Can you tell the difference between pewter and sterling silver?

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Original Post

beadyize says

I've got some daisy spacers I'm taking off of a necklace I made at least a year ago. I can't tell if they are silver pewter or sterling. I've bought both kinds in the past (although I only buy sterling silver these days) but the design looks exactly the same to me.

Does anyone know how you can tell the difference? Will oxidizing them more tell me anything?

Posted at 12:51 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

Responses

I don't think pewter will blacken in the presence of sulfur. Keeping this open for you to maybe get a jeweler to answer.

Posted at 12:54 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

Camias says

If I'm not mistaken, won't pewter 'mark' on paper? Anyone remember this trick?

Posted at 12:55 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

beadyize says

I just rubbed a known pewter heishi on paper and it didn't actually put down any color. Is this what you're thinking should happen with pewter?

Posted at 12:58 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

marynewton says

You might be able to tell the difference if you polish them. Pewter will polish up but I think sterling looks shinier when polished.

Posted at 1:00 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

Pewter doesn't take the same shine that silver will, and is *much* softer.

Posted at 1:04 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

RockLove says

Pewter is much much softer and will only shine to a dullish grey. Silver will look bright and mirrored. Also, the inner portions of the spacers - are they dark dark black? If they are silver, then they will achieve a dark black from sulfur (oxidizing)... pewter will only get darkish matte grey.

I welcome any photos if you want to send them to me :)

Posted at 1:08 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

Sacrifice one spacer and break it in half, you should be able to see what it looks like in the center.

Posted at 1:11 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

dlpom says

Pewter is softer and will feel more lightweight compaired to something in sterling silver of the same size.

Also, pewter won't polish to a shiny finish like sterling silver will.

Posted at 1:16 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

beadyize says

I didn't know where else to post a photo so I stuck it temporarily on my blog. :-|

beadyize.blogspot.com/

Not sure if my photo is good enough to help or not, but thanks!

Posted at 1:18 pm Jul 8, 2008 EDT

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