distinguishing plate silver from solid silver

Looking at some old silverware I see a mark of "silver nickel". One says "solid silver nickel".
I am guessing that "solid silver nickel" means 85% silver and 15%
nickel.
Does anyone know of a easy, quick test to tell one whether the item is silver plate or solid silver? Most of the old silverware have markings worn off. Is there a test of corrosion, that if you see a corrosion spot means plated?
I suppose the weighing of a known silver knife against a suspect silver knife balance-beam scale and then plunge the balance beam under water and if not balanced while under water indicates the suspect is plated.
Is there a sound test?
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Simply take a piece of emery cloth to a piece of it, and see if the base metal is still silver, or something else. Silver plate is normally quite thin.
Marshall
Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

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Marshall Dudley wrote:

What happens if base is nickel or some steel. I hate to rely on my eyesight to look for a layering.
I would think that a weight or density test is the most efficient. Sort of like a long test tube that will accomodate a knife of spoon or fork with gradations on it partially filled with water. Then drop the knife moving up the water so as to get a precise reading of volume. So then I have a volume measure. Next I precisely weigh the knife, spoon or fork. And with the combination of volume and weight I should be able to say what percentage of silver in the entire item. Silver plating should read about the same or a tiny bit higher than stainless steel. Silver is about twice the density of its base metals --- copper, nickel, iron, zinc, chromium.
So my opinion is that a setup of a precise weighing scale and a gradation testtube looking vessel that can quickly determine the volume of the item, and combining the weight and volume to arrive at a density. So if there is a sizeable amount of silver the density will evince it.
I wonder if it is financially feasible to recover the silver on silver plating? At what price of spot silver, which is currently about $6.80 oz. is it rewarding to melt down silver plating for its silver? And I wonder about the esthetics of silver plating, just as goldplating, that it is not worth the time to ever make plated items. Sort of like a jewelry pollution and art form of deceiving people. Why ever bother to plate any silver and perhaps it was a form of "art pollution" of the past. And so maybe it is best to someday melt down all silver plating and get rid of the stuff and make a law against silver plating for flatware.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

Then expose to an organic sulfur compound, such as hydrogen sulfide and look for tarnish. Simply wrap it up with a hard boiled egg yoke, and let sit a day.

That will work as well, especially if you know the base plate and have the equipment for the measurements.

I think you will find there is insufficient silver in plating to make it worthwhile. Why make a law against it? It harms no one, and the silver plating is quite effective in killing any bacteria so can be a plus.
Marshall

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Marshall Dudley wrote: (most snipped)

Thanks for the information, Marshall. I am going ahead with a table set aside with beakers and a measuring stick alongside so as to obtain a volume. Where I submerge the item in water and measure the volume of the item. Then I measure the weight to fine accuracy. Then I divide and end up with a accurate density. If the item contains alot of silver it should be so much more dense then copper, iron, nickel, chromium, zinc.
I want to get used to this practice because I want to test gold items such as rings. Because of plating there can be 14k solid gold but also 14K plating. And when I get used to this practice I expect I can skip the volume calculation and from the weight measure alone determine that it is solid silver or solid gold. And I think that some sterling silver knife handles are hollow which may throw off the volume measure.
I should be able to discern whether it is solid silver or sold gold just from the feel or weight. I can tell immediately whether glass is crystal or not crystal from its weight density but for some reason I can not tell whether a spoon, knife or ring are solid silver or gold. Perhaps there is not enough weight in a spoon or ring but enough in a crystal vase.
Marshall, I am somewhat skeptical of the claim of silver being a bacteria-cide. I have heard of this claim but wonder if it is a general bacteria-cide or whether it kills only a few species. I question and wonder how it works? And why just bacteria, why not viruses? And I am skeptical if silver kills bacteria that somehow it is harmful to humans. Skeptical in that silver is a rare element and not normally enter the human food intake, so if the eating utensils are of silver that would be a huge influx of silver into the human body that normally never got in before. Perhaps silver is somewhat like vaseline a benign substance to the human body and inert. I think detailed research as to whether silver is good or harmful in large quantity such as eating from silverware that gets into the human body has never really been thoroughly investigated. The human body needs iron and so flatware of stainless steel should be appropriate, and even there whether humans get too much chromium from stainless steel into their bodies is another call for research. While on this subject, I even question whether the teflon coated pans are safe over long periods of use in that the teflon getting into the human body. But perhaps teflon is as safe as vaseline is safe and benign.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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I did some searching on the Internet to see if anyone outlines how silver can be an antimicrobial. As I suspected, I found none because of a huge amount of chatter of "medical application". The interface of making money versus the posts of "pure science". Ads versus science and too bad that ads outnumber the basic science.
If I had an educated guess for the mechanism would be what Marshall wrote about silver corroding in contact with sulfur. So that silver acts as a sponge and sponges away the sulfur in bacteria leaving them to die. So that any bacteria that require sulfur would be killed on exposure to elemental-silver. But virus do not require sulfur, I hazard to guess and so silver is not a viricide. But many species, perhaps all species of bacteria require sulfur in their constitution and thus silver can kill them.
But the other issue I raise is whether silver is benign to human body should we unfortunately injest too much silver? I would hazard to guess that it is dangerous to have alot of silver in the human body. For just as it sponges away sulfur from bacteria, it would remove sulfur from vital tissue in the human body since sulfur is essential for animals.
I think not enough real, and truthful science has been done on silver as a biological agent and that this commercialization of silver has had too much of a ad and myth and falsehoods on silver. So I encourage some real scientists in real laboratories to give us a full detailed report on silver as a biological agent and how it kills bacteria and to what extent it kills microbes and to what extent silver in human body consumption is harmful.
When something becomes commercial such as a bacteria-cide or microbe-cide then the general public usually gets barraged with falsehoods and alot of scam artists selling silver for consumption. So we need the real science done by science researchers for the full truth.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

That could be one mechanism, but I do not believe it to be the major one for several reasons. First in the process of killing a bacteria, the silver does not seem to be used up. Secondly, silver is a known virucide as well as an algaecide and fungicide (although not as good as copper for fungus), and as you point out, sulfur is not required. Silver is known by those who have tried it to be very effective against both the flu and colds, which are both viral.
A more logical explanation I believe is that the silver acts as a catalyst, oxidizing the bacteria. (silver is known to be a very good oxidizing catalyst) Silver is a good oxidizer, and it is well known that oxidizing agents are very good germicides. Examples are H2O2 and O3. When an oxygen molecule is absorbed onto a silver particle, the oxygen molecule becomes two oxygen atoms which are adsorbed onto the surface of the particle. The oxygen atom is much more reactive than an O2, and when contact with a bacteria occurs, it reacts with something in the bacteria and kills it. Some papers claim that silver also acts with the respiratory mechanism of the bacteria shutting it down and causing the bacteria to suffocate, but that would not explain how it kills anaerobic bacteria. Fact is, sufficient research has not been done to determine the means by which it works, although that it does kill bacteria is pretty well a proven fact.
A paper that I wrote exploring this in 2001 I just reposted at http://execonn.com/research/research.html for anyone that is interested. Since I was never able to prove this theory, I never published the paper, except on the internet a few years ago.

Actually silver is known to cause a deficiency in selenium, but not in sulfur. First of all huge amounts of sulfur are in our foods compared with the normal intake of any silver, so even if the reaction was taking place, which it could be, the amount of sulfur bound would be minuscule.

I encourage this as well. Unfortunately silver is not patentable for any kind of propholatic or therapeutic purposes, so there is no incentive for any pharms to do this research, in fact they have a negative incentive, since proving that it works would undercut their sales of antibiotics that they can charge 1000:1 markups on. I have personally funded some research at the University of Tennessee on this a few years ago, and was able to prove that it kills bacteria in the test tube, but did not prove any mechanism for how it works. Other research has done likewise, if I remember right a study at BYU funded by the silver institute showed the same thing. I do know that it works very well from experience of myself, my family and many friends. But this is not considered "proof" without double blind studies. ( I for one started taking EIS (Electrolytically isolated silver) in 1998, and have only been sick one time since. I also use to get outbreaks of oral herpes at least once a month and colds 3 or 4 times a year, and had had this for for over 40 years, and have not had an outbreak since 1998 either, and only got the flu once in 7 years).
However silver is being used by doctors some now. You have the silver gauze bandages that have become the standard for treating burn victims, and such over the counter products as Silverdyne ointment have appeared in recent years. Dr,. Robert Becker did a very good job of proving that silver ions promote healing by causing injured cells to revert back to stem cells (ref. The Body Electric), and redifferentiate into whatever is needed. I have used this on severe burns a number of times, with the result that there is no scarring (which is why burn units now use the silver gauze/ion treatments). I also cut the end off my thumb a few years ago, and after keeping it wet with a mix of colloidal silver and silver hydroxide (or silver oxide) for a couple of days, it grew back with no scarring, and with the full fingerprint. This is something that use to be thought to be impossible. My only regret is that I do not have my fingerprint from before this happened to see if is the same as it was before or different.

There is certainly a lot of hogwash when you view this information. One website, that of Frank Key's says that silver hydroxide has no biological effect, and that the colloidal portion is the only part that has an effect, and others say the opposite. I ran a number of tests about a month ago using colloidal and ionic (hydroxide or oxide) silver and milk and found that the ionic for that experiment was more effective. I also found that adding a few drops of H2O2 to a combination of the two (about 90% ionic and 10% colloidal) was FAR more effective than the ionic, colloidal, or combination in preventing milk souring. In fact, that experiment was so good, that I had to throw the milk out due to maggots growing in it, it never did sour! There is evidence that adding a few drops of H2O2 to EIS (electrolytically isolated silver) does increase the effectiveness when taken as well, but no good studies have been done on this. We just have reports of a nature that EIS was unable to help a urinary tract infection over a several week period, but when a few drops of H2O2 was added to 4 or 8 oz and left for 5 to 15 minutes, then drunk, it cleared up very quickly. A finding by another researcher is that if you mix 2 parts Gatorade with 1 part of EIS, the effectiveness is increased significantly as well. Tests done by this researcher showed that the silver content in the blood increased many times faster than if it was not mixed, so the absorption of the CS is greatly enhanced by this.
I actually had been researching why this is the case over the last month. Gatorade contains glucose, citric acid, and salts of sodium and potassium. Any or all of these could have an effect. Silver hydroxide will react with citric acid producing silver citrate, which is soluble. That at first glance would appear to be a factor, but the chlorine in the salts would quickly make it silver chloride, so nothing appears to be accomplished by that. The glucose could appear to reduce the silver hydroxide by a mechanism similar to the Tollen's reaction changing the silver hydroxide to colloidal silver, but from experiments I have done, Tollen's type of reaction does not seem to occur with silver hydroxide.
That leaves the salts, which I believe account for this. If any EIS is taken orally it dilutes the stomach fluids (a combination of HCl and NaCl). Although silver chloride has a solubility of about ,89 ppm in pure water, the diluted gastric juices reduce this to about .2 ppm do to the Cl- ions. However if sufficient salt is taken with the EIS, then the silver forms complexes with the chlorine, resulting in an increase of silver chloride solubility instead of a decrease. Although 1 ppm solubility may not sound like much, when you look at taking one ounce of 5 ppm EIS that is 90% ionic and mix that with 2-3 parts Gatorade, the result is 3-4 oz which will dissolve about 3-4 ppm of the 4.5 ppm of the initial EIS. Then when it hits the stomach an ounce or so of gastric juices is all that is needed to dissolve all of it, allowing a significant increase in absorption rate of the ionic portion of the EIS.
The big question is what happens to this silver chloride when it hits the blood stream. Large amounts of silver chloride ingestion have been linked with argyria, yet there are no cases of argyria linked with taking pure EIS (that is that which is made with distilled water, using tap water or if salt is added is completely different). There are several theories why. First the EIS is too low a concentration to cause this. Second, at low concentrations the AgCl (theoretically) reacts with the trace amounts of ammonia in the blood forming a silver ammonia complex, which is reduced immediately to silver atoms or particles as it is in Tollen's reagent due to the glucose in the blood.
But it is the reduction of silver compounds to silver particles in the skin that causes argyria. Basically the silver will deposit on any particles present (the photographic development process, either via Tollen's, or because there is often a developer in the blood, such as caffine), and if you take silver compounds, then these will be in the skin where it is exposed to light and the photoreduction process occurs. However EIS contains 10% silver particles already, so the plating out would occur on the particles throughout the body. The result is that the accumulation is not in the skin, and with an abundance of particles, they only grow about 50% in size, insufficient to get stuck in tissues as is required to cause argyria.
Please keep in mind, the above are theories, backed to some extent by knowledge of silver chemistry, and experiments done by others and myself over the course of the last 5 years. But none of it is proven. Much more experimentation is needed.
Marshall

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Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:06:02 -0500 Marshall Dudley wrote: (much snipped; too much to respond to)

Thanks, I did not know that. And I am always on the alert for something that may lead clues down the path of discovery of Alzheimers, prion and Parkinsons. Recently it was found that well-water contains a bacteria and fungus that causes Parkinsons. And it is know that prion molecules have a metal atom. So I wonder if perhaps silver if it gets into an animal can start the onset of one of these diseases or has a major role.

Marshall, I have to comment on the rest of your post later, for you supplied me with too much to think about at this moment.
Okay, it does not kill by the sulfur bonding. It kills as an oxidizer as one hypothesis. But I wonder, Marshall, whether silver kills as a hydrogen absorber. I know the relative of silver is palladium which is the superlative element that absorbs hydrogen and all biochemical molecules are defined by their hydrogen bonds. So I wonder, or speculate whether the mechanism that silver kills microbes is its hydrogen absorbing tendency.
And if that is true, Marshall, then is a germ killed if its hydrogen bonds are reconfigured??
Question Marshall, since you researched and played around with this stuff. Does silver really kill these microbes or does it just put them in dormancy or rest? Because if it is a hydrogen bond reconfiguration, then the mechanism would be one of a dormancy or latency of the microbe and not a killing of the microbe. It could also be a mutation of the microbe so that you have some virus or bacteria after contact with silver that is mutated to be an even worse disease threat. So basically I am asking whether these microbes are fully dead or whether they are dormant. Or perhaps a mix of the two where some are killed but others mutated and alive.
I have not read the abstract in your other post as to a possible mechanism and will do so later.
P.S. I too have seldom been sick and not had a winter cold in many years but that I attribute to the fact that in winter I never eat out, never eat any restaurant food and never go to school or public places where alot of people congregate. If you stay away from people and prepared foods you can avoid winter sickness quite easily. I would say that schools are Mother Natures way of spreading the common cold virus to the maximum number of population.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

You may find the paper:
Feng, Q. L., J. Wu, G. Q. Chen, F. Z. Cui, T. N. Kim, and J. O. Kim. 2000. A mechanistic study of the antibacterial effect of silver ions on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 52:662-668. [PubMed][Full Text]
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/73503276/ABSTRACT
interesting. I have a copy of the full paper I got at the research library, but can only find the abstract on the net.
Marshall
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Sat, 29 Jan 2005 02:19:07 -0600 Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

This is not as easy as I first thought. I have alot of scrap metal collected and am having difficulty in telling whether a piece is solid composition of silver from that of cadmium, indium and tin alloys. The same goes for distinguishing gold from alloys of Tl, Pb, Bi.
But I feel that density is the best method.
Presently I have a digital scale that uses springs. I need to get away from that and get a precision balance beam where I can measure weights with less error.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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One of the best tools of the trade to tell whether an item is silver or not silver is a small magnet. And also for gold items. If the item is attracted by the magnet then it is not silver and not gold. So I carry around a small magnet whenever faced with the problem of whether silver, or silver plated or nonsilver. If the magnet has no affect is a good sign that it can be solid silver.
And I wonder if some electrical device can be built that uses the fact that silver is the world recordholder of electrical conductivity at room temperature. Some sort of electronic device that if you put in contact to a piece of metal it can register whether it is silver because of the ease of conduction. Perhaps some one has already built such a device.
But it leaves me with a question which I am failing to answer on the spot moment. Why would silver be the highest electrical conductor at room temperature and simultaneously be so non-magnetic. And gold and copper are also great conductors but why are they nonmagnetic????
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Still searching for the very easiest and reliable method. There is always the tried and true method of finding density for silver and gold are very dense, especially gold. And the tried and true method is to make 2 measurements of an item, one of its volume and this is accomplished by a measured beaker of water and record how much water is displaced then weigh the item and thus divide weight by volume. But I am looking for an even easier way where I can bypass one of the two measures.
I believe I have found it by considering a liquid or oil or even a sort of sand like substance for which I place the item and if it floats is not gold or not silver. Example: find the proper viscosity of a medium for which 10K gold sinks at a steady pace. If a ring is not gold it will float. If it is 14K gold it will sink even faster.
So I want a medium of perhaps an oil or even a sand like material for which the density of 10K gold will sink and any metal of lighter density will float. Of course there is the chance of fooling by lead or bismuth added.
And then I want a medium were sterling silver sinks at a steady pace and less dense look-alikes float.
So I suspect chemists have already found such viscosity substances that matches 10K gold and that matches sterling silver.
And a sandlike medium would be preferable to a oil or liquid medium for they tend to spill and have to wipe and clean off. Perhaps a fine cut plastic into sand form has the proper viscosity?
So has any chemist found these 2 viscose mediums that would offer a 1 check station measure whether a particular ring or silverware are 10K gold or sterling respectively???
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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a few minutes ago I wrote:

Perhaps baby-oil is such a medium. Or perhaps honey. Trouble with these liquids is that they become messy. And I would not want to be ruining honey or cleaning up afterwards.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Thu, 24 Feb 2005 01:29:24 -0600 Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

Now there is one easy way but not the easiest of all. This is the method wherein you have a balance beam. Preferably a small one because the entire apparatus with its gold on one side and alleged gold on the other side are submerged in water.
This is the method wherein you have a balance beam and you have a known gold ring which you place in one pan and on the pan of the other side you have a ring, or some other alleged gold item. Then you graduate the beam so that the two sides are balanced and the beam is not tilted to either side but perfectly level. Now you transport the entire beam and submerge it into a container of water. Or as Archimedes of Ancient Greeks had a bathtub, where he took a balance beam with one side of known pure gold and the other side of a crown alleged to be gold.
When this perfectly balanced beam is submerged then the adulterated item would no longer be perfectly level with the true known gold item on the other side.
So we shift the medium and the shifting of the medium tells us that one item does not contain the density of gold.
Trouble with this method is that you need a big bathtub and you need a balance beam that is not ruined by submerging underwater.
Maybe I can rig together some metal materials into the likeness of a balance beam using old stainless steel spoons and a fulcrum of stainless steel knife handles.
Archimedes Plutonium www.iw.net/~a_plutonium whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies
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Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

Research your namesake and learn how to find the density of any material. You must wake every morning with the shout of akeruE, I've lost it.
Gordon
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Archimedes Plutonium wrote:

Archimedes ......
Running naked through the street afterwards is optional.
--
...............................


Keepsake gift for young girls.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Although these are sci. newsgroups and you probably want sci type answers, if you take the objects to almost any reputable jewelry store or, better, silversmith (restoration, repair: Yellow Pages), they can probably tell you exactly what you have. Maybe you can get the silversmith to tell you some tricks of the trade (metallurgy tricks, other than reading hallmarks, etc.).
From yahoo for Hanover, there is New England Gem Lab on Main St.
Maybe you can take them to the PBS Antiques Roadshow for appraisal.
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Are you sure it isn't nickel silver, which is also known as German Silver
Check out: http://pages.zoom.co.uk/leveridge/nickel1.html
If it is German Silver, which is used for jewelry and the like, there is no silver in it.
Al
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