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How do I tell if it's silver?

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p91
New Member
31 Posts
 Posted 01/09/2007  3:20 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add p91 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Hello, I recently was given something that was said to be sterling-silver. it looks to be a shop-made magazine holder, sandwhiched with cork (very odd) - if it really is sterling silver its got to be a couple pounds. the toning looks like silver...

but its not marked anywhere. it's non-magnetic....any ideas? should I spring for the 15dollar silver test kit?

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Australia
1360 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2007  03:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Snooba to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here is some information that I looked up on various websites:-

The SILVER Test:

How can you tell if an item that you have found is silver or not? Here's an easy way.

The only thing you need is a piece of tin foil (silver cooking foil). Get the item that you think is silver and place it on the tin foil. Now, SPIT on the item, this will not harm the item at all.

Cover the item tightly with the foil after you have spat on it. Leave it for 5-10 seconds, then open the foil. Bring it up to your nose and smell it as you open it. If it smells like rotten eggs then it's silver.

You will notice straight away as the smell is unmistakable and strong. Try this with something that you know is silver so that you can see it works.

Simple test for silver:

25 gm potassium dichromate
25 gm nitric acid
Silver = red or reddish brow colour

(Only oxide and grease free objects can be tested, one drop is sufficient, rinse well immediately!)

Silver Testing:

Metal items that are supposed to be silver may be tested first with a magnet. If the magnet is attracted, the item is not silver. To test a piece for silver content, place a drop of silver reagent on a notch in the metal. Pure silver will then turn bright red, while sterling will turn much darker red. Silver that is .800 will test brown, and an object that is only .500 silver will turn green.

I've never tried any of the above mentioned silver tests, but who knows, they may be helpful? Good Luck!
Edited by Snooba
01/19/2007 07:11 am
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1703 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2007  06:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TLS5933 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Bite it. No wait,that Gold.
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Australia
661 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2007  06:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add muckeye to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What is a 'silver reagent?
regards,
Pillar Of The Community
Australia
1360 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2007  07:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Snooba to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by muckeye

What is a 'silver reagent'?


Beats me! I just looked up some information for p91 and I honestly have never tried any of these tests before!
Moderator
Coin Community SupporterSupporter!
Australia
11049 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2007  08:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
What is a 'silver reagent?

Snooba's already found that. It's apparently known as Schwerter Solution:
quote:
25 gm potassium dichromate
25 gm nitric acid

I notice the recipe doesn't mention the key missing ingredient: DHMO (also known as "water"). Presumably it's 25g of each chemical per litre of water (preferably distilled or deionised water).

This site, about halfway down the page, outlines the various colour changes this chemical combination generates with different metals.

Be aware that both pure potassium dichromate and concentrated nitric acid are hazardous chemicals (highly toxic and extremely corrosive, respectively), not the sort of things you want to be mixing up in the backyard shed by the bucketload, which is probably why they recommend buying pre-mixed stuff.

Also (since this is a coin forum) be aware that it's not the sort of thing you want to be using on coins - the combination of the scratch down to bare metal and reaction with the chemicals is not something you want to do to your coins if you have a choice. For coins, weight and specific gravity are adequate tests most of the time.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Valued Member
United States
140 Posts
 Posted 01/20/2007  7:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cecoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
i just tried the foil test. it worked on a silver bar
New Member
31 Posts
 Posted 01/24/2007  11:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add p91 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
awesome!! thank you everybody for all of this great information! I will get back to you when my test is conclusive.
New Member
31 Posts
 Posted 01/24/2007  11:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add p91 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
TLS Said
'Bite it. No wait,that Gold.'

LOL
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1494 Posts
 Posted 06/28/2007  9:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add atlashealth to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Never spit on a collectible silver coin...it will ruin its future value due to spotting...coughing sneezing even talking while handling valuable coins is strictly
forbidden.
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