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Monday, June 15, 2009

How Can I Tell If It's Real Silver? - Part 2

Back in February, we posted an article, "How Can I Tell If It's Real Silver". This is a followup to that post.

There is another way to try to identify the metal content of a piece - by using an acid test - literally! We purchased a test kit with a small vial of acid. The metal will react with the acid and the color to which the liquid changes is a clue regarding metal content. We tried it on a sterling piece and it appeared to work. In the case of "92.5% silver", which is the definition of sterling, the color was a dark red.

So, if you really want to do this, you can find these acid kits on eBay. Be aware that you have to scratch the piece a bit in order to perform the test. The acid also dulls the piece and leaves a mark. You probably can polish that out. You can use this kit to try to identify:
  • Pure silver
  • 92.5% silver (sterling)
  • 80.0% silver
  • 50% silver
  • Lead
  • Tin
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Zinc
  • Palladium
  • Gold

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Michael said...

Can anyone help me with an explanation of a mark on a piece of silver jewelry
"WEH Silver". It does not appear to be a hallmark but rather a description of the silver such as 925 Sterling. I believe I have read somewhere that this is an alloy description. I would be grateful if someone can enlighten me.

Unknown said...

If the base of a candelabra is marked "sterling", but does not state "weighted", can I assume that it is solid sterling silver?

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the previous comment.

I don't believe so. I've seen lots of weighted pieces without the word, "Weighted", on them