Real (Genuine) VS Fake Silver Jewelry
Choosing genuine sterling silver jewelry is one of the most important decisions you can make when purchasing silver. Lower quality silver can depreciate in value and appearance over time, as well as cause allergic reactions. Deciding to purchase sterling silver jewelry is the easy part; it’s ensuring that what you’re buying is actually solid sterling silver that’s the hard part! There are a few things you can do to make the process easier, however.
The first step in buying real sterling silver jewelry is to find a reputable seller. Most local jewelry stores will sell high quality sterling silver, although you may have to be very specific with them. Finding good online jewelry stores can be more difficult. Look for ones who give details about the quality of their jewelry (such as stating that they only sell solid sterling silver products). Also seek out sellers whose priorities are on customer service, rather than sketchy sellers who offer bottom-of-the-barrel prices. Sterling silver is very affordable, and if someone is selling it for an unbelievably low price, it’s probably stolen or fake. Another trick to watch out for is vague descriptions of the jewelry. Only buy pieces that are explicitly stated to be sterling silver. Some companies will try to pass off nickel-plated trinkets as silver using phrases like “silver” or “silver tone.” Don’t be fooled!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Any seller worth buying from will have a phone number or email address dedicated to customer questions and concerns. If you’re not sure about a piece’s quality, don’t hesitate to ask the seller. If you don’t get a prompt response (within a couple of days), consider buying from someone else.
All solid sterling silver pieces will be stamped with a mark to indicate its authenticity. The stamp will usually say “.925” to indicate that silver is 92.5% of the metal. If you can’t find a stamp, it’s best to ask a jewelry expert for help determining the piece’s authenticity. However, there are a couple of other tests you can try. Because silver is not magnetic, try sticking a magnet to your silver piece. Although it can’t prove that your metal is silver, it can definitely prove that your metal is NOT silver if it sticks! Another test you can try is getting two pieces of ice and laying your silver jewelry on one of them. Silver conducts heat better than most metals, so real silver should melt the ice faster. Again, these little tricks cannot be used to prove that your piece is real sterling silver, but they are quick and handy (and fun) ways to eliminate obvious fakes.
Getting genuine sterling silver is really important, but it can also seem really difficult. Your best bet is to buy clearly labeled and stamped sterling silver from a reputable seller. If that’s not an option, try the quick tricks and consult an expert for help. There’s no reason that getting what you pay for should be impossible!