How can I identify silver markings and stampings?


Quick Answer

Locate silver markings by simply looking at the inside or back of the piece of jewelry you are trying to identify. Most, if not all, silver is marked with the grade of silver from which it is made. The most common marking is .925; some silver is more pure and has a .999 marking.

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Full Answer

If you are trying to identify silver on an antique piece and are interested in determining the country from which the piece originated, there are a few reliable websites that provide that information. These sites also allow you to search their catalog for specific markings. Sterling silver from the U.S. generally has the "sterling" mark, while other countries typically have pictorial stamps, such as a lion. Again, there are many types of silver markings to distinguish silver plating from sterling and pure silver. In addition to determining the amount of silver contained within the piece and where it was manufactured or handmade, there are also markers that establish who the craftsman was if the piece was handmade by a skilled craftsman. In newer pieces of silver, this marking may be absent from silver pieces unless it happens to have been created by a famous and well sought-after silversmith.

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