Silver is actually very practical and interesting. Did you know that it has the “highest electrical conductivity of any metal at room temperature”? It’s also an essential, necessary element in processing film. But mostly, the world in general knows (and is grateful) that silver makes for beautiful jewelry.
Today, it’s still important to buy sterling silver from a reputable source and retailer. In 2010, ABC News reported that Tiffany (yes, that one) lost a lawsuit it filed against the online auction website, eBay. Tiffany, the jewelry store with a flagship shop in New York City and Beverly Hills, is also the inspiration for the name of Donald J. Trump’s youngest daughter. At any rate, Tiffany claims that just about every piece of Tiffany silver sold on eBay is counterfeit, and that eBay was allowing it to happen (despite the fact that eBay has 200 full-time employees “purging fraudulent listings from the site.” The lesson to be learned here: buy directly, and from a legitimate retailer.
Ways to to identify silver?
- It should be stamped .925 or “sterling”
- Rub with a soft white cloth; black marks indicate real silver.
- Drops of Nitric Acid (which makes non-silver metal lose colour; it has no effect on sterling)
- Sniff—real silver doesn’t smell at all; if it does, there’s too much copper
- Magnet—a magnet will not stick to silver (or gold or platinum). If a small magnet sticks to the “silver” jewelry, it’s not real.
To start your search of what’s available in the universe of sterling silver jewelry, check out https://www.silver.uk.com/. You’re guaranteed that everything you buy on the site is authentic and real. When buying jewelry, always be cautious. There are even people who sell, face-to-face, fake or inauthentic silver-colored metals under the auspices of telling tourists how high quality their wares are. In fact, as recently as October 2015, a shop in Scottsdale, Arizona was purporting to sell “authentic” Native American jewelry that was actually made in the Philippines. The shop owner and his two associates were fined $250K and would face up to five years in jail.
On Travelocity, a woman tells the story of how she and her sister were duped at what for-all-appearances, appeared to be a legitimate jewelry store in Playa del Carmen in Mexico—the jewelry was stamped .925, the store had signs claiming they were selling .925, the receipt and the business card, also said .925. But on the plane ride home, her sister’s ring started to rub off. Suspicious, they took all the pieces they bought to their local jewelers, who informed them that none of the pieces were .925 silver, but an inferior metal. Don’t let this happen to you. Always purchase from a reputable jeweler.
Here’s another fun fact that you might like to know before we end this article. It may surprise you that silver mining started about 5,000 years ago, first mined in what is currently Turkey, in 3000 B.C. By 100 A.D., Spain was considered the silver capital of the world. Silver mining soon began to spread throughout central Europe and significant mines were discovered in Germany and Eastern Europe between 750 and 1200 A.D. But the biggest boost to silver came when Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered the New World.
Do you have any more tips on how to avoid getting duped when buying authentic sterling silver jewelry?
Photo by Thorn Yang