Updated: Oct 15
How can I tell if my silver is real? Here are 10 tips to know if your silver is legit:
MARKED STERLING - If the piece has the mark "sterling" on it then it is real silver. Sterling is actually an alloy of only 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. This has been the industry standard since England adopted it in the early 1200 A.D.
BENDS EASILY - If the item is pliable and can bend easily then it is likely silver. Silver is a much softer metal than steel or base metal.
NOT MARKED "IS" or ROGERS or COMMUNITY or ONEIDA - If the piece is marked with an "IS" short for International silver or is marked with "Rogers" or is marked with "Community" or "Oneida" and there is no marking of sterling, then your piece is silver plated and not real silver. These brands comprise about 95% of the silver plated market.
THERE IS NO GREEN CORROSION - If the piece has green corrosion, then it is likely just silver plated and not sterling silver.
MARKED WITH A LION PASSANT - If your piece has what are called "hallmarks" and one of the markings is a lion with its paw held up in the air, then it is has the English purity mark for sterling silver.
MARKED WITH 800 - If your piece is marked with an 800, then it is likely 80% pure silver, as this is the mark that German assay office uses to designate 800 fine silver. You will also usually see a crescent moon and also a crown along with the 800 mark. Beware of marks of 90 or 900 - as they are typically German marks for silver plated, even though one would think that these would be marks for 90% pure silver.
MARKED WITH 925 - If your piece is marked with 925, then it is likely 92.5% pure silver. The numerical mark of 925 is commonly used by Italy, German, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Peru and a few other countries as its standard mark to designate the purity of its silver.
MARKED WITH 830 or 835 - If your piece is marked with 830 or 835, then these are likely the purity marks from Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands as in 83% or 83.5% pure silver.
MARKED WITH 84 - If your piece is marked with an 84, then it is probably 84% pure silver, as this is the standard Russian hallmark for silver.
MARKED COIN OR PURE COIN - If your piece has a marking of coin or pure coin, then it is likely 90% pure silver made in Colonial America in the 1700's and early 1800's. The colonies had no access to silver at this time and they had to resort to melting down silver trade dollars from other countries. Thus, the term coin silver was coined.
These top 10 tips should cover about 99% of all instances, however, there are always outliers that don't fit in to any of these categories. If you have any pieces that you are unsure of and would like to get a free evaluation, please feel free to email us a photo of your item. Please also include a close up shot of any manufacturers marks or assay marks that you can see visibly, which will almost always be on the back side of the flatware piece, or underneath on pieces of hollowware. Info@sterlingsilverbuyers.com
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Please send us photos, measurements and item descriptions. Thanks, Greg Arbutine
Sterling Silver Buyers Owner
Sterling Silver Buyers wants to purchase your sterling silver flatware and hollowware! Please sell your silverware items to Sterling Silver Buyers!