How to tell if a Necklace is Real Silver: DIY Tests
Silver is a precious metal and a favorite of many. A range of jewelry is made using silver. However, some manufacturers sell fake and adulterated silver jewelry by branding it as real silver. It’s hard to see the difference unless you know what to look for.
Do you own a silver necklace? Are you curious to test its authenticity and know if it is real or not?
Read on to find out.
Steps to Find Out If Your Necklace is Real Silver Or Not
Check for Authentication Stamps
Look for hallmark stamps on your silver necklace. You may need a magnifying glass for this. A silver chain with a .925 stamp has 92.5% silver (sterling silver). If it has a 999 stamp, it implies fine silver. 958 stands for Britannia silver. 900 and 800 denote coin silver (made using old coins).
A necklace marked 626 has only 62.6% silver and is more silver of undetermined quality. This chain is more likely to oxidize and stain your skin than the other ones.
Your Skin turns Green Color
Pure silver necklace will take years to oxidize and get tarnished. However, silver mixed with other metals like copper, iron, nickel, etc., will oxidize faster. When oxidized, these metals leave the skin bluish, greenish, or blackish after combining with body sweat and oils.
So, your skin will stain a green or black color when you wear a necklace that contains silver and other metals. The green stain/tarnish won’t harm your skin but is a clear indication that the necklace is not real silver.
Doesn’t get Attracted to a Magnet
Silver has weak paramagnetic properties and strong diamagnetic properties. Pure silver will slightly repel when placed close to a strong magnet. Sterling silver that contains copper will have a similar reaction as copper is also diamagnetic.
Use a strong neodymium magnet for this test. Place it near your silver necklace and run it along its surface at an angle. If the magnet slides off the necklace, be assured that the chain is made of real silver. You can tell if there’s friction when you place a magnet close to the metal.
Melting Ice with Silver
Silver metal has the highest thermal conductivity. Silver will melt ice faster than other metals like copper, bronze, etc., at room temperature. Take two cubes of ice and place one on the silver necklace. Place the second ice cube on a metal pan. Your silver necklace is real if the ice on it melts faster.
The difference in Patina Textures
Real silver gets tarnished over time. The color change is also known as patina. It is easy to spot this by looking at older silverware. Some silver necklaces have a dark patina. This is done by bleaching the surface to create artificial textures.
Real silver can get slight blackening on the edges and curves, that too, only after the necklace is a decade old. The necklace should not peel off in layers. Real silver is a solid metal.
Seller’s Reputation and Certification
A reputed seller like Bijou Limon will sell only real silver necklaces. Jewelry made with sterling silver will be clearly marked and stamped. Always buy silver necklaces from reputed brands. Check out the lovely collection of beautiful silver pieces from Bijou Limon.
The Smell of Silver Necklaces
Real silver doesn’t have any distinct smell. Some silver necklaces have a slightly unpleasant metallic odor. It indicates that the necklace contains other metals apart from silver. Silver-plated/ colored jewelry has a stronger metallic smell.
A silver necklace that smells like rotten eggs is most likely made of copper or zinc alloy and is coated with silver.
Bleach speeds up oxidation and adds patina to the silver. Real silver will tarnish immediately after you add bleach. This test doesn’t harm real silver.
Place your silver necklace in a bowl and pour bleach and let it sit for a few minutes. Take the necklace out to see if the color has changed from light to dark silver.
If yes, your necklace is made of real silver. Silver-plated necklaces also turn dark but can be damaged by this test.
Silver Acid Test
You can find testing acid in the market. Nitric acid also works fine for this test. This is a risky process, so wear gloves and eyewear for protection.
Add one drop of testing acid to the silver necklace. The acid should not change color. If it does, the necklace is not real silver and contains a blend of other metals. The acid will turn red for sterling silver. If it changes to any other color, the necklace could be made with alloys and silver plating.
Chemical Analysis Test
Jewelers use Schwerte's Solution to perform the chemical analysis test. Scratch a small portion of the necklace and follow the instructions on the kit. If the chemical turns red, it indicates that the necklace is made from real silver. Go to a jeweler for this test instead of trying it at home.