Analysis of Vintage Sterling and Coin Silver Tableware by X-Ray Fluorescence
The table below shows the results of XRF analysis of an assortment of “coin silver” and sterling silver flatware pieces.
Several observations can be made:
The trace of gold observed in piece 8 is probably residue from gilding or vermeil to protect the silver, and not part of the alloy. However, in order to prove this, an abrasive would have to be used to remove a layer of metal from the surface. If there was a coating at some point, it is not obvious to the naked eye.