People have been captivated by silver's shining and shimmering splendor since the dawn of civilization. This special metal has been used to commemorate special occasions, achievements, and historic milestones alike throughout the ages. Not to mention, sterling silver earrings add timeless style and sophistication to any wardrobe. Between its luster, brilliance, and versatility, it's easy to see why sterling silver is one of the most popular materials for jewelry.
That said, like many things in life, jewelry is an investment and that means you only want the best. If you've ever been curious about whether your sterling silver earrings are authentic or not, here are a few things to notice.
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver and an extremely soft precious metal. To create a strong alloy for use in jewelry, 92.5% of pure silver is mixed with 7.5% of another metal, usually copper for strength and durability. This durable alloy is called sterling silver. Inspect your silver jewelry for a "925" mark known as a "hallmark". Keep in mind that every piece of our handcrafted sterling silver jewelry will have these markings. Should you own any silver jewelry that doesn't have a stamp, read on for a few ways to test its authenticity.
If the stamp or hallmark is worn or tarnished, a professional can test the sterling silver with nitric acid. Real silver will have a positive reaction that turns the liquid into a cloudy gray color, while non-silver metals will have a negative reaction and produce a greenish tinge. If you want to conduct your own tests at home, here's how to do it.
The Magnet Test
This is an easy way for you to check if your silver jewelry is truly authentic. Simply place a magnet above or near your earrings. Pure silver is not magnetic, so if your jewelry sticks or is attracted to the magnet then the material is not 92.5 sterling silver or more.
The Weight Test
The purpose of this method is to compare your earrings to an item of a similar weight that you know consists of real silver. If the weight feels the same, then your sterling silver earrings are more than likely genuine.
The Odor Test
Real sterling silver products would not exude any smell. So, if the jewelry produces an odor, then the item likely contains too much copper to be true sterling silver.
The Cloth Test
When silver is exposed to air, it oxidizes. This oxidation causes the metal to tarnish and take on a black tint over time. Try lightly rubbing your sterling silver earrings with a soft, white or light-colored cloth. If you notice black marks on the cloth, then the object is authentic because oxidation creates the tarnish that is appearing on the fabric.
The Ice Test
Silver has the highest thermal conductivity rate of any known metal - meaning that it conducts heat extremely fast. Set your earrings on a flat surface and place one ice cube directly on top of the earrings. Place another cube across from the earrings on the same surface. If the ice cube on top of the jewelry melts at a faster rate, then it's real silver.