Silver is a thing of beauty. Highly polished silver gleams like moonlight. It can be used as a mirror to show your reflection. It can made into beautiful jewelry and decorative items like candlesticks and elegant flatware. It can be made into valuable coins. Silver collectors know the value of silver. If you are looking to sell antique silver or join the ranks of silver collectors, you will want to know how to determine the value of silver. In this article we will explore techniques for determining the worth of your sterling silver.
Sterling Silver vs. Pure Silver.
Sterling silver is designed to overcome that flaw. It isn’t a pure metal it is an alloy. It is a combination of pure silver and other metals like copper, zinc or nickel. This generally results in a metal that is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal. This makes the metal stronger and more useful for metal work. You might also come across items that are sterling silver plated, in which case the item is made of another metal and coated with a layer of sterling silver. That layer doesn’t last. It wears away.
There are other tests you can perform to determine if an item is sterling silver. Most precious metals, including silver, are nonmagnetic. That means that is an easy trick to identifying pure silver and sterling silver. A magnet will not be strongly attracted to pure silver. It will be attracted to the other metals in sterling silver. There is also an actual smell test that antique silver dealers know about. Since pure silver has no odor that means if you smell a metallic odor or the scent of sulfur the silver is sterling silver with other metals giving off the smell.
Which is more valuable to silver collectors?
So, understanding the difference between sterling silver and pure silver, which is more valuable? If you googled silver collectors near me and went to speak to the antique silver dealers you found in the results, what would they say? The answer isn’t simple. The fact is, pure silver is actually worth more than sterling silver because of the lesser value of the other metals that are in sterling silver. However, that is not the end of the story. The value of silver lies in what it can be made into. Pure silver is too soft to be useful when you want to make jewelry, for instance. Sterling silver is used instead. So, antique silver dealers who are looking for jewelry or other silver antiques will find value in sterling silver. For investors who are investing in silver as part of their investment portfolio, pure silver will be more valuable. The ultimate worth of your silver will depend on whether it is sterling silver antique that a collector or buyer would pay for, or whether it is pure silver bullion that is being purchased as an investment.