I spend a lot of time prospecting in Goodwill and other second hand
stores and at flea markets. Sometimes I find things made of silver
there. Sometimes you can tell that they’re silver plated by the fact
that the plating has worn off corners and bottoms exposing a
different colored base metal. But at other times I cannot find any
such indication, which leaves me wondering if the object might
indeed be solid sterling or other silver alloy.
Which brings me to my question. Short of bringing along the specific
gravity balance, does anyone know of a reasonably simple reagent or
test that can discriminate with some assurance, on the spot, in the
Goodwill store, between a solid silver article and a plated one?