Can you tell a real silver chain from a fake one? And if you had a fake and a genuine piece, would you be able to tell the difference between them?
With a jewelry market that is overflowing with fake pieces of jewelry, some priced just as much and as high as the real ones to dupe you, you have to make sure that you know how to differentiate the real pieces from the fake ones.
Not sure how to? Well, this article takes you through everything you need to know about the differences between the real and the fake sterling silver/ silver chains.
What chains are considered real silver chains?
Generally, the real silver chains are either made of solid silver in its pure form at 99.9% pure, or sterling silver which is made of 925 sterling silver which contains 92.5% silver. These kinds of sterling silver and silver jewelry are what are considered real silver or real sterling silver chains.
So, if you have jewelry that you could consider to be real sterling silver or silver, it means that you are looking at a valuable piece that is made of a high percentage of pure silver.
But because pure silver is too soft, it is not used in making chains in its pure form, and the silver has to be alloyed with other metals, in this case, copper, to form sterling silver, which is what’s referred to as real silver. Sterling silver is made of 92.5% pure silver that is alloyed with 7.5% nickel and copper.
The real silver chains would also have the hallmark imprint for authenticity, for instance, the 925, Sterling Silver, Sterling, or Ster imprinted on them.
What chains are considered Fake silver chains?
A silver chain is considered a fake piece if it’s made of materials other than silver and sterling silver. The jewelry can be silver-plated, gold-plated with a sterling silver metal base, or any other materials such as brass, copper, stainless steel, among other metal alloys. The fake silver chains would also be chains plated with silver or sterling silver.
Given the fact that the fake silver chains contain metals other than silver or sterling silver, it’s worth noting that the fake silver chains will not have the same properties as those of sterling silver, and this means that the fakes are magnetic, for example, unlike the real pieces which are non-magnetic.
Silverplate is considered an example of fake silver because only the surface of the chain is coated with silver, and the base metal is made of a metal like nickel or copper alloys.
Pros and cons of the real silver chain
- Sterling silver alloys for more unique chain designs
- Valuable metal and high-quality pieces of sterling silver chains
- It is elegant and makes stunning fine jewelry
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Allows for the best level of craftsmanship
- High-quality, affordable sterling silver pieces
- Though it looks stunning, real silver/ sterling silver chains are actually not resistant to tarnishing, and the chains will take on a black or grey tarnish after some time, and the chain will not always look as good as new.
- The sterling silver pieces are too soft, and they may be scratched or easily bent if you wear the chain repetitively.
Pros and cons of the fake silver chain
- Fake silver chains are very cheap
- They make excellent fashion jewelry options
- Look as good as the real thing
- Not the most durable
- They tarnish easily
- The risk of allergies and skin irritation is too high
- Some fake pieces look too good to be true, and you would be duped easily if you didn’t know what you were looking for
What’s the difference between a real gold chain and a silver-gold chain?
- The difference in making process
The main difference between the real gold and silver pieces of jewelry primarily lies in what the real pieces are made of.
As mentioned above, the real sterling silver chains are made of pure silver (92.5%) that is alloyed with 7.5% copper (and, in other cases, nickel). The alloyed silver is then molded into different kinds of jewelry, including the best of sterling silver rings and chains.
Real gold chains, on the other hand, are also made in the same way. Well, not exactly the same, especially in terms of the metal that are alloyed in to make the chain. For gold, the real chain pieces can be crafted out of 10k gold, 14k gold, or 18k solid gold – all made of pure gold alloyed with copper, nickel, and silver, among other metals. The real gold chains are made of gold in different compositions, specifically, 41.8%, 58.3%, and 75% pure gold, respectively. The solid real gold chains, unlike the fake pieces that are plated, cost more because they are made of high-quality solid gold that is much more valuable.
- Difference in metals
Real silver chains are made of pure silver alloyed with copper, and nickel, on occasion. The real silver chains are made of pure silver, which is a precious metal, just like gold, albeit not as valuable.
Real gold chains, on the other hand, are made of pure gold alloyed with copper, silver, and/or nickel in different proportions. Interestingly, the metals alloyed with real gold leave you with three main types of solid gold – white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold – all in 10k, 14k, and 18k (even 22k). While the percentage of pure gold in these real gold pieces is variable, the solid/ real gold chains are largely made of pure gold that is alloyed with copper, silver, and nickel, among other alloys.
- Difference in price
Real gold jewelry is essentially more expensive than sterling silver pieces, thanks to the rarity and the durability of solid gold. Also, the best real gold jewelry is tarnish-resistant, and it hardly causes allergies, which is why real gold chains are a lot more expensive than the sterling silver pieces that get tarnished easily and would also cause allergies. With these differences in mind, the gold chains always cost more than the sterling silver pieces.
How tell the real silver chain from fake ones?
There are different ways of testing real silver, but the most popular option is to test its magnetism. Silver and real sterling silver chains are non-magnetic, meaning that if you hold the magnet over the chain, it will not be drawn to it. If, on the other hand, the silver chain is attracted to the magnet, then you’d know that the piece is not made of real silver/ sterling silver.
You could also compare the weight of the new silver piece with the genuine pieces at home. If the weight of the pieces feels the same, then it means that you have a genuine silver chain in your hands.
Tarnish is the other thing that would tell you if the chain is genuine/ real or fake. Take the silver chain and rub it using a soft, light-colored cloth. If you notice black specks/ marks on the cloth, then it is a genuine silver piece because the real silver chain would be oxidized naturally when it’s exposed to air.
You could also test it by carefully running the nitric acid test. You need protective gloves and goggles for this test, though. If the chain turns green when you add a small drop of nitric acid to it, then it means that the piece is a fake. This is the case because nitric acid reacts with the high copper content in non-silver compounds, which is the case with the fake silver pieces.
Real Silver chain vs. fake (Which one should you buy?)
Well, it’s quite obvious that you should buy the real silver chain over the fake ones. But if you are looking for cheap jewelry on a tight budget, then you may want to opt for fake silver jewelry.
You can easily tell real silver chains from the fakes. Even without running tests, you need to check the prices – real silver chains cost more than the fakes. The tests listed above would also help you determine the true nature of the chains.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.