When looking to purchase quality silverware, it is important to know how to tell the difference between different types of items to ensure that you receive the full value of what you purchase. First, check the price tag. If you’re purchasing from a recommended and popular store that sells high quality products, the price of the items will reflect the high-quality sterling silver from which they are made. Be wary though, if someone offers you “silver” wares for very cheap prices, it is most likely fake. Remember, that in most cases, the silver itself is worth more than the product, so no one would sell a real silver item cheaply.
There are also two other practical ways to check if the item you are examining is pure silver. Firstly, check the weight of the item. Items made from sterling silver are usually much heavier than similar and comparable items, which are plated with silver or other metals. For example, a normal sterling silver soup spoon should weigh about 100 grams. Secondly, another way to determine whether the item you are holding is made from real silver, is to examine the softness of the item. For example, silver spoons or forks made of sterling silver will be slightly more flexible than other plated or metallic cutlery.
Finally, and this I discovered by chance during a Shabbat meal, if you stick a silver fork into an ice cube it will penetrate the cube much faster than a fork made of another material.