How to Verify Real Silver

How to Verify Real Silver

One of the common “fear factor” for novice investors is to identify whether a silver bar or silver coin is genuine or fake. No one wants to be cheated. Verifying your silver is very important especially when you are first time dealing with a particular seller. You want to test the seller’s silver to ensure his source is genuine so that you can continue buying from him in the future with confidence. Of course, you should not tell your seller up front that you are going to test his silver at particular transaction. You do not want your seller to only supply you real silver at particular transaction and supply you with fake silver once you have put your guard down.

In the Internet (such as Youtube), there are a lot of creative methods that teach you how to verify real silver. Methods including hearing the “ding!” sound when you hit one silver with another. Another one is testing the resistant level when you slide your silver through a magnet. There could be even more innovative (and funnier) methods to check your silver but I doubt how accurate the methods are. Although the reported fake silver in Malaysia has not been an alarming state, as a silver investor you want to be safe rather than sorry. Below are several reliable methods to check your silver.

Digital Scale

This is the most common method a professional silver seller would use. A pocket size digital would cost less than RM100. If you are serious about silver investment, invest one unit for yourself. Buy one digital scale that can weight in both gram mode and in ounce mode. For an 1oz coin or bar, it is acceptable to have +/-0.01oz when you are weighting your silver. Here are some examples:

Ounce mode:1 oz American Silver Eagle weighted on a digital scale has 0.001 oz accuracy

Gram mode: 1 oz American Buffalo weighted on a digital scale has 0.1g accuracy

You can purchase a digital weight scale from: Gold Silver Tools

Digital Caliper

You can also use a digital caliper to measure the size of your silver. A digital caliper would cost less than RM100. Depending the specification of the silver you are buying, each design would have different specification. For example, American Silver Eagle coin would have a standard diameter of 40.60 mm. For Canada Maple Leaf coin, the standard diameter is 38 mm. Find out the specification of the silver you are buying, ensure the size of you silver has the same measurement with the specified standard size.

An example of digital caliper measuring Canadian Maple Leaf with 38.00mm diameter

You can purchase a digital caliper from: Gold Silver Tools

Water Density Test

One of the most reliable ways# to determine silver purity is to measure it’s density – weight divided by its volume. Obviously, the purer your silver is, the closer it will be to the common density of silver, which is 10.49 g/cm3.Measuring density will actually require two measurements: the weight and volumn. (Now you know why I recommend you buy a digital scale that can weight both gram and ounce.) For volumn, you can get the reading by filling up a container of water (that measures volume) to a precise point. Take note of the volume of water, and then add the silver. See how much did the volume increase by. That’s the volume of your silver.Now, use the weight (in gram) divided by volume (in cm3). Silver has a density of 10.49 g/cm3. You might not be able to get the exact reading, but the closer, the better. Mistakes could have been made throughout the process. Make sure to try again at least 3 times to get an average reading.

(Update 17 June 2012: This is how Densimeter works. Click here.)

This is a sample chapter from eBook titled Practical Guide for: Investing Silver in Malaysia. Download the full version

4 thoughts on “How to Verify Real Silver

  1. As posted in forum.lowyat.net. Why the hanger in weighting the volume of the silver? Cant it just simply be on the water container in the water. Why do we need the hanger?

    • Hi Hamsom, the reason why we need to use a hanger is to support the weight of the silver. The weight of the silver should not directly hit the scale because in this exercise we are trying to measure the additional weight of water, which can be translated into the volume of the piece of silver.
      Please take a look at this illustration for more detailed explaination:
      http://goldsilvertools.com/densimeter

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