How to Avoid Fake Chinese Sterling Jewelry

Posted by JewelryKind

What is Fake Sterling Silver?

Throughout history, merchants have attempted to swindle their buyers time and time again by selling fake jewelry and Chinese sterling silver has been no exception.
A dupe version of sterling silver has become a wide-spread problem throughout jewelry e-commerce – affecting both retailers and buyers alike. The jewelry is a plated base metal that is being marketed deceitfully as pure sterling silver. Often promoted as “925” (the percent of silver that sterling silver has), these fraudulent jewelry pieces can be found available on numerous websites. Unfortunately, many unknowlegable wearers may purchase fake sterling silver under the impression that they have bought the real thing. While in addition to this, the sales of genuine sterling silver suffer due to the low prices that fake sterling silver can be sold for.

How Can I Identify Between Fake and Real Sterling Silver?

Although knock-off and real sterling silver can both be stamped with the same “925” quality mark (an indication that the entire piece is sterling silver) – there are a few red flags that you can look for before making your purchase.

1. Appearance
Real sterling silver pieces will rarely have an attached quality tag on them. This is because it increases the cost of the piece drastically. Instead, you are more likely to find an in-chain or engraved tag on genuine sterling silver jewelry. Furthermore, authentic silver, even brand new, has a distinguishable greyish color while most fakes are a bright white hue. This is due to their rhodium plating which produces a white shiny finish. If a piece of sterling silver looks too white, it is probably an imitation.

2. Pricing
Additionally, one of the more obvious tip offs of fake sterling silver is its pricing. Silver has a base value, which means that most retailers would not dare sell a sterling silver item below their scrap value. If a price of a piece looks too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Attributes
A humorous yet effective way to determine whether or not your piece is legitimate is to smell it. True 925 sterling silver does not have any detectable smell. If you are able to smell a faint copper odor or a brassy smell, then there is a good chance that it is not real 925 silver. Another great tip to determine the authenticity of a piece is to rub the jewelry with a polishing cloth. If any black marks appear on the cloth upon doing this, then the jewelry is real. True 925 silver oxidizes with air exposure which is precisely why silver has a reputation of tarnishing.

How to Keep From Buying Fake Sterling Silver?

If all else fails, be sure to always ask the merchant questions. That being said, it is important to be prepared with the basic knowledge of sterling silver. Overall, although fake sterling silver is plaguing our jewelry marketplace, you do not have to be a victim of fraudulent buying. By keeping these helpful tips in mind, you will be sure to prevent yourself from purchasing anything that is less than what your dollar is worth.

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  1. Mike

    October 28, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Today’s online jewelry stores, are full of fake or “cheap” Chinese silver jewelry. I have purchased a jewelry piece and after 2 weeks a stone was missing. I think the jewelry stores should think twice when they need to import jewelry pieces. Not to think only at high revenues buying cheap jewelry.

    • Robert Buchanan

      September 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Real jewelry stores don’t buy fakes to sell as real. They also know what is real and what is not

  2. Kerrie k

    April 14, 2017 at 6:54 am

    I have purchased several pieces of sterling silver .925 from China merchants. They definitely are glossier then sterling silver. They do not tarnish as the normal sterling silver we are accustomed to in the US. However I took my pieces to a pawn shop for inspection to see if they would pass and if they would pay for them. They passed every inspection including the magnetic testing. My guess is that since sterling silver needs to be 92.5% genuine silver that the Chinese may actually have found another metal alloy which they may be mixing with the silver which gives it that shiny coat and more tarnish resistant. Or that they have found another medal which reacts to testing the same as sterling silver. I’m doubtful that is rhodium as I have purchase authentic sterling silver in the US and had it rhodium coated to avoid tarnishing paid extra for it as it was said to be dipped in white gold plating. I would never ask for white gold dip Sterling ever again as it tarnished extremely fast. That may just have been a not-so-good merchant. However, rhodium plating is expensive in the US, far more expensive than purchasing the jewelry already rhodium plated from China. So it doesn’t make sense to me that they would choose rhodium. So since they need not disclose the other 2.5% metal we can only guess what it might be that they are using.⭐

  3. Betty Joe Pea

    July 27, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    What if you buying Sterling Silver on line and don’t realize it till later. Tophatter is letting seller sell fake Sterling Silver to buyers, what do I do?

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