If you are planning to buy sterling silver jewelry, then you should know the difference between pure silver and 925 sterling silver. Well, pure silver contains a little amount of copper because it has 99.9 percent silver. On the other hand, when you come across 925 sterling silver ornaments, then the number denotes 92.5 percent silver in addition to copper which is commonly used.
Jewelers always prefer adding copper because the metals help to make silver soft and malleable. As the hardness is reduced, the jeweler is in a better position to make intricate designs from 925 sterling silver.
Whether you are buying a sterling silver ring or a necklace, you would have to pay a little more as you negotiate at the jeweler’s shop. But, in case you doubt that that the design is not made from sterling silver, then you have to try out a few techniques. This would certainly help you to determine the purity and check its value.
Use a soft white cloth
As you rub the jewelry piece with a soft white cloth, you may observe some marks on the fabric. This indicates that the trinket it is made from 925 sterling silver. The mark is visible because the jewelry piece tends to react with oxygen when it is exposed to air. Over a period of time, the metal starts wearing out and the cloth gets spoilt with the black mark when it is used for polishing the jewelry.
Carry out the nitric acid test
When drops of nitric acid come in contact with fake jewelry, the metallic surface tends to lose its color. So before buying 925 sterling silver jewelries, you should request the jeweler to carry out the test. In case the acid doesn’t affect the metal, then it’s obvious that you would be buying a genuine product.
If you are carrying out the test all by yourself, then you should remember to wear goggles and hand gloves so that the chemical does not react with the skin. Normally, the drops of nitric acid would appear creamy in color. But, in case the color is green, then you shouldn’t buy the jewelry piece.
Conduct a smell test
As you move ahead in purchasing the trinket, you shouldn’t forget to smell the metallic surface. In case the surface smells, then the metal is not pure but contains copper more than the usual percentage.
Finally, you can place the jewelry piece near a magnet. If the trinket it is attracted to the magnet, then it is clear that it is not designed from sterling silver.
Always be cautious of what you are going to buy. A hallmark with “925,” “Ster” or “Sterling Silver” etched on the surface can surely indicate that the piece is genuine.