Sterling silver is used to make items such as decorative tableware, serving trays, cutlery and musical instruments such as the flute. It is a mix of two metals that consist of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. The portion of silver contributes to its resilience and shine while copper provides a sturdy foundation. If you have a piece of sterling silver and want to know how to calculate its value, these 3 steps should allow you to determine that number:
To ensure that your piece is made of high-quality sterling silver, check for a hallmark and the number 925. This will indicate that you have a piece of sterling silver that is made up of 92.5 percent silver. If you find a hallmark and a lower number, your piece has a lower proportion of pure silver. Lastly, if you don’t find any numbers, this usually indicates a piece that has been silverplated. However, be aware that some older objects made from sterling silver did not have hallmarks or list the amount of sterling silver.
Weighing and Grams Conversion
The next step is to weigh your piece and record the amount in ounces or grams. The price of silver is measured in ounces. You’ll need to convert grams to ounces if you use a scale that only lists grams. 1 ounce is equal to 28.3495 grams. To convert your grams to ounces, follow this formula (g/28.3495 = oz.)
As an example, if you had a weight of 35 grams, this would convert to 1.23 ounces (35/28.3495 = 1.23 oz.) Next, you need to determine the amount of silver in your piece. Since the proportion of your sterling silver piece contains 92.5 percent silver, use this formula (.925 * 1.23 ounces of sterling silver.) This gives you the number 1.13775 ounces as the amount of silver.
Determine Silver Value
To determine the value of your piece, take the total ounces of silver and multiply that by the current spot price of silver. You can usually find this value online at financial statistics websites or precious metals dealers. At the time of this writing, the current value of silver is $16.56 per ounce. In the example above, you would take the current spot price of $16.56 * 1.13775 ounces, which gives you a value of $18.84 for your piece of sterling silver.
With these steps in hand, determining the value of your sterling silver should be easy. It will help if you can use a scale that weighs your sterling silver in ounces. This way, you won’t have to convert grams to ounces before determining the final proportion of silver.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!