Weight test is the most common method silver dealers and silver investors practice to quickly verify whether the silver is real or fake. Silver weight is usually slightly heavier than the specified weight to avoid quality control rejection.
Most people might think using high precision electronic weighting scale to test is sufficient. Unfortunately that is not true.
The specification for 1 oz Canadian Maple Leaf coin weight 31.1 gram. Below there are 2 Canadian Maple Leaf 1 oz coins – one real and one fake.
The FAKE coin is weighted exactly 31.1 gram. If the person who is measuring it is not experienced enough, he would have thought this is a real Canadian Maple Leaf.
Densimeter is one of the most accurate device for measuring the purity of metal content. It can be used for measuring gold and silver purity. This is how a Densimeter looks like:
The science behind Densimeter is dividing weight (gram) by volume (cm−3). Density for pure silver is 10.49 g/cm−3. Ideally, If we take a silver item (whether coin or bar), get reading of weight and volume. Then divide weight (gram) by volume (cm−3), it should be 10.49g/cm−3.
For most people, after knowing formula for silver density, would still have problem practicing it because they will usually get stuck at measuring the volume. Densimeter is the device designed specifically to solve the measuring problem.
Densimeter In Action
The metal plate is an aluminum plate. Aluminum is a softer metal compares to silver. The reason for using aluminum is so that when silver contact with aluminum, silver would not be scratched. If there is any harsh contact between aluminum with silver, the aluminum will be scratched instead of the silver. In other word, the silver is protected from scratches.
Densimeter works by hanging the aluminum plate from top – without touching any part of the container. The weight of the aluminum plate is fully supported by the 4-leg hanger. Put the silver that you want to measure into the water. The amount of additional water volume would add extra weight to the electronic weight.
Since plain water has density of 1g/cm−3, each additional 1 gram would represents 1cm−3. The volume is represented by the weight. In other words 1g = 1cm−3
The Manual Calculation
In this experiment, the FAKE Canadian Maple Leaf has weight of 31.1 gram and volume of 3.66 cm−3. The density for the FAKE Canadian Maple Leaf is 31.1/3.66 = 8.49g/cm−3 which is far away from the expected value of 10.49g/cm−3.
While for the REAL Canadian Maple Leaf has weight of 31.2 gram and volume of 2.95 cm−3, the density for the REAL Canadian Maple Leaf is 31.2/2.95 = 10.57g/cm−3 which is very close the expected value of 10.49g/cm−3. Difference is merely 0.09. For silver, the density variance of +/- 0.3 is acceptable.
Using Density Calculator (FREE with Densimeter package)
This is a simple software known as Density Calculator. It works by using the concept of metal density. With this, the user will know the metal type base on weight and volume – without worrying the different type of complicated density as shown above.
This example shows the FAKE Canadian Maple Leaf reading. The reading for weight was 31.10 gram and volume is 3.66 gram. Only inserting two readings into the calculator, it will display a result that this is an Unknown type of metal. Hence, the software tells this is a FAKE Canadian Maple Leaf coin.
This example shows the REAL Canadian Maple Leaf reading. The reading for weight was 31.20 gram and volume is 2.95 gram. Again, by only inserting these two readings into the calculator, the software will display a result that this is .999 purity silver.
In order to demonstrate how accurate / sensitive the calculator is, the following test is done:
The test was done by adjusting the volume to 2.85 cm−3 (which is 0.1cm−3 lower than the REAL silver measurement). Upon performing the calculation, it would detect the metal as Unknown. The calculator has a range of +/- 0.3 acceptance in density. The increase or decrease of 0.1cm−3 in volume would lead to 0.37 change in density, therefore it would not be recognized as .999 silver. This test shows the density calculator has high accuracy and high sensitivity.
With this easy to use Densimeter and Density Calculator, every precious metal investor can measure the purity of silver (and gold) easily at home!
Click here to watch a video tutorial how to use Densimeter to test gold and silver purity.
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