For over six thousand years, silver has been used as a jewelry material across the globe. Even today, silver jewelry is still popular because it’s affordable, comes in many unique designs, and is durable. Sterling silver rings are more favored and well-liked. A silver ring can be used as an engagement ring, or for decoration and beauty purposes.
Whenever you’re buying silver jewelry, the following tips will help you pick the best unique pieces of handcrafted silver jewelry.
1. Price Is a Major Telling Point
When looking for unique pieces of jewelry, you shouldn’t jump on the best deal that offers the lowest prices. Although silver rings are affordable, too-good-to-be-true prices may indicate poor quality at best or fake silver at the worst. It’s wise to compare prices to establish the current market price of a silver ring. You don’t want to buy a silver ring on the cheap and end up with a silver-coated nickel ring. To avoid such an embarrassing situation, it’s best to do a price comparison before buying your silver jewelry. This will give you a good idea of what is a good discount, and what offers to steer clear of.
2. Your Ideal Online Seller Should Also Have a Physical Store You Can Visit
With the mushrooming of online jewelry dealers, you may have a tough time filtering through thousands of online sellers. Because it’s hard to authenticate the quality of silver jewelry online, you can only trust that your seller will deliver the promised quality. Serious and authentic jewelry dealers will also have an established physical store that you can visit. These are the type of dealers that can back up the quality of their jewelry by having refund and exchange policies in place. For instance, if you bought a silver ring from an online dealer, but the ring didn’t fit well, you can visit their physical shop for an exchange. Before you purchase your jewelry online, confirm that the dealer has an established physical location.
3. Perform Minor Physical Tests to Guarantee Authenticity
There’re two common tests that you can use to ascertain the authenticity of your silver jewelry–using a magnet, rubbing with a clean white cloth, and through an odor test. Most dealers will have no problem with you performing the tests before you purchase because they don’t harm the jewelry at all. Others will willingly help you along.
Let’s explore some of the common silver-testing methods.
- Using a strong magnet- Locate a magnet near the silver ring, and see if the ring latches onto the magnet. Silver is non-magnetic. So, if the silver ring sticks to the magnet, it’s likely to be silver-coated nickel or another type of metal.
- Rubbing with a clean white cloth – When genuine silver is exposed to air, it oxidizes and forms a black residue on the surface. When you rub a silver ring with a clean white cloth, you should be able to observe these black marks on your cloth if the silver is of excellent quality.
- Odor test- Because sterling silver is odorless, smelling your silver ring for an odor will tell you if it’s real silver or silver-plated. If you can smell a metallic fragrance like sulfur, your jewelry may not be pure silver.
4. Look for Authentication Hallmarks
The composition of sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% metal alloy. This is what informs the hallmarks, which are discreetly engraved in silver jewelry as 92.5, .925 or 925. If you can’t locate this marking anywhere on the ring, it’s probably not made of pure silver. Other silver rings may have the marking–STERLING. Stay clear of the rings marked EPNS. These are electroplated nickel silver rings, which are nothing like real silver rings.
When buying silver jewelry, it’s easy to buy counterfeit pieces that can easily pass as pure silver to an unsuspecting eye. However, the above-discussed tips should help you authenticate real sterling silver rings from the silver-coated nickel rings and fake silver. When you buy your silver jewelry from a trusted and reputable store, you’ll be guaranteed that you’re buying genuine silver rings.