FAQ: How can you tell silver from silver plate?

How can you tell if something is solid silver or silver plated?

For fine silver, look for the imprinted letters FS or the numbers 99.9 stamped on the piece. To distinguish silver plated items from other types of silver, look for markings such as EP, Silver on Copper, or EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) on the item.

How can you test silver at home?

Bring the magnet close to the silver item you want to check and see if it sticks strongly to the magnet. If it does then it’s not real silver. If you are also testing silver bars at home, a sliding test with magnets can be used to find out if it is real silver.

Does silver plate have hallmarks?

There is no recognised system for the marking silver plate or electroplated silver items. Any punches in silver plate or electroplated silver are strictly speaking simply marks and not hallmarks. Any hallmarked silver plate or electroplated items represent deliberate attempts to mislead consumers.

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How can you tell if something is real silver without markings?

Take a magnet, ideally a very strong one, and hold it up to the coin or piece of jewelry in question. Silver has a very weak magnetic pull, so it shouldn’t be too attracted to the magnet. If it sticks, then it’s not silver.

Can you test silver with vinegar?

The most accurate test, it will require you to buy test acid for silver. Some people try to save money by using vinegar instead of acid but vinegar won’t give you accurate results. For this test, you just put a drop of acid on your silver item. If the acid turns the wrong color then it’s fake.

Is silver plated worth anything?

Since there is only a small amount of silver on each item, there is no melting value for silverplate. Pieces that are more decorative, rare, and in good condition might sell for more money. Silverplate value is more about the antique market than it is about the metal market.

How do you test silver with a magnet?

If you place a strong, rare-earth magnet called a Neodymium magnet on a silver coin or bar, it should not easily stick to it. If you are testing bars, you can angle one at 45 degrees and let the magnet slide down. It should slide down very slowly. If it sticks or it slides very quickly, it is not silver.

How do I clean silver at home?

How to Clean Large Silver Items:

  1. Line your sink with foil.
  2. Pour boiling water into the sink.
  3. Add 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup salt to the water.
  4. Place silver pieces in the solution.
  5. Allow pieces to soak for up to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove items when cool and dry them off with a soft cloth.
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How do you test silver with bleach?

Silver tarnishes extremely quickly when exposed to a powerful oxidizing agent such as common bleach. Watch for tarnishing or no reaction. If it rapidly tarnishes and turns black then the item is silver. Note that silver plated items will pass this test.

Will a magnet stick to silver plate?

Silver is not noticeably magnetic, and exhibits only weak magnetic effects unlike iron, nickel, cobalt, and the like,” says Martin. “If your magnet sticks strongly to the piece, it has a ferromagnetic core and is not silver.” Fake silver or silverplated items are generally made of other metals.

Does silver plated items tarnish?

Silver plated items are made from a thin coating of pure silver over other metals. All silverplated jewelry will tarnish at some point, as the chemicals from daily wear and the exposed layer of silver react with air to change the color of a piece.

What metal is under silver plate?

Silver plated flatware will usually be copper based (like brass) or nickel based. Usually flatware is not a pure copper base, as copper is too weak. Brass is actually an alloy of copper and zinc. Most often scrap metal yards will purchase brass plated flatware for the copper.

Does fake silver turn black?

If its genuine Silver exposure to air or any other harsh chemical will turn the ring black and no other color. Once a silver ring turns black due to exposure of air or chemicals it only requires a simple polish to restore the natural silver color.

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How do you test silver with acid?

The Nitric Acid Test is used to check if silver is pure or plated. To do so, file a small part of the item in a discreet area where it cannot be seen. Apply a few drops of nitric acid. If the area turns into creamy white, the silver is pure or sterling.

Is real silver always marked?

Items that are sterling silver mean that they are 92.5% silver. The stamp or hallmark on these items is mandatory by the United States government in order to keep silver regulated. In fact, it is illegal for any plated or fake silver item to be stamped or hallmarked with “sterling” or “925”.

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