Silver is a precious metal that has been known to mankind since ages. It is admired for its beauty and colour and used to make jewellery and other antique items. There was a time when silver was not so costly and people used silverware as utensils. However, today, silver is very expensive and used in small quantities in making ornaments. If you have inherited silver as an heirloom but do not know how to identify real silver, knowing the exact worth of the silver objects you may have in possession may be a problem. If you are the owner of real silver, you could become a rich man overnight.
If you know how to identify real silver, you can easily spot if it has been electroplated or not. Silver is coated over copper or any other metal and the object is electroplated before dipping in silver to have a coating of real silver over it. Electroplated objects look like silver, but they are much cheaper than real silver.
Silver is a precious metal that is soft in nature in pure form. This is the reason it has to be mixed with any other durable metal like copper or nickel in minute quantities to make ornaments. Copper or nickel mixed in silver is 0.075% of the total weight of the silver. This is why jewellery items are marked as 0.925 pure silver. If silver has been electroplated over any other metal, it fades away with the passage of time revealing the lesser priced material underneath.
Simple Tests to Identify Real Silver
Inspection with naked eyes to Identify Real Silver
Look at the object closely. Real silver is less shiny, and it has a cool colour tone than fake silver that appears shinier and brighter. If close inspection reveals wear and tear or silver coming off at places, you can be pretty sure that the object is not made of real silver.
Rub test to Identify Real Silver
Rub the object with a white cotton cloth as if you are cleaning the object. If the cloth becomes dirty or blackish, then you probably have real silver in your hands. This happens because of oxidation of silver when it comes in contact with air. This oxidized silver leaves tarnish marks on the piece of cloth. If the silver item is an ornament, you get black marks when you wear it. This shows that it is real silver.
Ring test to Identify Real Silver
You will get a ringing sound when you tap the object with your finger nails. It is easy to flick a coin into the air and you hear a ringing sound. You can tap the object with any other metallic object to hear a thin ringing sound. If this sound is absent, the object is not real silver. This sound that is like the ringing of a bell lasts for a very small time.
Ice test to Identify Real Silver
Silver is a metal that is not only a superb conductor of electricity, but it is also a superb thermal conductor. If you take an ice cube and place it on the object that you think is silver, it should start to melt straight away. Ice melts on its own at room temperature, but you will find it melting at a fast pace when it is placed on real silver.
Magnet test of silver to Identify Real Silver
Silver is a metal that is non-magnetic. This means that it should not get attracted to a magnet when it is placed near the magnet. Hold the object at 45 degrees and slide a rare earth magnet over it. If this magnet sticks or even slides briskly, your object is not real silver.
If you are not satisfied with these tests, you can take your object to a jeweler. He will conduct an acid test to quickly find out if it is real silver or not. How to identify real silver becomes easy armed with all this knowledge.