Antique and vintage jewelry is a popular collectible, but many shoppers pass up great jewelry because the do not have the knowledge to know what is good. Select some silver-colored jewelry or watch for some your next trip to the flea market, garage sale or collectibles mall. Use a magnifying glass or loupe to determine characteristics and marks on the jewelry. Look for marks, usually on the inside or clasp.
If the jewelry is marked 800, it is considered coin silver, and is 80 percent silver with 20 percent alloy. Jewelry must be 0,925 to be sterling silver in the USA. Most of the newer jewelry is marked 0,925 if it is sterling silver. 0,950 is a little better quality of sterling silver, and is found in older jewelry. 0,835 is common for older European silver.
Identify Antique Vintage Sterling
Check for other marks that are numbers. If it is marked with a T number, that is recent (since 1970) silver from Mexico. It is usually marked .925 and Mexico somewhere on the piece. See if there is a country of origin in the mark. Much of the newer jewelry has a paper tag that may have been removed, but the older jewelry is stamped as to country of origin. Know the countries that produced older silver jewelry.
Silver Jewelry Content
Thailand is once again making sterling jewelry for export, but the good old jewelry is marked siam and probably sterling. Siam was the name of Thailand for a couple of eras in their history. Scandinavian countries produced great sterling silver jewelry, and David Andersen and some jewellery (English spelling used in most countries) pieces from Norway and Sweden are often enameled. They are also marked with a logo and sterling. Some sterling silver jewelry is marked plata, and this is usually old Mexican silver.