Silver being one of the first metals used by human was first the first metal smelted from ore. It’s used dates back to ancient Egyptian empire and was forged into domestic utensils, buttons, horse trapping s, boxes, jewelry and etc. Pure silver is as soft as gold that’s why usually alloyed with copper to straighten its strength and can be used for the making of utensils and other items. Without addition of alloy it would melt because of its softness. Fine silver is almost 999/1000 percent pure but it is too soft to make jewelry out of it thus a metal is added into silver. But anything called silver or sterling silver (which has 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent metal in it) is pure silver.
Tips to determine purity of silver
Stamps on silver
Recently stamps have been put on silver purity level. T100 means 100 percent purity, B1 means 70 percent purity and B2 means 50 percent purity. Purity of silver is as important as to check purity of gold. Following are simplest ways to determine silver purity.
Black stone method:
One the most popular method of determining silver purity is black stone method which is not scientific methods but still used as to check the purity. According to this method on rubbing piece of silver under an examination on a piece of stone, change in degree of color of a silver gives idea of its purity.
Laborites’ are equipped with instruments who check purity of jewelry but silver is alloyed with metal can give wrong result. Thus laboratory test should not be first choice.
Acid test is the best scientific method to test silver purity because every metal will be melted in acid but silver is acid proof. Thus if a silver jewelry does not melt it indicates its purity.
Level of brown-ness in acid
Another way is to check level of brown-ness of acid in which silver is dipped. But this method is not convenient to every consumer so it can be used in laboratories. But the best way is acid testing method.
Apart from these, there are plenty of purity detection laboratories too, these labs are equipped with all modern devices and instruments, the main problem with these labs are that it is quite difficult to measure the purity of samples of jewelry with intricate craft-man ship and lots of alloys. Labs are therefore a second preference in most cases. In case of any such difficulties, the acid test is supposed to be the best help, mainly because though all the other materials in an alloy will melt in acid, silver will not. Another very popular way to test the purity of silver is an analysis of the level of brownness in the acid in which silver has been dipped. Fraud however is not detectable by this method, because obviously, this method cannot be used by customers at all times.
The main World standard of fineness for silver products is sterling, or standard silver. The term sterling owes its origin to the British currency standard, which in turn comes from the term ‘Osterling silver’, as originally produced by the Osterling of Germany. Sterling silver has a specific gravity of 10.3. Sterling silver is not pure enough to take vitreous enamels well and the higher Britannia silver quality of 95.84% is often used for this. Some other countries have lower silver standards of 80% and 83%.