Wednesday, June 30, 2021

How Can You Identify Real Sterling Silver?


Pixabay License

Free for commercial use

No attribution required

When you are looking for sterling silver jewelry, you want to know that what you are buying is the real thing. You are, of course, not the only one, the companies themselves want to ensure that what they have on display is real, and there are several ways that you and they can check.

While a sterling silver necklace is cheaper than a gold one, its price tends to fluctuate more. This makes pricing rings and bracelets difficult and encourages fakes to flood into the market. A reputable seller of sterling silver jewelry and gifts will ensure that their stock is real and will have no objections to you wanting to test it for yourself. If diamonds are featured, make sure certification is provided. Check out for a great resource.

If the sterling silver chain you are thinking of buying is real, then none of these tests will do any harm to the piece of jewelry. The first thing you should do is look for the Hallmark. You may need a magnifying glass for this as it is often very small. On sterling silver the mark should read ‘Ster’ or ‘925’, if it’s not there then neither should you be. If the mark is there the next thing to do is give the piece a good smell; sterling silver has no discernible smell. All you should smell is any other materials that are present, such as leather. Moreover, if you rub your piece of silver jewelry with a white cloth and notice that black marks have occurred, this indicates that it is real. You can also undertake the magnet test, sterling silver is not magnetic, and so if a ring sticks to the magnet, it’s not authentic. 

A Unique History

Everything has a history and the sterling silver chain bracelet that you love is no exception. Silver has had many uses in the past, from medicine bases to protective charms, but it is Native American Jewellery that plays a significant part in the accessories you wear today.

The art of the silversmith was first taught to Native Americans by Spanish settlers in the early 1800s and soon became part of their tradition. Some of the most recognizable pieces of sterling silver jewelry made, even today, by Native Americans contain turquoise, opal, lapis, coral and mother of pearl. Jewelry design would differ between tribes with the Navajo being recognized as the best silversmiths and the Xuni as the most accomplished at inlay and channel work. The jewelry made by the tribes was likely to have started life as something else, and the finished piece would be dependent on the type and grade of silver that had been used. For instance, an early sterling silver chain, made by a Native American was likely to have started life as a US coin. 

Other items used included melted candlesticks and teapots that were traded with rangers and other settlers. Mexican coins were also used and could be fashioned easily into small detailed pieces because they were very thin to begin with. Sterling silver would then go on to replace German silver, which was actually a nickel alloy.