925 sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, primarily copper. Sterling silver is durable and beautiful like no other, which is why we love 925 sterling silver rings. But no one wants to spend money on a piece of jewelry with fake materials. Moreover, people with allergies or sensitivities to other metals must ensure that their jewelry is genuine silver if they want to wear it without negative reactions.
Like other precious metals, 925 silver has special properties that can help you identify it. The tests below can help you know if the ring you are holding is authentic silver or fake silver.
1. Find the Authentication Hallmarks
This will be the first way to check the reliability of the jewelry. 925 silver jewelry is often identified through symbols such as 925, S925 or 92.5.
You may not even notice, as stamps are usually small and inconspicuous places. Remember to check the inside of your silver ring. However, not all real silver jewelry will have this hallmark, but the majority will.
2. Observe the Tarnish
Look for any tarnished areas or small black spots on the jewelry. If your sterling silver ring tarnishes, that's a sign that it's real. Because real 925 silver will tarnish when left in the air for a long time.
However, real silver can be polished to its original shiny color, no matter how much time has passed. Meanwhile, fake silver will lose its luster over time and underneath can be any other cheap base metal. No amount of polishing will return that original shiny tone.
3. Listen to the Sound
You can test 925 sterling silver by listening to the sound when using a coin to touch the sterling silver jewelry, it will emit a high-pitched sound like a bell. However, be careful not to create dents or scratches on the jewelry!
Note: A quarter of the US made before 1964 is made of 90% silver, which would produce a clear, high-pitched sound, while US quarters made after 1964 were made of a copper-nickel alloy, giving a dull thump of a sound.
4. Smell the Silver
Real 925 sterling silver should have no smell at all. If you can smell sulfur or a distinct metallic fragrance, chances are the ring you're holding contains high concentrations of copper or other alloys.
5. Rub the Silver on White Cloth
Take a soft white cloth or use the corner of your shirt to rub the tarnished areas of the ring. If the tiny black spots disappear and stick to the fabric, this is real sterling silver!
6. Test with Nitric Acid
If you have the time, do this at your local jewelry store. If you'd rather do it at home, order the solution and simply put a drop of nitric acid on the silver in question. A drop of this acid does not have any effect on authentic sterling silver jewelry. However, the acid affects fake or silver-plated metals and causes green coloration and bubbles.
Note: Because acid is very dangerous, when trying, be very careful, make sure you use gloves and goggles to prevent any injuries.
7.Test with Magnet
This is another simple way to verify the authenticity of sterling silver jewelry. Pure silver is non-magnetic, and the same goes for 925 silver. If your ring is attracted to a magnet, it is silver plated or contains a more substantial percentage of another metal than silver.
When buying wholesale sterling silver rings, you should request this test on random items in your order. This is an effective way to guarantee you get an authentic deal.
8. Check the Price
You should consider the price of the ring you are going to buy, because real sterling silver doesn't come cheap! If you see an unexpectedly low price, don't trust and "close the order" right away.
There will be possible damage to the rings such as tarnishing, scratching the metal, damaging the stone, or distorting the setting. Therefore, you should remove the ring when doing heavy work, cleaning using chemicals, exercising, or participating in physical activities. You should also be wary of scratches caused by rings.
Besides pure silver and 925 sterling silver (with 92.5% silver), here are some other silver alloys you may come across:
- Mexican silver: 95% silver, 5% copper (more used as currency than jewelry)
- Coin silver: 90% silver, 10% copper (not a typical jewelry material)
- Britannia silver: 95.84% silver