Silver ore can be identified in the field by evaluating the physical properties of the suspected sample or by submerging it in water. It is also identified by examining the other minerals found around the suspected ore deposit.
Examining the physical properties of the suspected silver ore can lead to discerning the true identity of the mineral. Silver ore is heavy, malleable and sectile. In other words, the mineral can be forced out of its original shape and cut into pieces.
Silver ore is very rarely found isolated in individual nuggets of pure silver. It is much more common for silver ore to be found fused with other minerals such as sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine. Because of this, it is helpful to quickly and efficiently test to see if a rock may have elements of silver ore trapped inside. This is done by heating the rock and submerging it in water. If metals float to the surface in the form of dark grime, then silver ore could be present in the rock.
Additionally, because it is rarely found by itself in nature, keeping an eye out for certain minerals that tend to accompany silver can also help in finding and identifying the ore. Mineral deposits commonly found to contain silver ore are quartz and lead.