XRF Exposes Counterfeit “925” Silver
The bracelet below, marked “925”, is in fact, not sterling silver. Analysis by XRF reveals it is primarily brass with less than 2% silver, suggesting a plated material. The overall composition is close to that of yellow (cartridge) brass (70% Copper, 30% zinc) with a trace of nickel. The latter could be electroplated between the silver and brass or part of this base alloy. Note that proving the silver is on the surface and not the interior would require a destructive test, as this is not obvious from the data. However, it is a reasonable supposition, based on the appearance.
Given the rising value of silver, the appearance of counterfeits such as this one will likely become more frequent. XRF analysis can be used to quickly assess the silver content of a collection, estate or shipment.