Is there a way to tell if a Sterling Silver chain is entirely Sterling Silver ? I know the findings/components are stamped .925 but what about the chain?
Testing is the only truly accurate way to know if the chain itself is sterling silver. Testing involves the use of nitric acid and unfortunately will damage the chain. You can take the chain to a jeweler to have it tested or you could purchase a testing kit. The process is to nick or scratch a small discreet area of the metal with a file. If the piece still looks silver and didn't reveal itself as plated with this test, then put a drop of nitric acid on the scratched spot. If the piece is sterling silver it will turn a cream color. Metals that have a high copper content such as brass or nickel silver will turn green. Even if the tag and/or clasp are stamped 0.925, the chain may be a different material. The best way to ensure you have quality materials is to buy from a reputable dealer that guarantees their products.