How To Tell if Silver Is Real? (Easy Guide)

Last Updated on March 24, 2022

Silver has a high value and a lovely, gleaming look, which is why it is so popular. It’s also one of the most often counterfeited precious metals due to its popularity.

You shouldn’t be shocked if you wind up buying something that’s made of imitation silver, whether you’re looking for silver flatware, jewelry, or decorative accents.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple methods for determining the validity of a silver object. The following are some of the questions you should ask in order to tell genuine silver from fake.


How to tell if silver is real?

Silver has been a valuable commodity for hundreds of years, so purchasing fake silver comes as no surprise. You may also be concerned about how to tell if your family’s heirlooms are genuine or not. Follow these methods to discover out!

The Magnet Test

Performing a magnetic test is the simplest method to determine if your silver has a high degree of purity, because it is paramagnetic. The item is genuine if it does not react or reacts very little (that is, without any visible movement).

Use a powerful magnet, such as a neodymium magnet. Some metal alloys, on the other hand, may not be affected by a magnet and can still appear to be silver. As a result, it’s also wise to conduct additional tests to ensure accuracy.

If you have a silver bar, keep the magnet on it and hold it at a 45-degree angle. Given that the metal is genuine.

Amazon Essentials Platinum Plated Sterling Silver Round Cut Cubic Zirconia All-Around Band Ring (2.5mm), Size 8

The Hallmark Test

If the silver has a hallmark, it’s genuine. If the hallmark is illegible, double-check that it isn’t a fake by checking for other indications of authenticity.

The hallmarks of fine silver, sterling silver, and Platinum bands are hard to see without a magnifying glass. “999” (fine silver), “925” (sterling silver), and similar markings indicate the percentage of precious metal in the item.

If you can’t discover any hallmarks or they’re so worn away that they’re unrecognizable,

The Ice Cube Test

This is another common technique for determining whether silver is genuine. Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals. This means it conducts heat and electric charge well, as demonstrated by an ice cube placed on a silver bar or coin.

If the ice cube begins to melt right away, it’s probably real silver. To better see the distinction, try placing an additional ice cube on a different metal or plastic surface.

The Odor Test

Put a little of the silver in your hand and smell it up to your nostrils. You’ll know that the metal is genuine if there’s no fragrance or a faint one.

If you notice a metallic scent, it’s probably composed of various metal alloys. Silver-plated jewelry, on the other hand, will also give off an unpleasant odor since it is mostly composed of non-silver metals.

How to Tell if Silver Is Real With a Lighter?

Choose a hidden place on your jewelry item for this experiment. Heat the tested spot with a lighter and observe the reaction.

You may perform this test with two matchsticks. On one end of one matchstick, break the head and place it there. Using another matchstick to light up the top of the first stick, repeat the process.

When the fire is out, check for a dark black tattoo on the precious metal surface. A dark black stain indicates that the metal is genuine silver.

If you rub the spot with a tiny amount of vinegar, the stain will disappear.

How to Tell if a Silver Coin Is Real?

This is a type of alloy composed of mostly real silver. The major distinction is that it has 90% genuine silver.

It tarnishes quickly but can be preserved for many years if properly cared for. The price of sterling silver is greater than that of nickel-free steel because it has a larger amount of genuine silver in the alloy.

Buffalo Silver Round Fine Silver 1 oz from SilverTowne Mint

How To Tell if Silver is Real Using Acid Test?

Apply a drop of acid to the scratched line. The color of the substance indicates the metal it is composed of. Colors such as yellow, dark brown, and blue indicate materials other than silver.

The light green and deep brown colors represent 500 and 800 silver, which are not quite of the highest quality. However, if the acid becomes dark crimson, it is 925 silver. A brilliant crimson color, on the other hand, indicates that the product is genuine fine silver.

If you want a more secure and less complicated approach, consider using Coca-Cola. Sink a tarnished silver object into a cup of coke if you have one. Remove it after a few minutes and wash it with lukewarm water. The oxidation will be removed from the real thing.

Don’t forget to check out our guide on Stainless Steel VS Sterling Silver: Which One Is Better?

Jackie Palmer is a Houston-based coin journalist and fashion enthusiast. She joined Jewels Advisor’s content team after years of experience as a content strategist, managing blogs and social channels for local stores. Jackie mostly collects and studies US coins produced during the 20th century and over the years, published hundreds of articles for multiple coin publications.