Three Types Of "Silver" That Jewelry Customers Need To Be Aware Of

If you have jewelry that you think is silver, and you're wondering how much you can sell it for, make sure it's real silver first. As with gold, silver can be modified and mixed with other metals to form jewelry that actually has no real silver value despite its appearance. The piece itself can look beautiful -- and you never know what value the cosmetic aspect could give the piece -- but if you're hoping for simple silver scrap value, you need to get the piece checked out before assuming you can get any money for it. Here are three types of silver that may not have such a silver lining money-wise.


Sterling silver is fused to brass to form a thicker top layer of silver than what you'd find in plating, but the majority of the inside of the piece is brass. This is a cross between silver plating and a silver alloy, though it's not really an alloy. Alloys have an even mixture of each metal throughout the piece, so the silver content at the core of the metal would be the same as the silver content near the surface of the metal; in the case of silver-filled jewelry, the silver content inside is much less than it is toward the surface of the metal.

Nickel Silver

This is not silver. It's zinc, copper, and nickel, and it just looks silvery in color. It can look quite nice, but you're not going to get any silver scrap value out of it because there's no silver in it to begin with.

X-Culture Silver

You'll find many types of silver with a cultural or national name in front of it, like Tibetan silver or Mexican silver. In some cases, this can be good -- Mexico has a long-standing and high-quality silver mining industry, for example, and if you have real Mexican silver, you likely have something very nice. But Tibetan silver, for example, is similar to nickel silver -- it just looks like silver without actually containing silver.

It's worth it to bring your silver items in to a jewelry and scrap metal buyer who can identify the metal. Go to a few to get a general idea of what you have; the last thing you want is to bring something to a buyer who isn't paying attention and who deems the item worthless, when it's really fine silver, for example. But you'll get a good idea of what you really have quickly, and you can make your decision to sell or hang onto the item with that information. For more information, contact a coin business, such as Coins Plus