Buying sterling silver jewelry, whether it's a sterling silver pendant or a sterling silver necklace, is quite an investment that becomes more and more valuable as time passes by. Being duped into purchasing fake sterling silver is not a mistake that you can afford. Being able to identify the difference between fake sterling silver jewelry and, say real sterling silver earrings or a sterling silver necklace can save you a lot of heartache in the future.
Real 925 sterling silver jewelry consists of 92.5 percent pure silver and the rest in some kind of alloy, typically copper. This is much different from silver plated, where a layer of silver is placed over another metal or alloy, and can be scraped off or tarnished easily. There are a few steps you can take in ensuring that your sterling silver jewelry is the real thing.
The easiest test to do is to use a magnet. Attractive, shiny metals, such as silver, gold and platinum, are non-ferrous materials, meaning that they are not magnetic. Take a piece of "silver" jewelry and place it near a magnet; if it is attracted to it, then it is not sterling silver. It is stainless steel that is highly polished to look like silver.
Real 925 sterling silver jewelry typically has certain marks on it to indicate its purity. These marks include "925", ".925" or "S925", to represent the 92.5 percent pure silver that exists. If these marks are not present, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's not sterling silver. If there is an official stamp of some sort on the jewelry, then it's highly likely that it is real sterling silver.
Using a soft white cloth, rub a small part of the jewelry. If black marks appear on it, then your sterling silver pendant is true silver. This is because 925 silver oxidizes when it is exposed to air; this is the main reason why silver jewelry tarnishes over time and takes on a black tinge to it. These black marks are not likely to occur if it is not real sterling silver.
The price that you paid for your jewelry is a good indicator as to whether it's real sterling silver or not. 925 silver is much more expensive than alternatives. If the price you're paying for seems too good to be true, then it's likely that you're not purchasing real 925 sterling silver jewelry.