Seeking The Sterling Truth? What You Should Know When Selling Silver

Most people are familiar with the current high value of gold, but not as many people are aware of the fact that selling your silver to a local gold and silver buyers can also be an excellent way to earn some extra money. Silver values are on the rise, with early 2015 values spiking up 9.8 percent. This can be a good time to sell your extra silver jewelry, but first you need to know a bit more about how to recognize what you actually have.

Recognizing Plated Silver

There are many pieces of jewelry and decorative items that look like they're pure silver, but are in fact only silver plated. Silver plated items are typically made from a base metal such as copper, brass, or nickel. They are then coated in a thin layer of sterling silver.

If you have plated silver, it may be unmarked. Alternatively, it may have either of the following markings:

  • EP: This stands for "Electroplated," meaning that it is an unspecified base metal with a layer of sterling silver plate.
  • EPNS: This stands for "Electroplated Nickel Silver," and indicates that the base metal is nickel. It has a layer of sterling plate.

Plated silver items are not normally worth money at a gold and silver buyers due to the small amount of genuine silver that they contain. There may be exceptions for antique pieces or very unusual items, however. If you think the item may have an intrinsic value due to age or uniqueness, have it evaluated separately from any scrap silver that you plan to sell.

Recognizing Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is usually very easy to identify thanks to its markings. Typically, it will have a "92.5" marking. This indicates that the metal is composed of 92.5 percent genuine silver. The other 7.5 percent is a base metal like copper, or a combination of base metals.

More rarely, sterling silver may be marked with a "Sterling" mark. This is more common in large decorative pieces such as platters or other tableware. If a piece has the Sterling mark, it must be at least 92.5 percent pure silver.

Recognizing a Good Offer

Knowing a good offer when you hear it can be difficult if you don't have some idea of the current value of silver. Keep track of the spot charts on the Internet. The current price per ounce on the spot charts can give you an idea of how much silver should be worth.

Naturally, your gold and silver buyers have to make money, so they won't offer you the full spot price. However, you should try to aim for as close to the spot price as you can get. Watching the spot price charts can also let you know when silver prices spike, and thus when the ideal time to sell would be. If you have some genuine silver, you have some money. You just need to take it to a gold and silver buyers to convert it into cold hard cash!