How To Test Sterling Silver?


2 Answers

jerome penn Profile
jerome penn answered
There are four ways in which you can test for sterling silver yourself. Checking to markings on the piece that you own, doing a magnetic test, placing some nitric acid on a part of the piece and rubbing with a cloth can all tell you as to whether the piece is authentic or not. These tests can all be done at home, so if you want to find out for yourself without going to a professional, it is easily done.

When you are checking for markings on the silver you may need a magnifying glass, but be sure to look out for the words ‘ster’, ‘sterling’ and even the obvious ‘sterling silver’. If these markings are not on the piece, then you can be sure that it is not authentic.

The magnetic check is the easiest. If the piece that you own is not attracted to the magnet, you can be sure that it is real sterling silver as opposed to a fake. Nitric acid is the next test that you can do if you are still unsure about your piece. This is the test that would be carried out by a professional but you can do it yourself if you are confident and aware of all safety features. All you have to do is place a small drop of the acid on the piece and then wait to see what color change it produces, if it is green you have a fake piece and if it is cream the piece is authentic.

Finally, you can simply rub the silver with a cloth. When checking the cloth afterwards make a note if there are any black marks, this can indicate sterling silver as the tarnish should come off.

You can follow all of these easy steps and be sure that your piece is either a fake or authentic.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have two small toasting goblets. They appear to be made from sterling silver...I'm not sure.
They are about 45 yrs. Old. I can't find markings other than manufacture Trade Mark. That
mark appears to be two old style capital letter present like this X & X...the two marks display
the & sign in the middle. The goblets have never shown tarnishing...They have elaborate scroll
design covering the drinking part of the goblet. The stem or base is plain.

My Question: How can I determine what they are made of?

I know for a fact they were purchased by a family member 44 plus years ago
from a high class jeweler. I understand place of purchase doesn't really tell
much...except their reputations were very good.

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