Whether you're sporting a sapphire skull, a dragon, or some other cool motif, you want your silver keychain to make a statement.
But are you sure it's really silver?
If you bought your keychain from an unreliable source, you may have been told it was silver when it may be something else altogether.
Unless you've got an experienced eye that can pick out quality silver, you might have been taken.
So how can you tell if your keychain is the real deal? Read on to find out.
Ways to Test the Quality of Your Silver Keychain
There are a few ways you can determine the quality of silver. We've created this list to start with some of the easier tests and then move into more difficult tests as you continue reading.
But none of them are really too difficult.
1. Check the Markings
This is the most obvious place to start because silver usually has a marking that shows the percentage of silver present in the metal that you own.
For example, you might see a 975. This means that the metal is 97.5% silver. Or you may see something that says, "Sterling .925." In this case, it's 92.5% silver. (Sterling silver is defined as silver that is above 92.5% silver.)
It's not always easy to see with the naked eye, so you may want to get a magnifying glass to find them. They can be really small.
But if you can't find any markings, that doesn't mean it's not real silver. Move on to one of the following tests before you abandon ship.
2. Magnet Test
This is one of the easiest ways to test for purity.
Silver is not magnetic. So you need only to place a strong magnet on your keychain and then tip it onto its side. If the keychain should slide off easily. If it sticks, then you've got yourself a counterfeit.
But even if it does slide off, you're not quite done yet. Some base metals used in counterfeiting are also not magnetic, so you'll want to test some more.
3. Thermal Conductivity Test
Silver is one of the best conductors of thermal energy. That means it's able to quickly transfer heat.
So if you place an ice cube on silver, it will begin to melt quickly because of that heat transfer. If you hold your silver keychain between your fingers or in the palm of your hand, the results are even more noticeable as the silver rapidly cools to your touch.
This test is very simple, but you may not see such immediate results with your keychain. It's much more effective when you're trying to find the purity of flat-surfaced silver - such as in bullions, bars, coins or ingots.
4. Density Test
One of the best ways to spot pure silver is to measure its density. This one is more involved and difficult than the previous tests but will give you a more definitive answer.
The density is its weight divided by its volume. The purer your silver is, the closer it will be to the common density of silver.
If you're choosing to find the density of your silver keychain, you'll need to understand a few things.
Measuring density starts with getting two measurements.
The first measurement will be the weight of your silver keychain. To get this number as accurate as possible, you'll need to weigh the silver on a scale that can weigh in grams.
The second measurement you need is the volume of your silver keychain. All you need here is a container of water that is able to measure volume.
Fill up the container with water to a precise amount and take note of that amount. Then add the silver. By how much did the volume increase? That's the volume of your silver.
Then you take the weight and divide it by the volume. Silver has a density of 10.49 g?cm-3, so the closer you are to that number, the purer your silver keychain is.
Silver is rarely found in its purest form though. Look for a range of values from 10 to 12.
If your number isn't close, don't immediately assume the worst. Remember, mistakes could have been made in calculations. Be sure to run this test at least twice.
And if you're still feeling frustrated, it might be time to invest in a little more testing.
5. Electronic Test
An electronic tester will take the guesswork out of the equation.
Electronic testers are created to handle precious metals like gold and silver and can quickly help you discern what kind of purity you have with the silver in your keychain.
The main thing here is to be sure you're buying your electronic tester from a reputable source. After all, you'll be using it to confirm the purity of your silver keychain, so you want it to be accurate. Do the research to find the best models.
Having an electronic tester around can quickly and easily remove any doubts you might have about your silver keychain. It could also come in handy if you plan on purchasing more silver - or any other precious metal - in the future and want to ensure that you haven't been swindled.
6. Acid Test
This is another very simple test. And definitely less expensive than an electric tester.
You can purchase an inexpensive acid test kit for your silver keychain. If the color changes when you put a drop of this acid on it, then you know your silver is genuine.
The test solution will yield the following colors for each metal:
- Bright Red for Fine Silver (.999)
- Dark Red for Silver 925
- Brown for Silver 800
- Green for Silver 500
The huge caveat with acid testing is the possibility that your keychain will be permanently discolored. Acids need to be handled very carefully.
It's is best to use acid testing sparingly and with caution.
Show Off Your Silver with Confidence
The truth is that there's no metal that shares a similar density to silver. This makes it much more difficult to make good counterfeits than with gold or some other precious metal.
But you still want to be sure that your silver keychain is the real thing. Especially since you paid for real silver. That should be exactly what you have.
If you want to be assured that you're getting only the finest in pure quality silver, be sure to shop for silver keychains at our online store.