How to Spot and Test Fake Silver Bullion
For everyone wanting to invest in silver bullion in Singapore, the idea that the silver they buy might be counterfeit is definitely unsettling. High net worth individuals using silver bullion as part of their asset protection portfolio need to make sure their bullion is genuine.
Still, there are many methods for assessing whether silver is genuine or not. Since we are not talking about a few coins but a larger amount of silver bullion, subjective tests such as the magnetic, ice or sound tests simply do not apply. Moreover, bleach and acid tests can damage the silver, which is what makes them not only unreliable but also dangerous.
As a reliable alternative, a growing number of wealth builders are turning to a unique non-destructive testing method for testing silver developed by Silver Bullion in Singapore. It’s called DUX testing.
DUX Testing: Reliable Silver Testing in Singapore
Silver Bullion has developed the DUX testing method to offer additional assurance of the authenticity of the clients’ bullion. It’s worth noting that the bullion tested is tax-free IPM bullion. The company only deals with precious metals purchased from Central Bank mints or the refineries approved by London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). These facts serve as the first line of assurance. Nevertheless, Silver Bullion goes an extra mile by employing DUX testing.
Overview of DUX testing
DUX stands for Density, Ultrasound and X-ray Fluorescence. The method involves the usage of state-of-the-art equipment for measuring and comparing different physical characteristics of gold or silver bullion. To be considered genuine, silver bullion (as well as all other types of bullion) has to pass all three DUX tests, including the additional Electrical Conductivity Test. By the same token, fake silver cannot possibly pass all four parts of the test.
Density test is the first step is testing the density/mass of the bullion. Most fake coins and bars in the market deviate from the genuine ones by mass, so highly sensitive analytical balances are used to identify even the slightest deviation. Investment Grade Bullion should be within a small range of its stated mass.
Density and mass are far from being the only characteristics tested, especially because counterfeit bullion of higher quality can be optimized for density. For example, a gold bar can partially contain tungsten, which has a similar density to gold. For this reason, the second test is conducted, measuring even the slightest variations in physical characteristics. This test is called the Ultrasound test, and it works by sending the ultrasonic waves through the metal bar. If there is any variance in density, such as sound velocity, the Ultrasound test can easily detect it.
X-Ray Fluorescence Test
The third part of the DUX test is used for the identification of all the metals present on the surface of the bullion. The X-ray Fluorescence test, as the name says, employs X-rays not only to identify the metals but also to measure their purity. Therefore, it analyses the metal composition in great detail, quickly and reliably.
Electrical Conductivity Test
As of 2014, the DUX test comprises the Electrical Conductivity test (ECM) as an addition to the Ultrasound test. It’s applied mostly to test secondary market advanced counterfeit bullion, including ceramic alloy silver coins.
Silver, much like gold, is very specific when it comes to its electrical conductivity properties. Therefore, any impurity is easily detected by using a reliable test such as the Electrical Conductivity test, especially when directly complementing the Ultrasound test.
DIY silver bullion testing - Precious Metal Verifiers
In addition to the high-tech DUX testing, fake silver can be tested with portable Precious Metal Verifiers. They are a less costly option than DUX testing and are suitable for use in smaller shops and also as a DIY testing tool.
Nevertheless, Precious Metal Verifiers are highly efficient since they send electromagnetic waves deep into the bullion (coins or bars), therefore testing both the surface and the core. They are also extremely time-efficient as they can detect a fake in under a second. Some clients may be pleased to hear that they don’t need to remove their coins or bars from protective plastic cases to get them tested since a Precious Metal Verify is equally efficient when assessing the metal through the case or bag.
Just like DUX testing, Precious Metal Verifiers were created with the aim of providing quick and reliable tests that won’t involve the usage of chemicals and won’t involve any scratching of drilling of the bullion, so there is no risk of damage.