Dec 4, 2013 12:10 pm
Many people think they have real Silverware but come to be disappointed when they find out that it was not real and only plated or pewter. There are many ways of identifying what your silver really is, let me help you with that with a simple few steps.
Look for a mark on the silverware of 925, STERLING or 925/1000. The mark is usually found on the underside of the piece of flatware. One of these marks is a surefire way to tell if your flatware is made of sterling silver. Flatware could also be of lower purity such as 90% which would be marked 900, 80% which would be marked 800 or 835 and 70% which would be marked 700.
Put a magnet on the silverware to see if it is attracted to it. A magnet will not be attracted to pure silver flatware, only steel and other metals. If the magnet is not attracted to the silverware, there is a good chance it is sterling silver.
Wipe the silver with a silver polish cloth gently as if you were trying to clean it. If your silverware is made from any purity of silver you should see black tarnish rub off on the cloth. Pure silver is subject to oxidation just from being exposed to the air. Steel and other metals will not tarnish in this way.
Look for a mark on the silverware such as a crown, crest or lion. Sterling silver from countries outside of the United States often has a mark as opposed to STERLING or 925. The marks can be small and hard to see, especially if the piece is worn. A maker’s mark is a fair indicator your piece is pure silver especially if your piece is not attracted to a magnet and black tarnish rubs off on a polishing cloth.
These are ways that you can educate yourself on knowing what to look for to be able to authenticate your items on your own, which can be quite easy. This is especially important if you're looking to sell sterling silverware