Take a second to inspect the silver ring or Cuban Bracelet you’re wearing on your wrist right now. Look closely. Can you tell with 100% certainty that the silver is genuine? Are you sure? How about the purity of the silver – can you determine that? Not so easy, right?
Silver is a classic material in the world of jewelry that we all know and love, but it can be hard to tell if your silver is authentic with a glance. Maybe a professional jeweler can find the truth with a quick once-over, but if you’re reading this article, that probably isn’t you.
Let’s walk you through the many ways you can test your silver jewelry (or kitchenware, coins, and antiques, for that matter) and finally figure out the authenticity of your prized possessions. You can also navigate yard sales and boutique shops with more confidence knowing exactly what to look for and avoid.
The gold standard of silver (pun intended) is 925 Sterling Silver – an alloy containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% filler (typically copper). Not a bad way to invest your cash and look great doing it.
You may end up pleasantly surprised or slightly disappointed based on what you find out, but either way, get ready to find the truth. What matters is that you know what your stuff is really made of, once and for all. Let’s find out.
Look For Real Silver
Before you start breaking out the chemical solutions and heavy machinery, you can use your two primary senses – sight and sound – to learn a lot about the silver content of your jewelry.
Start by looking for the dead giveaway: a small etching or engraving that tells you the quality of the silver upfront. If you see that “925” number, you’re in the clear. Higher than that, and you’ve got some real value on your hands. This stamp is a pretty reliable method of telling whether or not your jewelry is legit, although there can be fakers.
There are other ways to test if you have real sterling silver on your hands, but most of these involve intense chemical tests that are best left to the professionals. This is especially true if you have plated jewelry, because applying chemicals on your jewelry could disrupt the gold plating hanging out on the outside of your piece.
Look At What It Leaves Behind
If you have a silver necklace or ring and you’re suspicious about its origins, take a closer look at the clues it drops along the way. To get to the bottom of any mystery, you need to make like Ice-T on Law and Orderand examine the scene of the crime.
When you take your ring off at the end of the day, does it leave a strange color on your finger, like a green or blue tinge? Maybe there is an odd, stinky scent that it leaves behind every time you take it off.
Your body can pretty much do thedetecting for you when it comes to metals because allergies are so common. Keep in mind the true 925 Sterling Silver is 100% hypoallergenic, meaning you can wear it directly on your skin, anywhere on your body, and never have to worry about breaking out with redness or bumps at the worst possible moments.
The same can’t be said for many metal alloys that make up less desirable jewelry. Most commonly, people are allergic to nickel, which can irritate the skin and create a very uncomfortable feeling in between the fingers, on the wrist, or around the neck.
Even if you aren’t allergic to the materials, there may be some markings leftover from a day of use, especially if you work out hard at the gym or type furiously on a keyboard at your job. Before you scrub your hands or hop in the shower, look closely at your skin for any discoloration. Real silver will leave no trail of any sort.
Take Good Care Of Your Silver
Even if your beloved jewelry doesn’t pass the tests we talked about here, that doesn’t mean you should immediately kick it to the curb. Look after it with care and treat it like the important parts of your collection that they are.
Remember that jewelry is more about personal expression than wearing the most expensive items available—if you think your drip looks good, then that’s good enough.
Embrace the idea of wearing jewelry foryourself and feel great no matter what you have on. Then, when you can upgrade to real silver and beyond, you’ll have style that will serve you very well.
Stick With The Best Brands
Maybe this article has been a wake-up call for you as you test out your collection and discover the dirty truth about your jewelry. Don’t sweat it – we all make mistakes and fall for scams – and now you know to be more careful in the future.
Now that you know about these tests, you can be smarter about your purchases and make wiser investments for the long term.
It’s a jungle out there in the jewelry world, and you’ve got to watch your back. Only buying from a respectable brand is the best way to minimize risk and maximize quality, no doubt.
Here are some of the best indicators thata company has your best interests at heart:
- Full transparency about the materials used in each product.
- Lifetime guarantee for quality and durability (or at least a lengthy warranty).
- 24/7 Customer Service you can rely on at any time of day.
- Easy return process for quick money-back or item swapping with no hassles.
- Plenty of positive customer reviews from real people to attest to the quality.
- Quick and responsive service answering ALL questions about the jewelry.
Basically, if you sense some sketchy behavior from a retailer, online or in real life, that’s a reliable indication that something is being hidden from you.
Trust is everything in life, business, and relationships, and the same rules apply for buying jewelry. You want to have a real connection with the people selling you silver, even if it’s just one ring or a simple bracelet. You never know when you might need to shoot them an email with an important question or help out a family member or friend with a massive purchase.
Back in the day, people had close connections with the jewelers in their town. They could answer all the mysteries about silver and always be on your side. With the internet, we enjoy a lot of conveniences, but also have to contend with some suss characters out there. Keep the good ones close by, and you won’t run into trouble.
Once you have a great jewelry company on your team, you’ll wonder why it took so long to make that alliance. They will have your back no matter what and keep that good silver coming.
Silver is awesome, whether you use it for silverware, keep a coin collection, or wear it daily to complement your outfit with some authentic shine. Just beware – not all silver is made equal, and there are fakers lurking around every corner, especially on the web.
Now that you have the tools to tell whether your silver is real, you can steer clear of the scams and fill your collection with nothing but the top-quality silver on the market. Plus, you can help save family and friends from falling into the fake silver trap.
These are skills that will benefit you and your loved ones time and time again, so learn them well and don’t forget them. You never know when you might be called upon to grade some silver and save the day.