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Differing sterling and fine silver


#1

Help! I don’t have acid for a test but I need to know how to tell
the difference between sterling and fine silver sheets, carelessly
left unmarked. thank you! ssbsharlot@aol.com


#2

One way is by flame.

  1. Cut a little sliver off one corner/edge.
  2. Place the sliver on a fireproof surface.
  3. Apply a flame to it, without putting any flux or firescale
    preventer on it.
  4. If the piece stays nice & shinny, it’s fine silver, if it
    oxidizes & turns grungy, it’s sterling.

Dave


#3
 I don't have acid for a test but I need to know how to tell the
difference between sterling and fine silver sheets, carelessly left
unmarked. 

Mix up a bit of liver of sulphur solution as used for oxidizing
sterling. Clean both sheets, or the unknown sheet, plust a sample of
known sterling and a sample of known fine silver, if you’ve got it.
Put a bit of the oxidizing solution on all samples, and watch the
speed and extent of the result. Fine silver turns black more slowly,
and to a lesser degree, than does sterling… You can also heat it a
bit and look at the result. Fine silver stays white, while sterling
turns black. I prefer the first test, since it’s more easily cleaned
up.

Peter


#4

ssbsharlot, Use a torch to heat the mystery metal to annealing
temperature. Fine silver wil stay white; sterling oxidizes.

Janet


#5

Help! I don’t have acid for a test but I need to know how to tell

the difference between sterling and fine silver sheets,

G’day; Heat a small piece of the metal to redness and quench in a
very small amount of sparex solution. Repeat this several times. If
the metal contains copper, the sparex will turn pale blue. Fine
silver will not do this.

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ


#6

One simple quick test would be to make up an oxidizing solution such
as liver of sulphur and place a drop (or dip) each material and gauge
the reaction. The Sterling silver materials will oxidize readily.


#7
    One simple quick test would be to make up an oxidizing
solution such as liver of sulphur and place a drop (or dip) each
material and gauge the reaction. The Sterling silver materials will
oxidize readily. 

Liver of sulfur will produce sulfides …not oxides. Heating the
metals can produce copper oxides if copper is present as in most
sterling. This reaction will not be evident with the newer silicone alloys.


#8

Sharlot: Snip off a small piece of the sheet and put it in a small
ceramic crucible, or in a small cavity dug out of a firebrick. Melt
the piece with a flame which is on the oxidizing side. When it
cools the button will be black if it was sterling. It will be
bright and clean if it was fine silver.

Captain Blood
"Marlinespike Seamanship in Precious Metals"
@Alden_Glenda_Blood


#9

Hello,

As already mentioned, sterling turns black when heated to red hot.
Fine stays silver. I use a charcoal block.

Another way to tell is:

SMELL. You need a good size sheet or several ounces of wire. Fine
silver has no smell-- Sterling smells metallic. Close your eyes and
inhale! (Myron Toback taught me this.)

Regards,
Fredricka Kulicke
http://kulickejewelryschool.com
http://www.fredrickakulicke.com