Sterling silver has been gaining tremendous popularity as a metal that is widely used for the creation of a variety of items like flatware, jewelry, and other common items. This is simply because of the fact that the sterling alloy offers great looks to any type of jewelry designed using it. Genuine silver has been found to be of soft nature that cannot be used alone for creation of any hard kind of substance. Therefore, it is important to make sure that silver is mixed with more durable metals like copper or nickel to provide it with sufficient durability.
In order to qualify as a sterling silver alloy there should be 9.25 pure silver within the alloy composition. Rest 0.075 should come from non-silver metals that provide sufficient strength to the alloy. Another formation that is extensively used in the creation of jewelry is the overlay of silver on top of a base metal.
This is basically silver plating of the jewelry that allows coating of silver on the jewelry. However, the serious drawback is that silver plating will be worn away with continuous use. Therefore, after a certain period of time the lesser quality metal will be visible in the jewelry. There is a need to identify real sterling silver using its authentication mark, which proves that the alloy is not fake. This authentication mark is crafted into the alloy with wordings such as sterling 925 or S/S.
In case of jewelry, this marking can be easily spotted on the clasp or the underside of the utensils. For all those jewelry where the marking is absent, there is a big chance that there is absence of genuine silver in them. Another important way through which you can test whether your sterling silver jewelry is real or fake is by observing the coloring of the jewelry in a close manner.
It has been found that genuine silver is less shiny and much more cooler in tone than actual silver. In case there are areas on the jewelry, where the silver metal has been worn out then it is a surety that the item is not sterling silver. Another way of determining genuine nature of the silver jewelry is to make sure that you use a light-colored cloth for rubbing the item. In case of black marks in the cloth, it is guaranteed that the item is sterling silver.
The main reason for this is the fact that silver oxidizes and tarnishes when it is exposed to air. When you rub the jewelry using cloth then this tarnish is rubbed on to it thereby proving that it is sterling silver. The best method is to take the sterling silver jewelry to a reputed jewelry store and get the item tested for its purity.
Nitric acid is mainly used for testing purposes. This is because nitric acid is a strong industrial chemical that will make sure to discolor non-silver materials due to high copper content in them. Once the nitric acid is applied, it tends to leave a permanent green spot thereby proving the fact that the jewelry is genuine or not. It is therefore important to make sure that the substance is applied on the jewelry in a non-copious spot.