Friday, April 24, 2015

3 Quick Ways To Help Determine Real Silver from Fake Silver

I seem to be finding coins everywhere while I am packing. I have also found several silver bracelets. 

Early on DH did some research and we decided to use a neodymium magnet to sort though the jewelry and other items that appeared to be silver..
My guess was these were all silver & I was correct.

These are the two neodymium magnets, DH just happened to have on hand. It always amazes me what he has hanging around.

So, you hold the magnet close to the piece and if it is not silver, the magnet sticks to it. This earring isn't silver.  
If the items is silver, the magnet will not stick. This necklace is silver.

Though it is getting harder to find, you may also find "junk silver" in old coins. The value of the precious metals in the coins before these dates (below) is worth way more than the face value of the coins. 

Pennies minted in 1982 or earlier.
Nickels minted in 45 or earlier. (Nickels aren't made of silver)
Dimes & quarters minted in 1964 or earlier.
Take the time to check your change. 

Here are 3 Quick Ways to Determine if You Have an Item That is Silver:
1) The Magnet Test Silver is not magnetic. If you place a strong, rare-earth magnet called a Neodymium magnet on a silver coin or bar, it should not easily stick to it. If you are testing bars, you can angle one at 45 degrees and let the magnet slide down. It should slide down very slowly. If it sticks or it slides very quickly, it is not silver. However, keep in mind that just because the magnet does not stick does not necessarily mean that it is silver.

2) The Ice Test In addition to having the highest electrical conductivity of any element, silver also has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. If you place an ice cube on a silver coin or bar, the ice will begin to melt immediately. Obviously, ice will melt if placed on anything at room temperature, for example, but if placed on silver it will melt much more quickly and impressively. Try it!
3) The Ring Test Silver has a nice ringing sound when it is tapped. If it is a coin, you can flick it into the air. Alternatively, you can gently tap it with another coin. In both instances, you should hear a high-pitched bell-type ring that lasts about 1-2 seconds. A fun way to try this is with a U.S. quarter from the years 1932-1964, which is 90% silver, and with a modern U.S. quarter (post 1965), which is 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. The silver quarter ring will be much higher-pitched compared to the dull ring of the copper quarter. Be careful when doing this with whatever coin you are testing so as not to ding or damage it.
These three tests are not absolutely determinative, but they are quick ways to help you gauge the purity of your "silver" if you do not have a digital scale readily available or do not want use silver acid testing. 
3 Quick Ways To Help Determine real Silver From Fake Silver

Why do some coins have grooves on the edges?
The dollar, half dollar, quarter, and dime were originally made of precious metals (gold and silver). Reeded edges were a way to deter counterfeiting and the practice of filing the edges of coins so the metal shavings could be sold.
The penny and nickel are considered "minor" coins of the United States, so their edges are plain.
Currently, none of the coins produced for circulation contain precious metals, but reeding is useful in another way: reeded edges help people who have visual impairments. For example, the dime and the penny are similar in size, but the reeding on the dime makes it easy to identify by touch. (From the U.S. Mint)
I have an online Amazon Associate/store called Perky Prepping Gramma's Store. This allows me to show you the products I have personally used and endorse, while monetizing my work. What I found early on was people would ask me where I got such & such an item and I would simply share a link. 
Even on regular Amazon (not prime), on specific items, when your total order reaches a $35 the shipping to home is free. So, i created a store of these items I use frequently or recommend. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but I do receive a small percentage as an advertising bonus, if you purchase from my store. You are even able to just link in and do any of your regular Amazon shopping. Thank you for your support.


  1. Do be aware that on jewelry sometimes the clasps will be magnetic because of the spring inside. The rest should not be magnetic if it is silver.