HOW TO TEST SILVER

SILVER - A BACKGROUND

Silver is a metallic chemical element with an atomic number of 47 and the symbol Ag. Silver is a soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal.

Silver is one of the most valuable elements next to gold. Mexico is the leading producer of silver, followed by the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Peru, and Russia. Silver can be found in nature in silver ore, silver ore is a mixture of other metals including silver.

Jewellery and silverware are traditionally made from sterling silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. In the US, only an alloy consisting of at least 92.5% fine silver can be marketed as "silver". Sterling silver is harder than pure silver, and has a lower melting point (893 C) than either pure silver or pure copper. Britannia silver is an alternative hallmark-quality standard containing 95.8% silver, often used to make silver tableware and wrought plate. With the addition of germanium, the patented modified alloy Argentium Sterling Silver is formed, with improved properties including resistance to firescale.

Sterling silver jewelry is often plated with a thin coat of .999 fine silver to give the item a shiny finish. This process is called "flashing". Silver jewelry can also be plated with rhodium (for a bright, shiny look) or gold.

SO HOW CAN WE TELL IF IT'S REALLY SILVER?

Precious Metal Testing Kit For Gold, Silver and Platinum
Precious Metal Testing Kit, Test For Gold, Silver & Platinum

Procedures For Testing Silver Using A Nitric Acid Testing Kit:

If you cannot find a mark or a stamp on the piece and you are looking for sterling silver, it does not mean it is not silver, many countries do not require that precious metal items be stamped. However there is a way to test it if you really want it and think it is worth the time and trouble to do it. Silver can be tested with nitric acid, be careful as it involves using an acid which can burn the skin. To apply you make a tiny scratch on the item in an inconspicuous place and apply a drop of nitric acid to the spot. If the spot turns a creamy colour it is high quality silver, usually sterling. If it turns black it is coin quality silver and if it turns green it has high amounts of copper and therefore is poor quality silver and a gold colour means a lot of brass, it means this is a silver plated item.

Magnets are only attracted to ferrous (iron) materials, Silver is not magnetic. You can use a neodymium magnet (Rare Earth Magnet) for preliminary gold and Silver testing

To test for silver, you will need the following materials and tools:

- Black acid testing Stone that is washed thoroughly with water prior to each test.
- Silver Test Acid

Silver Test Acid is available from Star Struck, LLC as part of a Deluxe Gold Testing Acid Kit.

Testing For Silver

Place a drop of acid on the object to be tested.
90 to 100% silver, the acid will show a creamy color.
77-90% silver, the acid turns a gray color.
65-75% silver, then the acid will show a light green color.

If there are no visible markings on the piece of jewelry,
how can I test it to see if it's really sterling silver?

Testing for silver - Important Notes:

A chemical test for silver only tests for the "presence" of silver, it does not test for plating. If an item's inner core is nickel, and it's exterior is plated with sterling silver, the piece will test positive as sterling silver. So, saying that an item tests positive for silver is not the same as saying that it is "solid silver ". It means that where the chemical was applied, the "metal" for the test was present, and it turned positive.

In another example, you can test a piece of jewelry to see if there is a "presence" of 18k gold. If it is only plated, it WILL test positive if there is 18k gold. This is because it reacts only with the 18k gold in the plating. The ONLY way, to genuinely test a piece of jewelry that is not marked, is to take a metal file and remove a top layer of metal in any area of the item.Be sure to remove any plating material, and carefully apply the acid to this area below the plating (without it touching the other unscratched area) and note the reaction. A general rule of thumb for all professionals in the jewelry business is this, If it isn't marked .925, .900, SS, S.Silver, sterling,12k, 14k, 18k etc, then it is not. Bottom line, if it is marked, and in question, then test it. If it is not marked, then 99.999% of the time it is not even worth the trouble testing the item because it is not marked for a reason and that reason is because it's not a solid precious metal.


Gold Testing Acid Kit
Gold/Silver/Platinum Testing Acid Kit
Only $69.95

 Deluxe Gold/Silver/Platinum Testing Kit

A must for purchasing, appraising and testing precious metals.
Packaged in a hinged wooden case.
Includes:
One 12g bottle of each 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, Platinum and Silver acid
1 test stone 1.5" x 2"
A five karat test needle set for 8, 10, 12, 14 and 18k.
1 Rare Earth Magnet
 

rare earth magnet
Rare Earth magnet
Only $7.99

 Rare Earth Magnet

This neodymium magnet is for preliminary gold testing. Precious metals are not magnetic.
Measures: 7/8" x 3/16" thick
New Birthstone Collection Mii Beads
 

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 In The News:
Howtotestsilver.com launches new website for testing silver. Silver testers determine if it is real sterling silver or fake.

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