It is easy for an uninformed buyer to sell a fake, such as cupronickel or aluminum, instead of silver jewelry. In order not to fall for the bait of unscrupulous sellers, it is important to know how to verify the authenticity of the precious metal. It is easy to do. Various methods can determine whether a thing is made of a noble metal or simply silver plated. In the first case, the jewelry is made of silver, and in the second, a thin layer is applied to a certain alloy.
Standard silver checks
When shopping, it’s important to remember how to properly check silver. The main criteria that you need to pay attention to when choosing:
- The sample shows the percentage of silver contained. This is a required item. Silver 999 samples are very soft, therefore, products from it are not released. The maximum indicator that can be found on sale is 925. This stigma means that the jewelry is made of an ingot consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
- High thermal conductivity. This property characterizes fast heating and heat transfer. So, if you hold silver objects in warm hands or place them in a container of hot water, they heat up in a matter of seconds.
- Appearance. Noble metal has a characteristic silver-white hue. Due to the reflective properties, such things shine in the sun. If the rings, chains, earrings are not cleaned in a timely manner, they become dull and acquire a pinkish tint.
- Weight. Noble metal has a high density. You can distinguish a fake from the original by holding the product in your hand: it must be weighty.
- Sound. If you take a silver coin and knock it on the item being checked, you should hear a characteristic ringing. This indicates the quality of the metal.
Ways to test silver at home
Having looked at jewelry, cutlery, vases and other objects made of precious metal, it is easy to verify their authenticity. This can be done directly at the point of sale or at home. There are simple and simple ways to do this. Knowing how to test silver, you will not bring a cheap trinket home instead of an expensive item.
Checking with iodine helps determine the authenticity of the metal, the main thing is not to spoil the thing. For the test, gently apply iodine with a cotton swab to the product and wait a bit. Then evaluate the result: if a dark spot appears, you have a precious metal in front of you, white plaque - a fake. Be prepared for the fact that traces of iodine are difficult to wash off the surface of the jewelry. Perhaps the dark spot will remain forever.
Silver is a low-activity metal, therefore it does not react with weak household chemicals. So, if you place a precious jewelry or cutlery in a container with 9% acetic acid, then no action will occur without heating. If the item is made of another alloy, a violent reaction is possible, so be careful not to spoil, for example, family value.
Using potassium dichromate or Chrompeak, you can determine the sample of silver. This reagent has a bright orange color, which changes when interacting with the metal. To determine the authenticity, it is necessary to strip the product and drip a few drops of Chrompeak. After 1-2 seconds, you need to remove it with filter paper or a napkin. By the resulting color, one can judge the quality of the sample. A light brown hue means a sample up to 750, red - over 750. A bright red intense color indicates 916 samples.
A check at home can be carried out using such an improvised tool as regular chalk. It is not possible to spoil the item being checked with this method. To do this, rub the product with limestone and evaluate the result. Appearing dark stripes on a piece of limestone will indicate that you are dealing with a precious metal.
You can do the test using a thin needle. To do this, slightly scratch the decoration. There is no trace left of the needle on the precious metal, and scratches form on the product covered with a thin layer of silver, since the noble metal layer is removed as a result. This method is inappropriate in the store, but easy to do at home.
Using a pharmacy drug such as sulfur ointment, you can check the silver for authenticity. For this purpose it is necessary:
- grate a little thing with fine-grained emery paper;
- apply ointment to an inconspicuous area;
- wait 10-15 minutes;
- inspect the product.
The appeared dark spot is a qualitative reaction. Nickel, stainless steel or other alloys do not react to this drug in any way. With this method of verification, you need to be extremely careful not to damage the jewelry dear to the heart. Be prepared for the fact that the resulting stain will remain forever. This method is similar to checking with iodine.
Knowing that real silver does not magnetize, you can verify its authenticity by experience. To do this, bring the item under test to the magnet. If there is no reaction, then you have a genuine alloy in your hands. It is only important to consider several points:
- In the presence of a heavy duty magnet, a small reaction may appear.
- There are also similar alloys that also do not magnetize, so this method cannot be called completely reliable.
Bleach and nitric acid
Another reagent helps determine silver at home - silver nitrate. This chemical element should be applied to a previously cleaned surface. High-quality products (750, 800, 875) give the reagent a light gray color. White color means fake or low silver. Similar actions can be done by changing the substance to ordinary bleach. Perform all actions with gloves. If the selected item darkens, then it consists of a noble metal.