Real 925 sterling silver is composition of 92.5% pure silver and the remaining 7.5% alloy, usually the alloy will be copper. Maybe you have been troubled by some supposed "silver" items actually contain no silver at all, they are just the names for alloys that look like silver but have no silver content. There is plenty of silver jewelry available, but how do you know which is genuine 925 sterling silver, and which is only silver plated or fake altogether? Sterling silver will have certain markings and properties to let you know whether it is real 925 silver. A little detective work on your part can reveal to you whether your silver piece is real 925 silver. Here are several tips for testing the sterling silver:
1. The simple and the first line test is a piece of magnet. Silver, along with platinum and gold, is not attracted to magnet. Put a sterling silver item close to the magnet, if the magnet is attracted, it is not sterling silver, perhaps it is stainless steel.
2. Sterling silvers are generally marked with "925", ".925", or "S925" on the clasp or any hidden area of the jewelry. Not all 925 silver is marked, but if it has that stamp, you can be sure that it is a 925, or sterling silver piece. On necklaces and bracelets you can find the stamping on the clasp, on rings it is most likely on the inside of the band.
3. Use a soft and white cloth for rubbing the jewelry. If there are black marks on the cloth, then the jewelry is a real sterling silver. The reason for this is that real 925 silver oxidizes with air exposure. That is why silver jewelries tarnish in time and shows black marks when being polished. But if the item is platinum plated, this method is not applicable.
4. You can mell the item, real 925 sterling silver does not have any detectable smell. If you smell a faint copper odor or a brassy smell, then there is a good chance it is not real 925 silver.
5. Consider the price, real 925 silver is more expensive than its fake counterparts. If you come across a deal that is just too good to be true, proceed with caution. You should not be able to purchase a real 925 silver piece for less than $10.
6. Add a drop of nitric acid also can test the sterling silver easily. Silver-plated. nickel silver or low quality silver alloys will turn green because of the high copper content, while the sterling will turn a creamy color. But be aware of the risk of handling the above chemicals, it is toxic and dangerous.
You can save a lot of hassles trying to identify whether that piece of jewelry is a real sterling silver if you purchase from a reputable seller. After all, reputable sellers offer their products with the same price or sometimes, even cheaper than other sellers. This way, you don't have to worry if that jewelry is a real sterling silver because you are almost sure, even without testing the product.