Frequently Answered Questions

How can I test/identify silver myself?

There are a number of tests you can do depending on the form and what's at hand:

  • Pass a magnet over the silver. It should not be attracted to the magnet.

  • File a small V in your silver. It should be shiny inside too, else it could be plated.

  • Flatten a small piece with a hammer. Silver is quite soft and malleable.

  • Use an Ohm-meter. Silver is highly conductive.

  • Silver melts at a lower temperature than Cupronickel.

  • Pure silver is very shiny (unless tarnished).

  • A silver test solution can differentiate between silver, gold and copper alloys. Contact us for more details.

  • Feel and intuition. If you handle silver a lot, you will intuitively learn it's density, the sound it makes when dropped, and it's heat conductivity. Walk around with a silver coin in your pocket for a month.

How can I tell a fake gold/silver coin?

The best way is to get to know the real thing. Buy from a reputable source and use this as a comparison coin. The more you handle and look at it, the better you will get to know it. The main tests you will need are:

  • Inspect it. If you know what the real one looks like, a careful comparison will show up a fake. Sometimes you will see "Reproduction" in small print. A large supply of a certain year and same worn condition is also a giveaway as fake as they're all likely to be minted on the same die.

  • Test the weight. A .999 fine silver coin weighs 1 troy ounce (31.1g). A cupro-nickel coin of the same diameter will weigh about 28g. A Kruggerand will weigh 1.09oz (33.93g) as it contains additional copper. It is very difficult for a counterfeiter to produce an alloy of the same density as gold or silver. Apparently platinum was once used in counterweights of gold because of it's density; that is until platinum exceeded gold in price.
  • Look at the edge. Most coins have reeding (fine bars) or a specific number. You don't have to count the reeds but should be able to tell by sight if there are too many or too few. Some fakes will have the reeding missing altogether, or if cast there will be a casting seem which may have been filed away.

  • Look at the surface. Unless it is plated, silver and gold coins have a distinctive sheen. Silver is the most reflective element.

  • Magnify it. 10x magnification should be sufficient. Fake coins with silver plating may show up area's where the plating failed to fill in spots and crevasses, or just looks wrong.

  • Ring it. Balance the coin on your finger and tap it with a pen or another coin. Silver has a specific resonant ring which you will recognize.

  • Feel it's density. Silver and especially gold are dense. You will learn to recognize this by hand. When comparing to a reference coin, weigh the density in your hand, then put it down and do the same with the real coin WITH THE SAME HAND. The same hand has a memory because you're using the same muscles.

Can you supply silver granules in Sterling (.925) Silver?

Absolutely. If you're interested, please contact us.

Should I rather get Sterling Silver (.925)?

That's up to you. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure with the balance usually being copper. This makes sterling silver more durable for applications such as jewelry, silverware and coinage. If you are going to have your silver made into something, this may be better. Investment silver however is usually bought in the purist form available (.999 Fine or better).

Can you supply granules in gold, platinum or palladium?

No. Under South African law, these metals are restricted and you cannot own them in any unwrought form.


© 2011 - 2014 - Fine 999 - Gold and Silver