One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether silverware is indeed pure silver is to inspect it carefully for marks that state, “925,” “Sterling,” “Sterling Silver,” or “925/1000. Each of these symbols will indicate that the silverware you have on hand is indeed pure silver.
Another easy test to perform on an item to determine whether it’s silver or not is to hold a magnet to it. Any item that is silver will not attract the magnet at all – only items that contain high amounts of steel and other types of metal will be magnetic. Polishing the item gently with a cloth will also help determine its silver content – a genuine silver item will leave a black residue on the cloth, while other metals will not.