How to Tell if Silver is Real

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How to Tell if Silver is Real

Silver is a precious metal used to make various jewelry, utensils, coins and other items. With its popularity, there are people who try to lure customers to buy their products by saying their items are made of silver even when they’re not.

Be very careful when buying silver pieces. Don’t be fooled by scammers on the market. Here are some tips to know if silver is real.

Authenticating Mark

Most manufacturers put a mark on their products to let customers know that their items are made of real silver. The most common marks used are 9.25, sterling, S/S, sterling 925 and 925. You can find these marks on the clasp of your jewelry or under your utensils.

Understanding 9.25

9.25 is the amount of silver used in any item claimed to be made of this metal. Silver is so soft that when an item is made with silver alone, it can easily be damaged by external factors. Manufacturers combine silver with other metals for their products to have better metallic properties and higher resistance to external factors, like air. The end product is called Sterling Silver. The most common metal combined with silver is copper.

A real silver item should contain at least  9.25% of silver and 0.75% of other metal. Since silver is quite expensive, what some manufacturers do to cut cost is to put only a small amount of silver in their products. An item coated with a thin layer of silver is called silver plating.


A real silver jewelry is not shiny and has a cooler tone than those fake ones.

Nitric Acid Test

Apply a small amount of Nitric Acid on a concealed area of your jewelry or utensil. You’ll see a discoloration on the area where you applied the acid if your jewelry isn’t made of silver. Be careful when doing this as your item may be permanently damaged by the acid.

There are silver testing kits you can buy that come with a color guide that will help you understand the result of the test. You can also bring your item to a jewelry or pawn shop to let them be the one to test your jewelry.

Using a Soft Cloth

Air exposure will tarnish and oxidize your silver jewelry. Use a soft cloth to rub an area of your item. If you see black marks or dusts on the cloth, your jewelry is most probably silver.

Silver items are usually sold at a high price. If you want real silver, avoid buying those cheap ones as they’re probably just silver plated. For your safety, buy from reputable shops that are known to sell real silver.