How to Test Silver Ore

Written by gary fish | 13/05/2017
How to Test Silver Ore
Silver jewellery is made from the precious element extracted from silver ore. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Ore is a variety of rock that contains precious metals. Silver ore is mined underground, and the silver must be extracted using heat, crushing methods and chemical injections. Once removed, it is used to make items like jewellery, batteries, silverware and medical equipment. Silver ore is primarily mined in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Canada, Peru, Mexico, Arizona, Chile and Germany. It is found in the veins of rock that have hot water flowing through and around them.

Gather a test-concentrated portion of the suspected silver ore. A bean-sized sample is ideal to get a visible result from the test. From the ore, you can either chip off a portion of the silver or scrape off the equivalent amount of powder.

Collect a sample of chlorine-free water for the silver ore test. Chlorine test strips can be found at home improvement or pool supply stores. Once the water is filtrated and tested free of chlorine, the test can begin.

Add 2 cubic centimetres of chlorine-free water to a test tube and 1 cubic centimetre of nitric acid with the specimen collected from the silver ore. Boil this solution until the silver specimen is dissolved.

Add a few drops of hydrochloric acid to the dissolved mixture. If silver is present, the solution will turn milky in appearance, which indicates it is a low-quality specimen. If the acid is added and the result is a thick, curdy mass, then it is a high-grade specimen of silver.

Things you need

  • Chlorine-free water
  • Nitric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Eyedropper
  • Test tube

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