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How To Tell If Silver Is Real

June 12, 2015 0 Comments

Fake Silver Panda

This is an extremely common question that we receive here at Golden Eagle. Ultimately, the final test we use to determine if a piece of silver is real or not is running it through our Thermo Scientific XRF Metal Alloy Xray Analyzer. Obviously, since this machine is very expensive the majority of consumers won’t have access to it. Below we’re going to show you a couple of quick ways to test whether the silver you bought is real or not.

The Magnet Test

The magnet test is the quickest way to weed out whether a piece of silver is real or fake. It shouldn’t be the only test you use, but it should be the first.

The reason for this test is that silver is diamagnetic. This roughly means that it is partially magnetic. A strong neodymium magnet will not “stick” to the silver bar, but it will interact with it. Other metals, such as lead are considered non-magnetic, but like silver they slightly interact with magnets, just on a much smaller scale.

So if you test a silver coin with a magnet and it sticks, then it is most definitely a counterfeit. The reason though that this test cannot be trusted completely is that many times, fake coins and bars will be filled with lead or copper but will have a thin surface layer of silver.

The Ping Test

Silver has a very specific, resonating sound when it is tapped. To get technical, the frequency the silver should make upon being struck is 6145 Hz. But to the normal person’s ear, it should sound like the ringing sustains for a few seconds after it’s struck.

When you do the ping test on a piece of counterfeit silver, it will sound dead, or “flat.” The sound will die off much more quickly than the sound of silver with its full sustain.

The Ice Test

Put simply, a piece of ice placed on a silver bar or coin will melt considerably faster than a piece of ice placed on the table. This is because silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal (it also has the highest electrical conductivity of any metal).

While all these tests alone, or even in conjunction can’t guarantee you against a counterfeit silver coin or bar, they are a great place to start and highly increase your chances of owning a legitimate silver product.

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