Real Silver?

So many times I get asked: “Is this real silver?” So many different names.. Sterling silver, argent massif , sterling. Pure silver is a very soft metal. It needs a hardening agent – usually copper.   Internationally recognised “sterling silver” is 92.5% silver and the balance copper.   Different countries have different ways of marking and some don’t use the sterling quality –for example you will find 800 marked on German pieces for example –ie 80% silver. How do you know if a piece is silver? First look for the marks. But they can always just be a stamp… If no marks then you have trust the seller. If you are spending big money know your vendor! If you are in a market and think you have found a bargain enjoy the haggling. If the piece is too white/doesn’t have a lustre /never tarnishes then probably it isn’t silver.. but you enjoyed the haggling – right?