelry"

Recent Developments

"Argentium® Sterling Silver"

"Silver PMC®"

"The Origins of Tarnish"

"Tarnish Removal"

"Firescale (Firestain)"

"Proper Silver Storage"

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