Wikipedia defines Sterling silver as an alloy of silver which contains 92.5% weight of pure silver and 7.5% weight of other metals (usually copper). It has a minimum millesimal fitness of 95 and since it’s added with copper, Sterling silver is harder than pure silver.
Due to the rich history, culture, and value, it’s no surprise that silver always wins people’s heart. Unfortunately there’s a lot of fake sterling silver jewelry in the marketplace. How do you identify it? Read on to find out.
The Price Will Give You A Clue
Silver sells at a fair price. Check out the price of a gram of pure silver (99.9%) at http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html. It falls in the range of 0.55 USD per gram. This implies that the basic price of sterling silver is 0.51 USD ( 0.51 = 0.55 * 92.5% ). Factor in an additional 10 – 20% for shipping the raw material and a further 30% for production cost (that’s the average cost of producing 50000 pieces in China) and the wholesale price shoots to above 0.8 USD per gram, and the actual cost is depending on the production complexity of the jewelry. After factoring in all these, 0.7 USD is ideally the perfect price (perfect production, simplest craftsmanship, perfect QA & management system and cheapest human resource). Anything less than 0.7 USD per gram should get you worried: it’s fake.
Buy Only From A Trusted Website
It’s a well-known fact that some websites claim to sell 925 sterling silver yet it’s fake. So, BEWARE OF STERLING SILVER FROM CHINA!!! – Surf through eBay and you’ll see them all over. Still the silver products can be found on eBay here, here and here. Their price is lower than 0.8 gram yet they all have a 925 stamp. That can’t be true. Why? Because the price of sterling silver can’t be less than 0.7 USD per gram as illustrated above. It’s impossible. In fact, to make it even more suspicious, the weight of the jewelry isn’t even stated.
Buy Samples And Send Them To Laboratory
If you are a store owner, the conterfeit silver might ruin your business. The most reliable way to test silver is to buy a small amount firstly, send them to a trustworthy laboratory and get the results. If that cost too much, choose randomly of your samples for testing.
Learn the Silver Jewelry Manufacture Industry In China
There’re different jewelry manufacture areas in China. GuangDong Province, mainly Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanwei are the largest silver/gold jewelry manufacture cities in China.
This article has introduced Shenzhen as a jewelry manufacture and marketing place in detail.
Updated April 27 2017. Other leading silver jewelry manufacture cities, like Guangzhou, Shanwei, will be introduced later.
Understand The Common Alloys Of Fake Sterling Silver
Counterfeit Sterling silver is cheap to make that’s why it retails at relatively low prices. Scrupulous retailers use cupronickel (an alloy of copper and nickel) to make fake sterling silver because they all look the same. This reduces the price by about 60 – 90%. Ideally speaking, the production cost drops by 60% because counterfeiters add pure silver (about 30%) to make the fake sterling silver jewelry look as real as possible. To an unsuspecting person, there won’t be any noticeable difference. (Check the test below for pure silver)
In other cases, the fake silver is made of a zinc-nickel or iron-nickel alloy with no traces of silver in them at all. These are easier to tell because they are plated with a layer of silver that quickly fades away.
How To Test Silver
There are a number of ways through which you can tell that a sterling silver jewelry piece is fake and it always works. Check out the following links for reference:
|Sterling Silver||Iron Nikel Alloy||Copper Nickel Alloy||30% Silver Copper Nickel Alloy|
|Bleach Test||Change Color||No Change||No Change||Change Color|
|Silver Acid Test||Pass||Fail||Fail||Fail|