Because the price of gold and silver has been going up over the past several years, many of us are taking a second look at jewelry and other items for the purpose of selling them.
Silver especially is a questionable commodity if you don't know what to look for in terms of marks or symbols imprinted on it to verify it being authentic sterling silver.
Some items may be silver but do not carry a mark. Others may only have thin layer of silver or plated with another metal below it. In these cases, silver without markings should be tested professionally.
The most popular marking for the US is the number 925 or 950 indicating that the silver is 92.5% or 95% pure.
The other most popular marking is one used for English silver.
In this case a lion facing left is the symbol indicating silver.