How to Spot Fake Sterling Silver Jewelry
Silver is an attractive and sophisticated metal that compliments all kinds of skin tones. Real silver is not as expensive as gold, but there is a very large market for the sale of sterling silver. Sterling silver is particularly popular among younger consumers.
Unfortunately, there are tons of fakes out there when it comes to sterling silver jewelry. It is important to be able to spot fake sterling silver jewelry, because it can be quite difficult to the untrained eye. Sellers often take advantage of this market, selling fake sterling silver at the price of real sterling silver. Here we will compare some factors that will let you know how to spot fake sterling silver jewelry.
Fake Sterling Silver vs. Real Sterling Silver
How can you spot fake sterling silver jewelry?
1. Hallmark Stamp
Just like gold, real silver should have a small stamp or engraving. This stamp contains information about the date it was made and the silversmith. A stamp that reads EPNS signifies “electro plated nickel silver,” which means it is sterling silver.
2. Level of Purity
Pure silver on its own is too soft to use for long-lasting jewelry, so it is mixed with alloys to help it harden and remain durable. Real silver jewelry should be at least 92.5% pure silver, with the remaining made of other metal alloys. The level of purity is normally indicated by a “.925“ engraving on the piece of jewelry. Look for this stamp on the back of silver pendants, clasps, and the inside of rings.
3. Steer Clear of Silver Plate
Silver plated jewelry is usually not real silver. When the silver plating tarnishes or begins to wear off, it reveals the real metal underneath. Some of these metals can cause skin rashes and metal allergies. Beware of purchasing jewelry that is simply silver plated by looking for the “A1” engraving.
4. Nitric Acid Test
Another way to spot fake sterling silver jewelry is to test it in nitric acid. This can be done by a local jewelry shop, but can also be done at home.
A nitric acid test is normally done on an unnoticeable area of the piece of jewelry. Rub the area thoroughly until the surface plating has been erased. Place a couple of drops of nitric acid onto the area and wait a few minutes. If the liquid turns cloudy grey, then the item is sterling silver. If the liquid turns green, then the item is silver plated.
Remember that silver jewelry is never made up of 100% pure silver.
Sterling silver is mixed with alloys to make it durable and long-wearing.
The most reliable way to ensure that you purchase real silver jewelry is to buy from a trusted seller such as SparkofSilver.com