The number 935 represents how much silver is contained in a silver compound. 935 Silver has to contain 93.5% silver to get its name. In the U.S., silver has to be at least 92.5% pure silver in order to be considered sterling silver and given a hallmark, like this Sterling Silver Roman Coin Necklace. 935 silver is therefore real silver in a purer form than 925 silver.
Pure silver is extremely soft and breaks easily. Therefore, it can’t be used to create jewelry without being added to another compound. Copper is often added to make the compound up to 100% as this hardens the material and makes it more durable and easier to make into jewelry, like these Sterling Silver Diamond Cushion Studs.
Not all silver is pure enough to gain a hallmark. Silver plating is often used to keep the price of the jewelry down or to make unscrupulous jewelry makers a bigger profit. How do you test whether the silver you bought is real silver, a piece that contains a smaller amount of silver, or even just a silver coloring?
Check the Label
In most countries, silver will have a hallmark if it is pure enough. It will say sterling or ster or may contain the numbers 925 or 935 to represent the purity of the silver. 935 Silver often contains an eagle hallmark, too. Be careful when buying silver from other countries as different countries have different ideas about the percentage of silver an item needs to contain to get a hallmark. In some countries, therefore, a hallmarked piece of jewelry will contain around 80% silver and still get a hallmark from the country that produced it.
Ice Cube Test
Once you have brought the silver, you can carry out the ice cube test. Place a piece of ice on the silver and a piece of ice on something you know not to be silver. Real silver will have a higher thermal conductivity than other metals so the ice cube on the piece of silver should melt more quickly. If it does not, you know your item contains a lower quantity of silver.
If you put a drop of bleach on genuine silver, you will see the item tarnish almost immediately. This is because bleach hastens the oxidation process. This is what you see in older silver that is often tarnished. This test can also work on silver plated jewelry if it contains enough silver plating, so it may not be the best test to use if you are concerned that your item could be silver plated rather than genuine silver. However, it is a good test if you think your silver could be a different metal entirely as it will not tarnish immediately. If your item is genuine silver, you can polish it to recover the original shine.
Use a magnet to carry out a test. Silver is paramagnetic so it will only display a very weak reaction to a magnet. Use a magnet made of neodymium to achieve the most accurate results. You should be able to slide the magnet up and down the silver item easily. If you can’t or you can feel a pull from the magnet, you know your item is not real silver.
Change in Skin Tone
Wearing silver should not make your skin stain or change color. Sometimes you wear a piece of jewelry that leaves behind a greenish tinge on your skin. This is caused by the copper in the metal, which oxidizes and creates copper salts by reacting to your sweat, oils, or the lotion on your skin. This proves that there is a high copper content in the metal and not enough silver to be classified as real silver.
Read the Online Reviews
The best place to check whether a company is selling genuine silver is by looking at the online reviews about them. Customers are likely to make it known if they are not happy with a product or doubt that it is the genuine article. Pay attention to these reviews, especially if you are buying from a company that isn’t known to you. Reputation is everything to a company. If you are in doubt, you can always request authenticity certificates for the items you are buying.
935 is classified as real silver and is a purer form of silver that is needed to earn the relevant hallmark in most countries. If you have any doubt, follow these testing methods to make sure you have bought real silver and aren’t being misinformed.