Silver is an incredibly popular material for use in the jewellery industry and it’s not hard to see why. But how can you tell if your jewellery is made from real sterling silver, or simply silver plated costume jewellery?

As you are likely to want to spend your money on a piece of jewellery that will last for a very long time, it’s important to know the difference between genuine sterling silver jewellery and fake silver pieces.

As we carry out jewellery repairs here at Martins of Glasgow, we’ve come across many pieces which have turned out to be nothing more than costume jewellery and the owner had no idea that their jewellery wasn’t real silver. In order to prevent this from happening to you, take a look at our short guide on how to spot real sterling silver jewellery!

What Is 925 Sterling Silver?

925 Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver which is mixed with some sort of alloy material such as copper.

This differs from silver plated pieced in which a coat of silver is used over the top of another metal. Because silver is a soft metal, this coating can be scratched off and tarnished easily, eventually exposing the metal or alloy underneath when the coating is removed.

How Can You Tell If a Piece is 925 Sterling Silver?

If you are worried about the authenticity of your “sterling silver” jewellery, there are a few warning signs that you should look out for to determine if it is fake or not.


The easiest way to test if your jewellery is really sterling silver is to get a magnet and place it next to your piece of jewellery. Metals such as gold, silver and platinum are not magnetic, so if your jewellery is attracted to the magnet, you can be sure that your piece isn’t real silver.


Another way to check is to see if there are any marks on your jewellery which relate to its purity. You should be looking for marks which say “925”, “.925” and “s925”.

These are used to represent the 92.5% of pure silver which makes up the material that your jewellery is made from. However, there are some fake pieces which will try to replicate this stamp, so it’s important that you do other tests to determine whether it is real sterling silver or not.

Cloth Test

Wiping your jewellery with a soft white cloth will tell you how pure your jewellery is. If you notice black marks appearing on the cloth after rubbing your jewellery, you can be sure that it is 925 silver.

This is because 925 silver oxidises when exposed to the air and it the reason why silver jewellery is prone to tarnishing over time and developing a dark blackish tinge.

Checking pieces for these signs is a sure way to ensure that you are investing in a real 925 sterling silver product and not settling for a fake piece of “silver” jewellery.

Here at Martins of Glasgow, our staff are on hand to ensure that your jewellery and watches are kept in prime condition. From watch and jewellery repairs to engraving and even jewellery making, we have a service for all your needs.

Contact the team today on 0141 946 6333 and we will be more than happy to help you with your enquiries. Alternatively, keep up to date with us over on social media- like us on Facebook and give us a follow on Twitter!