The assortment of jewelry is constantly expanding. The number of models and varieties of jewelry alloys is increasing. It is not always easy to decide which piece to buy, because the external signs of the materials are often the same. To avoid buying a fake, you need to know exactly how Determine, silver or not, at home. They use their knowledge of the properties of precious metals, use improvised ways.
Characteristics of silver in the jewelry industry. How not to run into scammers and not to buy a fake
As the range of types of jewelry, products (cutlery, coins) expands, so does the number of ways to cheat. One should not always trust even the identifying marks on silver. The hallmark is successfully transferred from the jewelry to the counterfeit, for which the technique of melting. A professional will see traces of soldering, but the average person will not know what to pay attention to.
To identify the silver in at home, it is necessary to take into account its properties. This will allow you to choose the product yourself, based on knowledge. The characteristics of silver that contribute to precious metal testing:
- density: the value of this parameter of silver is 10.5 kg/cm3Knowing this feature, you can distinguish the products by weight, precious metals are heavier (gold, platinum, palladium), by comparison, tin, aluminum, nickel, zinc, steel (stainless steel) is much lighter;
- Softness: Ag does not withstand mechanical stress, it is easily damaged, which is why they introduce a ligature into the composition, which is why many people do not know how to test silver, because the metal changes its properties, it becomes harder, according to the tactile sensations when you examine it - it is already a different material;
- Color: pure silver (999 proof) does not darken, but this metal is not used for jewelry, coins and cutlery (because of softness), so they use an alloy based on Ag and alloying, as a result, jewelry quickly darken - oxidized by external factors, by comparison, steel does not change color, which will help identify a fake;
- hallmark: previously this was one of the first signs of authenticity of the product, today it has passed into the category of secondary, because the presence of a hallmark does not guarantee that the jewelry is real, the lack of branding suggests even greater suspicion, the best are silver jewelry 925 and 960 proof, they do not darken as quickly as those made with a higher content of ligature.
Top 13 ways, how and what to check the authenticity of silver at home quickly and effectively. Step by step instructions. Photos and videos, before and after
Pure silver practically does not interact with other substances. For this reason, the reaction is always different: a metal with a ligature in its composition will change color more when a high grade alloy is considered. You can tell by sight if something is precious or not. But it is not always possible to predict the result. In one method, the silver will darken, confirming authenticity; in other cases discoloration - The alloy does not contain any precious metal.
How to test silver with iodine. Before and after photos
This method is widespread, often chosen if it is not clear how to distinguish the silver. To carry out the experiment you will need:
- cotton swabs;
- rubber gloves.
To recognize fake jewelry and not to spoil it, you need to act quickly. In this case, the determining sign is the change in color. After cleaning, the silver will restore its color, but it will take time. To clean the metal after the reaction of silver to iodine, you need to prepare a vessel with water in advance or perform all manipulations in the bathroom next to the sink. The next step is to learn how to test silver with iodine:
- It is recommended to wear gloves so as not to get dirty, the work is performed over a film coating, which is easy to clean.
- Soak a cotton swab in the product.
- This is applied to the back of the jewelry. You can tell if the piece is made of precious metal by the color change - there will be a dark streak in the area where the silver iodine test was performed.
- The jewelry should be rinsed with clean water.
The fake jewel will retain its original color, but lime scale will additionally appear.
Reaction to chamois ointment
The technical specifications are not always conducive to accurately determining the quality of a piece. Considering that the silver alloy is often covered with a patina when interacting with sulfur, this substance began to be used in order to be able to quickly check the originality of the jewelry. If you are wondering how to check the authenticity of a silver coin at home, you need to prepare the means:
- sulfur ointment;
- cotton disk;
- cotton swabs;
- soda, ammonia - any remedy for Cleanup Ag from the dark stain that will be left by contact with sulfur.
There should be no fear, it is difficult to spoil the jewelry in this way. The consequences of a quality reaction to silver are easily remedied. The method has a disadvantage - it is necessary to wait for the reaction to occur between the ligature in the composition of the precious metal and sulfur. Instructions for checking the originality of a piece:
- The ointment is applied to a cotton swab.
- They are held on the product (check fake chain, ring, bracelet, silverware, coins).
- After 30-50 minutes, you can notice how the item has changed. The real jewel will darken.
To remove the plaque, it is recommended to apply ammonia, soda solution or other substance to a cotton pad. Any means for cleaning tarnished silver will do. Use and semi-professional preparations.
Checking magnetic properties
This method provides fast results. Silver does not exhibit magnetic properties (will not be attracted) if it contains a minimum of ligature. The more additives, the more the characteristics of the metal change. Alloy 600 is magnetic because it contains a significant amount of alloy. Check the precious metal using any of the magnets on the fridge. If you are not in the habit of collecting souvenirs from trips, you can take any other. Now watch - the fake will be magnetic. If the jewelry did not attract, then it is the real jewel.
Vinegar drop 9%
You should immerse the item in vinegar, but this is not always possible to implement, especially if you need to check a lot of cutlery. Prepare:
- vinegar (9%);
- a container of water.
If you have no idea how to check the authenticity of silver at home with vinegar, it is better to act according to the instructions:
- The product is scratched (from the back side).
- Using a pipette, moisten it with vinegar.
- To find out if the jewelry is original, observe the reaction: on silver will appear white foam, and on the fake - green.
It remains to rinse the object with clean water.
Effect of chlorine
Bleach also acts aggressively on materials that tolerate it well. So, it is better to use this method to check Ag, as a last resort. You only need bleach and a cotton swab. To recognize a fake, a small amount of the substance is applied. If the material darkens, it means that it contains silver. If there is no change, you should assume that it is a simple fake.
Testing with nitric acid
Using acid, everyone will know which category a particular piece of silver belongs to. The product is purchased in a pharmacy. Before using it, wear rubber gloves. Check the silver at home is not difficult: apply nitric acid to the back of the item. If there is no change, it is a fake.
Visually, it is not difficult to determine the real gem; a dark spot will show through at once.
Lapis pencil from the drugstore
This method provides the opposite result when compared to the use of nitric acid. You can buy lapis lazuli at the drugstore. It works effectively: if the metal has retained its white color, then it belongs to the precious ones. A fake one will darken.
Thermal conductivity check
Sometimes it takes a long time to choose wayThe main thing is how to distinguish silver (if the item is very expensive, and there is a fear that any chemical substance will spoil it). They pay attention to one of the properties - the ability to conduct heat. The value of this parameter in silver is high - 429 W/(m*K). Instructions to help with the test:
- A piece of jewelry or other silverware is immersed in a container of boiling water.
- After 10 seconds it should be removed with tweezers.
- Silver heats up rapidly, so it will be hot. Other metal (aluminum alloy, iron, etc.) is cool. The same thermal conductivity index is noted for certain materials. For comparison, aluminum has a lower one - 209 W/(m*K). Such metal heats up more slowly. This will allow you to distinguish between aluminum and silver when other ways did not help (both materials are white for comparison).
Safe chalk check
Many people have chalk at home. You will need a small bar. It is necessary to pass it over the supposed silver. The real precious metal shows special properties, so the chalk will darken.
100% effective spectroscopy method
The technique is implemented if there is a special device - in laboratory conditions. A spectrometer is needed. After irradiation, real silver emits radiation of a certain spectrum. The method was originally used to study the physical properties of materials: temperature and density.
You can get an idea of the characteristics of the metal with the help of another substance. Chlorine gold is a reagent used by jewelers to check the authenticity of jewelry. If it is not clear how to distinguish silver from counterfeit, the instructions are taken as a basis:
- Chlorine gold is applied to the prepared precious metal (cleaned of grease film, dust).
- Observe the reaction: when a dark green hue appears, it is assumed that the product is real.
How to identify silver at home quickly and efficiently using foil
Silver periodically darkens. The foil and baking soda method is used to clean it. You can take as the basis of an experiment: try to perform a cleaning, as a result of the metal should lighten, a shine will appear - this is a sign that it really is precious, it contains Ag. To test it in this way, you have to prepare:
- water - 1 liter;
- soda - 4 tbsp;
- saucepan (enameled, stainless steel).
To check the authenticity of silver at home, the instructions are taken as a basis:
- Boiling water.
- In the container put foil.
- Throw in some baking soda.
- When the liquid comes to a boil, put down the product that raises doubts about authenticity.
After 1-2 minutes it can be cleaned. If the item is silver, it will be immediately noticeable.
Acids are often used to remove patina. A solution is prepared:
- In water (500 ml) add citric acid - 100 g.
- The solution is heated.
- Throw the silver item. If the color is restored - it becomes whiter, a shine appears, it means that the metal contains silver.
The use of citric acid is the most aggressive method and can negatively affect the appearance of the product, so it is recommended to use it in extreme cases.
Top 6 ways to determine whether silver or not, how to distinguish from similar metals in the store quickly and efficiently
There are more opportunities to check the precious metal at home. It is more difficult to do it during the purchase, when time is limited, it is more important to decide on the model of the product among many dozens of options. The seller in the store is unlikely to allow the manipulation of the verification, using lipstick, greenish and others. The buyer has rather limited prospects - to make a quick assessment of the main parameters of the jewelry unnoticed by those around him.
In order to choose the right jewel, pay attention to the characteristics:
- the sound the metal makes when it falls;
- identifying features: the presence of a stamp, its type, number, location;
- tactile sensations.
Compare product prices
When one chooses how to distinguish the silver The first thing to look out for is the price category the item belongs to. Silver jewelry is most often offered at a moderate price, which can make it difficult to determine the authenticity of the item. By far the most inexpensive jewelry is costume jewelry. The cost of silver items can vary greatly, which depends on a number of factors:
- The coating and its type: rhodium-plating, gilding;
- Availability of inserts: precious and semi-precious stones;
- the size of the ring, bracelet or earrings;
- Metal grade: 925 and 960 alloys are most commonly used.
Given the significant variation in the price of such jewelry, you should consider the cost as an auxiliary criterion.
Metal containing a substantial portion of Ag (925 or 960) cannot cost less than costume jewelry.
Check the stigma and its quality
Many people have seen small markings (numbers, letters) on precious alloys, many of which cannot be seen without a magnifying glass. These are the types of marks: the metal assay and the manufacturer's trademark. There is another type, the assay control organization code, as well as the assay certificate mark (always in the form of some symbol, e.g. a woman's head in Russia or a crown in Great Britain).
It is not always possible to see all of the existing stamps on a silver piece. If an attentive buyer does find them, it is an indication that the item is precious. Even in this case, however, there are a few exceptions:
- The absence of hallmarks on some precious jewelry does not mean that they are fake, it happens with products after repairs, as well as very old things, a few centuries ago, no one used such systems of control over precious metals;
- The presence of a hallmark is not always a proof of authenticity: fraudsters have learned to transfer the brand from the precious object to counterfeit, and this practice is widespread among jewelry, for example, no one will counterfeit inexpensive radio components.
Evaluate the color, shade
Ag is commonly thought of as a white metal. In fact, in its pure form, it has a grayish hue. This misconception was caused by a change in the properties of silver jewelry. They contain a ligature, which allowed to improve the appearance - such things have acquired a white color. They can be confused with fakes just because of the same external characteristics. A method of coating the metal to make it white is often used.
If previously it was easier to determine the type of material: silver had a darker hue than steel, aluminum and others, today you should not rely on color alone. It is regarded as an auxiliary method. But at the evaluation stage of silver items it is still possible to understand which jewelry is fake: the white color of real jewelry has a special noble shine.
A resounding sound
If none of the signs helped to verify that the item is genuine jewelry, you can try another option - the sound made by the metal. Silver items have a resonant, subtle sound, while fake jewelry always has a muffled sound.
Compare the weight and size of metals
Knowing the density, by estimating the dimensions of a piece of silver jewelry, you can get an approximate idea of how much the piece weighs. Silver is the lightest metal if we consider only precious alloys. Other kinds such as gold, palladium and platinum can be much heavier. On the other hand, the same metal Ag is called the heaviest; it becomes the leader in a completely different category - among non-precious materials (aluminum, steel, etc.).
But it is important to remember the peculiarities of this method. Deciding how to check the authenticity of silver, take into account the size of products: the alleged forgery and the real jewel. A personal comparison of different jewelry with the same external parameters will help to assess which of them is heavier. If it is known for sure that one of the two items is silver, there is no doubt that the other is fake. It is much more difficult to determine if the thing is fake if there is nothing to compare it with. In this case you will have to judge it by eye and weigh it in your hand.
If you had to hold a real silver alloy, you can notice that in this case the tactile response is stronger. The metal is smooth, warm (due to high thermal conductivity), quite heavy - all signs of truly valuable jewelry are present. One can wear such a thing with pleasure and comfort. Fake jewelry is often cold and light.
Silver and silvering: how to tell the difference
There are several signs that can be used to identify fakes with a high degree of accuracy. True, it is based on simple logic. Criteria to distinguish Ag from silver-plated costume jewellery:
- the presence of a stamp: a fake coated with precious metal will not be hallmarked, because too little Ag is used, but even if the mark is still applied, assess its quality, shape, for example, sloppy stamping, wrong geometry of the contour - these are signs of artisanal production;
- coating quality: if the product has already been in use, it remains damaged (scratches, cracks, chips, etc.), fake can be distinguished immediately - under the coating you will see a different metal, silver has a distinctive color - gray-white;
- Rust: Ag in combination with a ligature (in the composition of the alloy) is not subject to corrosion, while steel or other non-precious metal may be covered with red spots, this indicates that a counterfeit is being considered.
Top 3 ways to identify technical silver from the comfort of your home
Technical is a metal without additives. The maximum impurity fraction of 0.01% is regulated. This type of silver is used to cover contacts, radio components, during soldering. The main area of application is various branches of industry.
Checking silver coins
A special approach is needed to assess the quality of a coin. To check it, a neodymium magnet is prepared. A souvenir from the fridge door will not do, because a powerful source of magnetic field is required. Its size should be at least 4x10 cm. Install the magnet at an angle of 45 °, for the purity of the experiment, be sure to check the accuracy of its location. It is known that Ag is not magnetic, but the presence of additives can be determined. For this purpose, a powerful magnet is used. When materials of different types are applied, different results are obtained:
- the product does not fall, which means it contains steel;
- slowly slides down - there is a significant proportion of copper in the composition;
- falls more rapidly, is weakly magnetic - contains nickel.
Checking old silverware
In earlier times, additives were practically not used or their amount was less than today. It is only recently, a few centuries ago, that they began to set assays, and the history of the use of precious metals extends back thousands of years. With these characteristics in mind, only a jeweler using the method of hydrostatic weighing could verify whether a piece is silver or not. The owner can use improvised means, but he or she will hardly be able to determine the quality of the precious metal.
How to know if a tablespoon is silver or not
It is necessary to study the external signs of the object. Precious metals have a hallmark, but cutlery made of simple materials also has markings:
- melchior - MN (MELCH);
- aluminum - AL;
- stainless steel - NERV;
- nesilver - MNC.
Home methods are also used. They are relevant if there are no identifying marks on the item, but there is suspicion that the item is precious. When one chooses the method of how to figure out what silver spoonThe method based on the use of ice is considered to be among the most effective. To check the precious metal, a piece is placed on a cutlery. If it melts quickly, it means that the thing is silver and valuable (Ag has the highest thermal conductivity).
Metals - counterfeit silver
There are materials that are similar to silver. External inspection does not provide the desired result. To determine a fake, check the quality of the material, pay attention to a number of features.
Not knowing how to distinguish silver from other metals, they study external signs:
- The fake aluminum chain links are not soldered;
- counterfeiting is produced by using glue for inserts, rather than the standard method of attachment - feet.
Jewelers claim that the glue is used by crooks or by manufacturers who do not respect their customers.
The main way to recognize a fake piece of jewelry: compare the color of the fake and real jewel, the tin is characterized by a uniform gray shade, Ag is similar in tone, but in addition you can see the dark spots on its surface. By the way, sulfur and compounds that contain it contribute to their appearance. Tin behaves differently with respect to this component - it forms a substance resembling gilding.
There are two ways to determine the authenticity of jewelry:
- apply a magnet;
- apply iodine.
In both cases, the reaction of iron is the opposite of silverware: steel will be attracted to the magnet, will not change color if iodine is applied.
The metal belongs to the precious (platinum group), so its cost is higher than that of silver, but they have a similar appearance - a light color. However, it is still important to know how to distinguish palladium. In everyday life, it is easier to use the heating method - under the influence of high temperature, the silver alloy will begin to deform, while Pd will retain its external characteristics.
This is the name of an alloy composed of copper, nickel, manganese, and iron. It can be distinguished from precious by various techniques:
- bite: Ag is malleable, there will be teeth marks;
- acid is applied: melchior cutlery will show a green stain, while silver cutlery will show a darker stain.
Method for determining the sample at home
There are not always special instruments and substances at hand. But some reagents are still available to the average person, not only to laboratory staff.
What is chrompic
Chrompic is a chemical often used by jewelers to assess the quality of an alloy. It is prepared by:
- sewing needle;
Instructions that allow you to quickly recognize a fake or, conversely, to verify the authenticity of the item:
- On the product are made notches, using a nail file.
- They apply Chrompic.
- Observe the reaction. If there is Ag in the material, the item will turn red. Other shades indicate fake jewelry or the use of another precious metal.
Table: Sample-to-color ratio
When using a homemade reagent, changes can be seen in 5-10 minutes. If you are wondering how to recognize silver, the relationship between the combination of the ligature and the color of the alloy will help make sense of it:
|Green||Alloy grade Ag less than 800|
|Red saturated||Popular 925 proof|
|Bright red||Pure Ag|
Question and answer section
How can you tell if the metal is too dark?
Is silver magnetic or not?
How do I check if the silver bought at the pawnshop is real if there is no hallmark?
Video: how to check the authenticity of silver at home
Home methods allow you to get only an indirect indication of the quality of the precious metal. If this is enough for the owner of the jewelry, you can do nothing. In other cases, it is recommended to check the thing on a spectrometer. This method will give a result of 100% accuracy.