There are lots of ways to gauge the authenticity of silver. Some of which are the specific gravity test and the density test. You can also opt to bringing your ‘silver’ piece in a lab, have them melt it, and then assayed, which is obviously not a good option if you want your item to remain intact. On the other hand, the fastest, most commonly used and the easiest to perform too (anyone can actually perform this test as long as the directions are clearly followed) is the Silver Acid Test.
The Silver Acid Test is done by using a silver acid test kit. These test kits are readily available in the market. Try your local jewelry shops or try searching for it online, we’re sure you’ll find a reputable source easily.
The composition of a silver acid test kit is mostly nitric acid. As such, you must prepare yourself for the possible result especially when it turns out that your item isn’t really silver, as this could badly damage your item.
How to test your silver piece using the Silver Acid Test
First and foremost, you have to make a scratch on an inconspicuous spot of your jewelry using a file or a needle (you may also want to purchase it together with the silver acid test kit).
Then, using the dropper found in your silver acid test kit, place a drop of the acid on the scratch you created. Within a few seconds, you’ll be able to observe the changes on the area you tested.
The color that appears will indicate the silver content of your item. More often than not, the silver acid test kit comes with a color chart which could aid in your interpretation. Be informed though, that the color that results from the test is not a definite guide, as different silver acid test solutions could have different chemical reactions which in turn could lead to different outcomes in terms of color.
Tips in relation to the Silver Acid Test
- Even without the drop of acid, you might be able to tell whether the ‘silver’ piece you are testing is made of pure silver. A slight scratch or nick can already reveal what lies underneath. If it’s not silver, then you have the right to doubt.
- If your item turns out to be solid silver, you can easily buff back the filing spot you have created to its original state.
- The chemical reaction from the silver acid test usually shows in just about 30 seconds.
- Make sure that your silver acid test kit is fresh; there would be no chemical reaction at all whether if your item is truly silver or not if you’re using a stale silver acid test kit.
- As with other chemicals, make sure to observe proper precautions as the silver acid test kit contains chemicals which are harmful to your body.