Feeling silver?

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Feeling silver?

Postby paulh » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:50 am

On a recent edition of a TV antiques programme one of the "experrts" said that you could tell the difference between silver and silver plated pieces because silver was warmer to the touch than silver plate. I have been handling silver for over 40 years and have never heard of this before, nor can I see how this could be an accurate statement, as would be so many variables involved. I realise that the reflective values of sterling silver at 92.5% and silver plate as fine silver are slightly different, but this cannot be of any practical value in a 'field" situation.

Any comments?

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Re: Feeling silver?

Postby AG2012 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 am

Thermal conductivity of metals is expressed in rather complicated physical units not to be elaborated here.
But for comparison, silver conductivity at 25 degrees centigrade is 420, copper 401.
I doubt it is possible to tell the difference between 420 and 401 by holding metals.

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Re: Feeling silver?

Postby dragonflywink » Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:49 pm

Eh, I'm sure that most who've dealt in silver for many years understand that feeling of just 'knowing' when picking up a piece, but have never known anyone who identified silver by its temperature in their hand. As said, silver has a high thermal conductivity, and since copper is almost as conductive, also doubt that electroplate on copper would exhibit an easily discernable difference from silver, but when it's alloyed with the typical nickel and zinc in nickel silver, the most common base metal used for electroplate, it is much less conductive - in trying what a friend calls the 'ice cream test', if you put a silver and an EPNS spoon of the basically the same size into a scoop of ice cream (or set an ice cube on the bowls), the silver spoon will chill right the top of the handle rather rapidly and the plated piece won't...


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