Silver items are some of the most sought out antiques and have been around for the longest time. Most of these antiques are made with sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals (usually copper), because pure silver is too soft to be shaped into everyday items. Sterling silver allows developers to create silver items that will be able to hold their shape. For an affordable alternative, silver plating is used. In order to determine if your item is sterling silver or silver plated you can either look for the sterling silver hallmark (925) or use a strong magnet that will end up being weak if your item is true sterling silver, as silver is not very magnetic. Although silver plated items are more affordable, they still can be valuable.
Popular silver antiques include sterling jewelry, tea sets, dishes, and flatware. These items can be well worth over hundreds of dollars due to their aging and rarity. Their quality is shown in the mark stamped on the item which displays the metal content of the item. Overtime, sterling items will tarnish due to the air they are exposed to. The metal will react to moisture in the air and especially from areas with high air pollution. Although the is the case, it does not necessarily affect the value of the item.