How to Tell If a Silver Ring Is Real

Is that silver or just a wolf in expensive clothing?

Photo: Vincent Le Prince/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Silver can add an almost-indecent amount of cute to any outfit -- and you can dress it up or leave it nice and casual. Trouble is, such a popular metal has lots of imitators -- think Elvis. Unless you want your silver ring to be akin to an aging lounge singer in a rented, spangled white suit, check to see if it's legit. You'll be able to take care of your silver the right way once you know that it's real. Besides that, a girl should know the value of her accessories -- you never know when someone'll ask what you're wearing.


Open your peepers and examine the metal. Real silver -- if it's sold in the United States -- has a maker's mark that tells you how much real silver is in the metal. It's like a label on a designer bag. It lets you know that you're getting the real thing. If it says .925, for example, it means the metal is 92.5 percent silver. The rest? Just metal blended in to make the piece stronger.


Find a magnet -- it shouldn't be too hard. Look on your fridge or pop by the hardware store and ask the cute clerk to help you find a good magnet. Silver -- like gold -- isn't magnetic. Lots of silver imitators are magnetic, though, so you can ferret them out if they clink against the magnet.


Take a closer look at the edges of the piece that caught your interest. A silver polish or plating might rub away to reveal another color underneath -- copper or a darker silver. Real silver doesn't start to fade at the edges. It does, unlike faux silver, tarnish. If a piece is tarnishing, you'll know you've got silver on your hands. So clean it up, fast.


Consider the price. Real silver isn't going to sell for $1 or $5 -- it's an expensive, precious metal that can command much more money than a cheap imitation. A smart fashionista knows a bargain when she sees one but also calls out a salesperson trying to pass off cheap goods as the real deal.


Make a date -- not literally, unless you're into that -- with a jeweler. He'll be able to run a test and see if your piece is real silver. If you go in and ask nicely, he'll probably do it for free and, at the most, you'll have to pay a very small charge.

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