Sterling silver is brighter and more lustrous than stainless steel. Fake silver flaking, source: metal Detecting Forum. Stainless steel does not tarnish. Coin Silver This is a dead giveaway that your piece is plated or made with some other metal. Silver items have long been known as symbols of wealth and prosperity . Pure silver is soft and often called "fine silver." The Value of 999 Fine Silver. In fact, some manufacturers got so good at creating silver plated items that it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two. Silver plate is pure silver that’s put over another metal such as copper. Lastly, even if silver is known as a nontoxic metal, its salt sometimes tends to be poisonous. Russian silver may also have purity lower than 90%. Another visual difference between genuine silver and fake silver is whether it has any type of layering or flaking. Photo: Merinka/Envato How to Tell the Difference Between Silver, White Gold and Platinum April 01, 2015 / Barry Lenson If you go shopping at antique malls or estate sales, you will discover a number of items for sale that are made of gray metal. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other metals, primarily copper. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. 3. Sterling silver is very light. If you love German Shepherd Dogs, but like the thought of owning one in a more unusual colour than the traditional black and tan, the silver German Shepherd may well have caught your eye. It is harder than pure silver. Where sterling silver is shiny and bright, stainless steel has a flatter and duller color to it. Argentium silver is a type of sterling silver with the addition of germanium, which makes the metal even harder and tarnish-resistant. Sterling silver is mainly an alloy of silver, consisting of nearly 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% other metals, like copper, which make it … .999: Purest form available — aka pure silver, fine silver, investment-grade silver.958: Britannia silver, produced from 1697 to 1720.950: Sterling silver, usually found in antique pieces and on silver from France.925 and up: Sterling silver (stamped on the front ring at right).835: A common European silver blend. Silver is a versatile chemical element. Silver will not exhibit these signs. Silver, however, will tarnish if not properly cared for. This is true whether you own sterling silver or pure silver, since most times you can't tell the status of the silver at a quick glance. Note that 999 and 9999 silver are essentially the same and there is only the tiniest fraction of a difference. It is worth noting that silver sold in Europe or other parts of the world may have purity lower than 92.5% and still be marketed as silver or sterling silver. Unfortunately, when it comes to the value of your antiques, whether you have solid or plated silver makes a big difference, so it is important to be able to differentiate between the two. Silver Plate. Sterling Silver vs Silver: What's the Difference? It's really easy to calculate the melt value of 999 fine silver. Products often can be mistaken as silver if they are silver plated (merely covered with a thin layer of fine silver). Nickel silver is named for its silvery appearance, but it contains no elemental silver unless plated. In summary, there are two major differences between silver and sterling silver: 1. For example, German silver may have silver content as low as 80%. 2. 9999 silver is regarded as ultra-fine but there will be no visible difference. German silver also known as Nickel Silver is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The name "German silver" refers to its development by 19th-century German metalworkers. 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