Hi Thomas, What you probably have is Fine Silver plating over Nickel.
Many silver manufacturers are now using this treatment as a tarnish
barrier. Most department stores like this because they don’t have to
polish their merchandise. unfortunately, these silver items can not
be repaired easily using a torch, pickle or polishing machine. It is
however, possible to polish through the nickel layer, exposing the
sterling silver underneath using bobbing compound and a lot of elbow
grease. You can test for this treatment by buffing a small area on a
piece, and look for the gray nickel color.
Good Luck… martha : ) <@caersidi>