Most of the sterling silver silver sold on eBay is from Indian origin. You will find it offered mostly as auctions with starting bids ranging from $0.99 to $9.99. It is sold by small to very large eBay sellers, selling up $30K-$50K a week. Indian made sterling silver is very attractive for sellers on eBay as it is commodity jewelry sold at wholesale in bulk by the gram as opposed to by the piece.
In the last year, the industry has been strongly affected by the price increase of raw silver, now hovering at around $1.30/gr. Sellers cannot control the end price of auctions, and while costs have risen 2-fold, the average winning bid of a silver jewelry auction listing is the *same* as it was 2 years ago! (as per Terapeak). So, in order to stay profitable these sellers are now flooding eBay with 40%-60% **diluted** silver jewelry. Insidiously, this jewelry is nevertheless stamped 925 and marketed as sterling silver. YOU CAN NO LONGER ACCEPT THE 925 STAMP AS PROOF OF SILVER PURITY!
How do you recognize these sellers? Unfortunately, it is difficult. You can't tell from the color of the metal, or the touch. You will know after the item tarnishes, it is very difficult to make low-grade silver shine again, but of course by then it is too late already.
The above items are indications but not conclusive by any means nor does the absence of any prove genuine sterling. The only sure way to find out is after the fact, by testing your purchase with a silver acid test. Google 'silver acid test' or buy them cheaply on eBay for as little as $5. One little bottle is enough for hundreds of tests, they are very easy to use and safe! It is a small price to pay to protect yourself.
The writer of this guide manufactures sterling silver jewelry in Bali. We do not sell silver acid tests but we will be happy to direct you to the appropriate vendors.
PS If you found this guide useful, please consider voting for it. Higher visibility will warn more buyers of this practice.