How can I spot fake silver

Recognize silver - real or not?

Sterling silver

The so-called sterling silver consists of about 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. The copper ensures the stability of the silver, since pure silver is very soft and can be easily indented. If you have any doubts about the authenticity, a picture on the stamp with the degree of purity of the silver usually helps.

Embossing in silver

In most countries, it is common for silver to be embossed, which provides information about the purity content. This minting is also required in the worldwide trade in silver. However, if there is no embossing, this is not necessarily an indication of fake silver.

  • Embossing 925 - sterling silver - 92.5 percent silver, the rest copper
  • Minting 900 or 800 - also known as coin silver - 90 or 80 percent silver, the rest copper

Little trick - magnet

You should take a strong magnet with you when you go to the flea market. Since silver has no magnetic properties, fraud with a silver-plated or fake piece of jewelry is quickly revealed by testing with a magnet.

Chemical Analysis

If there is no embossing or if there are doubts about the embossing, you can find out the silver content with a chemical analysis. There are acid tests for silver on the market. However, your piece of silver is easily damaged in the process. An inconspicuous part of the silver should be lightly scratched. If it is suspected that it is simply a silver coating or plating, the scratch should be deep enough.

A test set usually contains a small black stone plate, which should be rubbed over the silver at the scratched area. Then we dripped a drop of the test acid on this point.

The color indicates the purity of the silver:

  • Fine silver - light red
  • Sterling silver - dark red
  • 800 silver - brown
  • Tin or lead - yellow
  • Bronze - brown very dark
  • Nickel - blue
Buy silver pieces of value only from a real jeweler. This ensures that the items actually contain the stated percentage of silver. At street markets and flea markets you can very often expect inferior products that have been coated with silver at most.