Over the course of its existence, mankind has learned to create inexpensive analogues of elements that have a limited global supply. Lunar metal was no exception, and its "copies" have for some time been valued above the original.
Purchasing silverware, you should know how distinguish the silver from melchior and whether there is a significant difference between them.
History of the appearance of products made of melchior. Melchior as an imitation of silver, application
Melchior is called the "double" of silver because of its identical color and luster. It is used in kitchenware, coinage, jewelry, crafts, shipbuilding, and medical applications.
This alloy is non-corrosive, durable, and its key components are nickel and copper.
Sometimes small amounts of manganese and iron are present. Imitation precious metal does not react with salt and fresh water, gas environment. It has excellent casting properties, easy to polish.
The date of creation of melchior is considered to be 1819. It owes its invention to two test scientists, Mayo and Shorter, whose surnames were used to form its name. According to some sources, the alloy was known at the dawn of civilization, but for unknown reasons it was forgotten for several thousand years.
The material has several varieties, the most popular of which are MH19 and MNZHMZ30-1-1. It is often confused with nesilver, another copper-nickel alloy, which differs from melchior in cost and some properties.
There are also "melchior alloys" - these are certain copper-based materials that are amenable to special processing in both cooled and hot condition. The best known among them are monel, constantan, and cupronickel.
Copper-nickel alloys are regulated by GOST 492-52.
Table: What is the difference, a comparison of the properties of melchior and silver
To find out what silver is different from melchior, it will be convenient to use the table:
|Composition||Silver alloys may contain platinum, copper, and palladium in addition to the prevailing amount of lunar metal.||It consists of copper, nickel, iron, manganese.|
|Durability||It is a soft metal, unstable to mechanical damage.||It has a long wear life due to the nickel component.|
|Plasticity||Characterized by high ductility, surpasses gold in this indicator.||The ductility index is similar to that of silver.|
|Inertia||Practically does not react with other substances.||It is characterized by high inertness.|
|Magnetic properties||Does not have magnetic properties.||Does not have magnetic properties.|
|Anticorrosive properties||Increased resistance to corrosion. The value can vary for the worse based on the silver alloy ligature.||Increased resistance to corrosion.|
|Thermal and electrical conductivity||It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals.||Poorly conducts heat and electricity.|
|Antibacterial properties||The metal is distinguished by its bactericidal, antifungal, and antiseptic action.||Does not have antibacterial characteristics.|
|Applications||Chemistry, medicine, photography, jewelry, space industry, cosmetics, means of investment, production of commemorative awards.||Medicine, cooking utensils, coinage. Jewelry, art, industry.|
|Cost||The price of the highest quality varies about 37 rubles per gram||From 20 kopecks per gram.|
|Marking||It is abbreviated as "Cp". Products are marked according to the purity of the alloy. The following marks are provided: 800, 830, 875, 925, 960, 999.||"MELCH" or "MN.|
Melchior alloy contains 5 to Z0% nickel, 0.7% iron, about 1% manganese, and the remainder is copper. The material is a solid solution that can be easily processed at all temperatures.
Imitation is superior to silver in strength due to the nickel composition. Its Brinell hardness is 58.8-68.9. Cutlery made of this alloy is more durable.
The alloy is amazingly plastic, this property is especially valuable for such technological operations as stamping, drawing, bending. The plasticity of the material ensures its wide application for manufacturing a wide variety of products.
The alloy is characterized by low chemical activity, so it is used in the medical field, for the manufacture of cutlery. Melchior cookware is always silvered because the copper in its composition can oxidize from contact with many foodstuffs.
The alloy consists of several elements, each with individual properties of magnetism. However, the leading position in the composition is taken by copper, which is unable to be attracted to the magnet. Therefore, melchior is non-magnetic.
Very rarely, weakly pronounced magnetic properties of the imitation precious metal can be observed. This can be caused by atypical percentages of the alloy elements. However, in most cases the material is not attracted to the magnet.
The material is highly corrosion resistant in dry gas atmospheres, fresh and salt water. The more nickel in the alloy composition, the greater the resistance to degradation.
Due to its anti-corrosive properties the material is actively used in shipbuilding. It is also used to create various cooling systems.
Thermal and electrical conductivity
Melchior has a melting point of about 1160 оC, has a low thermal conductivity. The material is more suitable for making cutlery than silver, because such utensils will heat up more slowly.
The alloy consists of elements that do not have bactericidal properties. Nickel, copper, and manganese can have a negative effect on human health.
Therefore, objects made of melchior, with which a person will inevitably come into frequent contact, are coated with the highest grade of lunar metal.
Melchior is used in cookware, thermoelectric generators, electrical circuits, and coinage. Most modern silver coins - are melchior alloys.
It is also used to create medical instruments, parts of marine equipment.
The current value of the material for 2021 - from 20 kopecks per gram. The price varies based on the values of copper and nickel on the world stock exchange.
Scrap metal shops and drop-off points accept melchior from 80 rubles per kg. Profitable markup usually begins with the surrender of the alloy from 40 kg.
Melchior dishes, such as teaspoons, can be purchased from 100 rubles apiece.
The letter designation of this alloy looks like "MELCH" or "MN". The designation "MNTs" is also used for branding items made of nesilber.
On foreign pieces of melchior you can see the marking "silver plated" or "new silver".
Top 15 ways to tell the difference and how to identify silver or melchior at home quickly and efficiently
How to distinguish melchior from silver at home? Externally, these alloys are almost identical, but there are many ways to distinguish them from each other.
Marking assay or MN abbreviation
On silverware you can see the three-digit hallmark, indicating the purity of the entire alloy.
The following markings are provided for silver: 800, 830, 975, 875, 925, 960, 999. Information about such a piece must be inscribed inside a figure that resembles a barrel. The stamp of the silver jewelry work may also contain the assay office code, the stamp of the assay certificate.
Melchior is marked as "MN" or "MELCH". The abbreviation "MNC" stands for an alloy of copper, nickel, zinc - nesilver.
Green bloom on melchior in long-term storage
During long-term storage and from constant contact with water, the alloy can take on a greenish tarnish.
Silver, on the other hand, retains its natural color. It can only go darker if the composition alloy contains elevated amounts of copper.
Melchior items are often silvered, that is, covered with a layer of precious metal a few microns thick.
You can try scratching the object with a thin needle on the inconspicuous side. If a dark metal appears under the silver plating, it is melchior.
The scratch on the silver will be a lighter shade.
Reaction with nitric acid
Check with nitric acid requires precautions to be taken. It is recommended that you wear a protective mask and gloves.
You will need to scratch the piece and apply a drop of nitric acid to the spot. Silver reacts to the substance by darkening, while melchior will turn green.
Lapis pencil from the drugstore
The lapis pencil is an antiseptic that contains silver nitrates. If you swipe it on the surface of a silver piece, no reaction will occur. Melchior alloy will darken.
Smell of copper
Precious metal The smell of copper is not characteristic, whereas melchior smells of copper. The smell can be released by rubbing the piece.
Without taking the spoon out of the cup
Silver has a high thermal conductivity. Contact with boiling water heats the metal in seconds.
Melchior cookware is less conductive to heat, so it will heat up slowly.
A drop of iodine
Heavy sterling silver reacts to iodine by darkening, while melchior does not change color. Apply a drop of the substance to the least noticeable side of the piece, as the stain is difficult to remove.
You can clean silver from iodine with a solution of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. The contaminated item is immersed in the solution for 20 minutes, then thoroughly rinsed and wiped dry.
Color test with chamois ointment
Sulfur ointment is an inexpensive remedy that can be purchased at any pharmacy. Melchior does not react to its components, silver does darken. The ointment should be applied to the surface of the piece, then left for an hour to show the reaction.
Reaction to chalk
The precious metal reacts to chalk by darkening, while melchior does not change color.
Note that melchior kitchen appliances are silver-plated, so this kind of Check may not always authenticate precious alloy.
Rubbing the skin
Rub the product against the skin intensely. If dark streaks appear, it means that the alloy contains a preponderance of base metals. Silver, on the other hand, will not leave any marks.
How to tell the difference silver spoon from melchior? Silver is a heavy metal, in its pure form it is lighter than lead, but heavier than copper. If you compare it and melchior by weight, silver is noticeably heavier.
Traces of rust
Precious metal does not rust. If there are rust spots on the item, it is not silver.
It is worth noting that melchior is also not susceptible to rust formation. Technically, only iron and iron-containing alloys can rust.
Color change in water
In an aqueous environment, the imitation precious metal will oxidize and take on a green hue. However, the reaction will not follow if a thin layer of silver is applied to the product.
The cost of the product
Price is a key criterion, since imitation silver is very inferior to the original in value.
For example, the cost of silver spoons starts at 2,000 rubles apiece. Similar spoons made of melchior start at 100 rubles.
It is interesting that in the 8th century BC, melchior instruments were valued more than silver ones, and the composition of the alloy was kept in the strictest secrecy.
If there are any doubts after checking the alloy yourself, the product can be taken to jewelry workshop. Professionals will be able to unmistakably determine the composition of the item.
Question and answer section
What is more expensive melchior or silver?
Melchior or silver which is better for cutlery?
Is melchior silver or not?
Their main difference is that melchior is an artificial material, while silver is natural.
Melchior - silver 0.1 what does it mean?
So 0.1 part of the whole item is silver and the rest is imitation silver.
What to clean silver and melchior at home quickly and effectively?
After the procedure, the objects should be rinsed with running water.
Pros and cons of melchior
Video: how to distinguish melchior from silver. fakes
Jeweler's report on the authenticity of silver
You can distinguish metals at home with a fine needle. The scratch on the precious metal will be the same color as the item itself.
Genuine lunar metal is highly valued in many fields, but sometimes it is advisable to replace it with a cheaper counterpart.