Knowledge, Silver

How to Identify Fake Silver?

Knowing how to identify fake silver is an essential skill that everyone should have. In the present world where hundreds and thousands of sellers are there for each product, it is very necessary for the buyers to know who is selling genuine products and who is selling the fake ones. When it comes to items made up of silver, this becomes even more crucial. It is because as we all know that silver is a precious metal and hence, highly valued. So, getting conned into buying fake silver will make you lose more than once. Therefore, here we have curated a list of tests that you can perform on your silver jewelry and other items to check the purity of the silver. 

Hallmark Test

The Hallmark test is extremely simple. All you need to do is check for a stamp with numbers or names written on it. The precious metal-based products which are sold for commercial purposes are engraved with the name of the jeweler or the manufacturing company. You may also see numbers like 925, 900, 800 engraved on silver products. These numbers indicate the percentage of purity of silver that was used to make the items. For example, a 925 Hallmark stamp means that the silver is 92.5% pure whereas an 800 Hallmark stamp means that silver is 80% pure. Sterling silver has a purity of 92.5% or above. 

The Flake Test

When an item is only plated with silver, you can scratch the surface and see the silver flakes coming out. So, if you are suspicious of silver jewelry being silver-plated, scratch the surface a little with your fingernail and notice silver flakes wearing off the surface. If you notice silver flakes, this means that the article has a different metal underneath and has a silver plating. To further confirm your conclusions, you can drop the flakes in acid and see if the flakes change color. If they do, it indicates that the flakes are not made up of silver. 

How to Identify Fake Silver: The Ice Test

This test is pivoted on the fact that silver has very high thermal conductivity. It can melt ice at room temperature at a much faster rate than any other metal with high conductivity. So, you can check the purity of silver by placing an ice cube over it. If the ice melts quickly, the item in question is probably made from pure silver. 

The Ring Test

Silver has a good density. So, when it drops on a flat surface or is rubbed against another silver object, it makes a strong ringing sound. You can use the ring test to check the purity of silver items. All you need to do is take the silver items together and rub them against each other. If you hear a sharp ringing sound, it means that it is pure silver. If you hear a dull sound, the silver is most likely mixed with other metals like copper or iron. 

How to Identify Fake Silver: The Bleach Test

Bleach is an oxidizing agent. It turns pure silver black after coming in contact with it. So, when you place a drop of bleach on silver, it should turn the region exposed to bleach, black. This marks an oxidation reaction between bleach and silver. If you pour some bleach on a silver article and it turns black, you know that it is pure silver. 

Also Read: How to Buy Digital Silver?

The Magnet Test

The magnet test is very simple. However, you will need a strong magnet to test the purity of your silver items using this method. To perform the magnet test on silver articles, bring a strong magnet close to the silver article in doubt. If the magnet attracts the article, this means that the article is not made up of pure silver. It is because silver, like gold and copper, is non-magnetic in nature and has only very weak magnetic properties. It doesn’t attract magnets as strong as iron, nickel, and cobalt which are very strongly magnetic. So, when an item that appears to be made from silver attracts a magnet, it means that it has iron or any other magnetic core with only the polish of silver. 

How to Identify Fake Silver: The Polish Test

You may have noticed that old silver coins or jewelry have a blackish-green coating on them. It is because of the oxidation of silver in the presence of air. This is a distinct property of silver that when it comes in contact with air, it gets oxidized and develops a black covering on its surface. This is why people get their silver articles polished from time to time. The principle of oxidation is what helps you in identifying real silver from fake silver. Take a soft white-colored cloth and rub it on the silver item as if you are polishing it. If you see black spots on the cloth, it means that the silver is pure. Else, the item is made up of a material other than silver. 

The Odor Test

This method can be very effective if your sense of smell is as good as that of a dog. Sterling silver or pure silver doesn’t have any distinct metallic smell. To perform the odor test on items in question, take the silver articles in your hand and rub them in your palms. Now smell your palms and the silver items in them and notice a pungent sulfuric or metallic smell. If you notice some kind of smell, it indicates that the silver article is not made up of silver entirely. 


While some of these tests may require you to gather a few things like a magnet in the magnet test, bleach in the bleach test, cotton cloth in the polish test, and so on, there is no such requirement in the hallmark test. So, when you are buying any silver products like coins, bullions, jewelry, utensils, decoratives, etc., you can look for a Hallmark stamp on them. This way, you can check the purity of silver on the go, and be a smart buyer.