Is Silverware Really Silver?

silverware scrap metal

Ever find silver-plated utensils, plates, bowls, or other dinnerware items? We have heard many questions about whether these items can be bought as silver or how you should sort and separate them. Most of those previously mentioned items are plated on top of copper and brass. The silver is put on in such a thin layer that it gives the allure and look of “silver.”

Most companies that produce silverware or other silver-coated items do so on top of brass and occasionally copper. Even large companies like Tiffany’s will place most of their items on Brass, which you will end up selling the items for, whatever metal is underneath.

The next question generally is whether or not you can sell the item for the silver value…and that answer is generally no. Unless you have a few thousand pounds, we do not recommend finding someone to buy the material for the silver on top.

Copper and brass are the most commonly used items, but sometimes you will see silver plates on aluminum or a Tin product. The easiest way to figure out what you have is just to scratch the item with a file, and you will see what copper is underneath it.

Here’s a rule of thumb:

  • Red = Copper
  • Yellow = Brass
  • Silver = well…Silver/Tin/or Aluminum

If you don’t know what you have, ask your local scrap yard to help you, and they will get you a better answer.