The Lure of Balinese Silver
The allure of Balinese silver, with its intricate designs and excellent craftsmanship, draws countless visitors each year. But how do you ensure the piece you are buying is authentic? As a jeweler residing in Bali, I’ve gathered some essential tips for travelers to spot fake silver and make the most out of their jewelry shopping experience.
The 925 Hallmark: A Symbol of Authenticity
Sterling silver, the material most authentic Balinese silver jewelry is made from, consists of 92.5% silver. This is usually indicated by a ‘925’ hallmark engraved somewhere on the jewelry. If the piece doesn’t carry this mark, it may not be genuine.
Weight Matters: Feel the Heft
Real silver is relatively heavy for its size. If the jewelry feels unusually light, it may be an indicator that it’s made from other, lighter metals and only coated with silver.
Magnet Test: The Pull of Truth
Real silver is not magnetic. One way to check the authenticity of a silver piece is by using a magnet. If the item is attracted to the magnet, it’s likely not real silver.
Price Check: Assessing Value
True craftsmanship comes with a price. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Authentic Balinese silver jewelry reflects the hours of labor and skill involved, and its price will reflect that.
Reputable Shops: The Safest Bet
One of the most effective ways to avoid counterfeit silver is to buy from reputable shops. Some recommended places include Studio Perak, John Hardy Ubud Workshop, and Prapen Jewelry & Artifacts.
Sound Test: Listen to the Ring
Authentic silver produces a distinct ‘ring’ when lightly tapped. This sound is higher, lasts longer, and is clearer than the dull thud produced by other metals. However, this test might not be suitable for all types of jewelry and should be conducted cautiously.
An Informed Buyer is a Happy Buyer
Purchasing silver jewelry in Bali can be a delightful experience if you know how to spot authentic pieces. By equipping yourself with these tips, you can support the genuine artisans of Bali and bring home a piece of the island’s rich cultural heritage. Remember, every authentic piece has a story woven into its design – a story of tradition, craftsmanship, and the soul of Bali.