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3 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Sterling Silver And Silver Plate

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If you're trying to sell your silver for cash, you need to make sure that it is valuable. Sometimes it is hard to do because the silver could've been given to you as a gift. You may have also inherited this silver so you may not know if it's valuable. Here are a few ways to tell if your silver is Sterling silver.


Probably the easiest way to find out if your silver is Sterling is to check the markings on it. Sterling silver will always have the words "Sterling" on it. It is 92.5% silver and it is the purest form of silver on the market. If it doesn't have the Sterling mark, it is not Sterling silver. In contrast, silver plate has an EP or EPN S marking on it. This means that it is either brass, copper, nickel, or white metal that is simply electroplated to look like Sterling silver.

Additionally, Sterling silver may also have a 925 marking on it. 925 represents the percentage that each Sterling silver piece contains.

Testing Silver

There are two ways that you can test to see if your silver is Sterling.

Acid Test

This is the oldest method used for testing for silver. The test has two methods and should be done by a professional.

Method 1 – Silver Filing

In this method, a professional jeweler will take a filing of your silver and drop it in acid. If the acid turns brown or turns a different color than its original red, your silver is not Sterling.

Method 2 – Testing Stone

This test is sometimes preferred because it will not leave a mark on silver. For this test, the jeweler takes silver and scratches it on the testing stone. The scratch is deep on the surface of the stone so that the jeweler will obtain an accurate result. Then the jeweler drops the scratched testing stone into acid to see if it changes color.


The next way to test silver is to send it to a smelter. They will be able to tell you whether it is Sterling so you will get an accurate result. They may need to melt the silver to get an accurate result. Keep in mind that you should only use this method if you are trying to scrap your silver for money since its silver integrity may be destroyed in the smelting process.


Sterling silver lasts longer than silver plate. With good care and maintenance, Sterling silver should last forever. In contrast, silver plate only lasts at the most 20 years, depending on its care and maintenance.

With guidance from the preceding tips, you will be able to determine whether you have a Sterling silver piece. Using this information, you will be knowledgeable when you need to sell it for money. (For more information on gold and silver buyers, contact Wimpey's Pawn Shop or another establishment)