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How to Tell if Your Jewelry Is Real Sterling Silver




Did you know that the global jewelry market is valued at $348.5 billion per year? It’s clear that no matter where you’re from, adorning yourself with jewelry is always in fashion!

You might have a jewelry box full of beautiful pieces. And some might’ve been from vendors that claim they sell real sterling silver.

But how can you tell if they’re telling the truth or not? Do you actually have genuine pieces or have you been scammed?

Here are some ways you can tell whether or not your jewelry is real sterling silver.

Look for a 925 Stamp

All sterling silver pieces should be stamped with a 925 imprint. So this should be the first thing you look for!

With a sterling silver ring, it’ll probably be on the inside so it’s more discreet. But just check every part of your jewelry to see if you can spot these stamps.

What does the 925 stamp mean? Well, first, you should know the difference between real silver and sterling silver.

With silver jewelry, it’s “pure” silver. This means it’s comprised of 99.9% silver and the leftover 0.1% is nickel or copper.

With sterling silver, it has a lower composition of silver (92.5%). This is actually better for some jewelry because silver is very soft and malleable. With the other 7.5% being harder metals like nickel and copper, this helps jewelry hold its shape better.

So the 925 stamp stands for the 92.5% of silver in sterling silver!

Have a Jeweler Test It

If you can make your way to a jeweler, we recommend having them test your jewelry for you. They can perform a nitric acid test, which is actually quite simple!

All they do is put a drop of nitric acid on your jewelry. If it’s sterling silver, it won’t react. However, if you have fake silver, it’ll turn green and bubble.

A reaction with nitric acid means that your jewelry is probably silver-plated to make it look like real silver.

If you’re wondering if you can do this at home, you can! You can purchase nitric acid online to test your jewelry. Just make sure you wear goggles and gloves for protection.

Otherwise, if you don’t want to go through this hassle, you can always just go to a jeweler. They’ll have the equipment to quickly and safely perform the nitric acid test.

Use Your Senses

A great way to test your jewelry pieces without spending any money or using any equipment is to use your senses!

First, examine the pieces with your eyes. Real sterling silver shouldn’t have color distortion or peeling. Also, it shouldn’t leave behind green marks on your fingers or skin.

Now touch it and feel the texture. Real sterling silver should be smooth and sturdy, but not too hard.

Lastly, it might sound strange, but you can perform a sniff test too! If your pieces smell like sulfur, or they have any smell at all, then they’re fake. Sterling silver shouldn’t have a smell.

Try the Magnet Test

Got a magnet lying around? Then it’ll be easy to carry out this test!

Grab it and then place it against your jewelry. Lift the magnet and see if the pieces stick to it. If they’re attracted to the magnet, then you probably don’t have a real sterling silver piece.

Sterling silver isn’t magnetic by nature. So if your jewelry is attracted to a magnet, it could be that it’s silver-plated or it doesn’t have 92.5% silver. It probably has a higher composition of other magnetic metals.

Perform the Rub Test

This is another easy test you can perform at home.

Get a light piece of cloth and then rub it against your jewelry. Now take a closer look at it.

If there are black marks left on the cloth, then have sterling silver on your hands! This is because it’ll oxidize with air and you’ll get the tarnish on your cloth when you rub it on your pieces.

Check for Tarnish

On that note, you’ll want to carefully inspect your jewelry for tarnish. While it’s not very appealing, this is actually a good sign if you spot tarnish! As we’ve said, real silver will oxidize with the air and create those black spots.

The good news is, you can get rid of the tarnish and restore your jewelry’s original shine. All you have to do is buff it and it’ll look as good as new again!

Another piece of good news is that many modern jewelers are coating their pieces with rhodium. This layer acts as a protectant against tarnishing, so it’s possible that you have real sterling silver and it’s not tarnishing, thanks to the rhodium plating.

Perform the Ice Test

This is a cool test to perform, and all you need is some ice!

Place the ice on your jewelry and leave it alone for a little bit. If it’s melted significantly, then you have real silver on your pieces. This is because silver has the highest thermal conductivity of all metals, which means it’ll melt ice quicker than other metals do.

Now that you know how to check if your jewelry is real sterling silver, check out some examples on!

Is Your Jewelry Real Sterling Silver?

After reading this article, you should have some good ideas to see whether or not your jewelry is real sterling silver. From checking for the 925 stamp and performing home tests, to having a jewelry test it for you, there are plenty of ways to see if you have the real deal.

Even if you don’t have real sterling silver jewelry, it’s not a huge deal. So long as you love the pieces you’re wearing, that should be what truly matters!

So bust out your jewelry box and start examining your pieces.

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