“I am looking to sell an unmarked antique sterling silver tea set. How do I find out if it’s sterling silver? I got it from my grandmother who says it’s real. From Ashley in Pelham, Georgia”
Thanks for the inquiry about your grandmother’s antique Silver Tea Set. Some older Sterling Silver Serving Sets will sometimes have a number i.e., 925 or 825 which prove authenticity, however, some pieces may have no indication at all especially if they are very old or are made in different countries that may have their own markings.
The easiest and quickest way to determine if it is sterling silver at home is through the sterling silver magnet test. Take a magnet and press it against your tea set, if the magnet sticks then the tea set is not made of sterling silver. Though the magnet test is not infallible, it does offer a broader idea of whether your sterling silver set is authentic or plated silver. If it determined to be plated silver it will have little to no precious metal value and is not worth refining.
However, if it does not stick that does NOT mean 100% that you have sterling. There are some acid tests out there that can indicate sterling, but these can be unreliable and degrade the piece if too much acid is used. Some jewelers may be able to help if you bring in your pieces, they may even offer you a price for them for the silver content, but we would recommend shopping around and seeing what Arch can offer you.
If you have a small piece, you can send it in and we can test it for you. Once we let you know what you have, you will have the option of sending the rest or we will send your piece back to you (we do not pay shipping).
Hope that sheds some light on your antique Sterling Silver Tea Set. Here is our packing slip should you decide to sell or have us test a piece of your set: Arch Enterprise Packing Slip
Best of luck!
*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.