How to Determine the Quality of Silver Used in a Necklace

Determine the Quality of Silver Used in a Necklace

Sterling silver is a beautiful and elegant metal that’s popularly used in jewelry. It’s also a very durable material that can be crafted into exquisite necklaces that will stand the test of time. However, it’s important to know that not all silver necklaces are created equal. Some are simply made with a thin layer of silver that’s been plated over another material such as gold or copper. Others may be completely made of genuine solid sterling silver. Sadly, some sellers misrepresent their products by listing them as sterling silver when they are not. If you’re not sure whether a necklace is made of sterling silver, there are several easy ways to tell.

The first step is to check the hallmark on your piece of jewelry. A hallmark is a mark that’s stamped on the surface of a precious metal item to indicate the silver content, maker, or other information. Most genuine silver items are marked with a hallmark such as “925” or SS. The “925” part of the hallmark refers to the percentage of silver in the item. 925 silver is an alloy that contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper, to increase durability.

How to Determine the Quality of Silver Used in a Necklace

In addition to checking the hallmark, you should also pay attention to the item’s coloring and shine. Silver that’s plated tends to be brighter in color than sterling silver. This is because many plated items are coated with rhodium to prevent tarnish and keep the piece shiny. Genuine sterling silver, on the other hand, has a greyish hue that’s more natural than the glistening of most plated baubles.

You can also conduct a simple acid test to find out if your item is silver-plated or not. If you put a small amount of bleach on a cotton swab and rub it against the silver object, if it’s real silver it will leave black marks on the cloth. Fake silver, on the other hand, will not react with bleach.

If you’re still not sure, try smelling the piece of jewelry. Solid sterling silver is odorless, but if the piece has a sulfur or metallic scent then it’s not made of pure silver. You can also scratch the silver with your finger nail to see if it reveals another metal underneath, a sign that it is plated and not pure silver.

Lastly, you can use a magnet to determine if your item is silver-plated or fake. Real sterling silver is non-magnetic, but if it attracts the magnet it’s likely made of a ferromagnetic metal such as iron, nickel, or cobalt instead of silver. This is a quick and easy test that can be done while at the store. You can also perform a more involved acid test at home with a drop of sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. For best results, purchase a kit that includes protective gloves and goggles since these acids are corrosive. A drop of acid will react with silver, leaving a dark black mark on the item if it’s genuine.