Can Metal Detectors Detect Silver?

Photo of author

Cory Haasnoot

Updated On:

Silver is one of the most sought after metals detectorist search for. That’s because silver is in many items including coins and jewelry. These are some of the most found items when metal detecting.

People new to metal detecting may ask can metal detectors detect silver? The answer is yes metal detectors can detect silver and they can detect it very efficiently.

Silver is a highly conductive metal making it easy for metal detectors to detect. On some detectors, all you have to do is flip a switch and your metal detector will exclusively detect just for silver.

So sit back get a cup of coffee and I will explain everything you need to know about how to metal detect for silver and the tools you will need to make finding this highly sought after metal easily.

Best Metal Detector For Detecting SilverBest Metal Detector For Detecting Silver

If your looking for the best metal detector that is perfect for detecting  silver then you would want to go with the Garrett AT Pro

This is a very low frequency (VLF) metal detector but has a high 15kHz frequency that will work well for finding small items made of silver.

The AT Pro has great target separation so you can better discern between the junk and silver. With all that and the deep penetrating wavelengths to get you detecting down deep. This metal detector has it all for the detection of silver!

==> The Garrett AT Pro is Our #1 Pick <==

Garrett AT Pro metal detector control box

What Can You Find That’s Made of Silver?

There are literally thousands of items that have been made of silver through the centuries and metal detecting for them can be quite lucrative.

There are silver coins, silver bars, silver jewelry, silver spoons, silver pots and pans the list goes on and on. So many of these items get lost in the dirt through time and end up underground just waiting for you to come along and find them.

So if you are metal detecting for silver chances are you will find some and very often. Silver is one of my favorite metals to detect for and I can bet it will be yours. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy detecting for gold as well but chances of finding gold are rare compared to finding silver items.

How to Clean Your Silver Finds

Cleaning your silver finds without damaging them has been a problem for many detectorists. You find the silver object lets say a coin. 

You dig it up and great you have found a silver coin but it’s caked with dirt and sometimes thick oxide encrusted around the coin.  How in the world do you clean all this dirt off from in the grooves of the coin without ruining it?

Well, there are a couple of ways to go about cleaning silver finds. They are:

Cleaning Slightly Discolored Silver

If the silver object you find is slightly discolored you can easily clean it using the acids that you find in raw potato juice. Just dip the object in the juice for a second and then rinse it with water and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. This should take the discoloration away immediately leaving you with a beautiful silver find.

Cleaning Silver with Ammonia

If your silver is caked with dirt and or an oxide crust you will need to clean them with ammonia. Soak them in ammonia for about 30 minutes. After that, you will be able to brush off the sediments that are left. Rinse them off and dry them with a clean soft cloth.

Cleaning Silver with Citric Acid

Cleaning silver coins with citric acid after brushing them of works wonders for cleaning the rest of the dirt and grime from the grooves and ledges of the coins. Put them in a citric acid bath for about 30 minutes.

Placing iron oxide at the bottom of the bath can help in speeding up the cleaning process by reduction. When done rinse and dry the coins off.

Places to Detect For Silver

There are many places you can find silver. My favorite places to search for silver are in parks because there are usually many people that have been in the area having picnics and walking their dogs.

 And where there are people there will be lost jewelry and coins. Most of what is lost are made of or comprised of some type of silver. 

Other great places to detect for silver are:

  • Abandoned amusement parks
  • Concert venues if you can get permission 
  • Parking lots
  • Frequently used fishing spots
  • Cemeteries
  • Old homesteads
  • Ghost towns
  • Old farmsteads

That’s just scraping the surface I’m sure you can think of many other places that people congregate and potentially lose valuable items. Remember to check if you need a permit before metal detecting in public spaces. If you are going to metal detect on private property make darn sure you get permission beforehand.

If you would like to know more about great places to metal detect check out my article entitled 13 Common Places to go Metal Detecting by clicking here.

How To Tell If You Have Found Silver

To identify if what you have found is silver is by dropping it on a hard service or tapping it with another object. If it’s silver there will be a high ringing tone to it that will last for about 2 seconds.

You can also use what they call the ice test to tell if your item is made of silver. Place the object you found on a piece of ice and if the ice starts to melt immediately then you have found yourself some silver.

Silver melts ice fast because of its high electrical conductivity and it also has a high thermal conductivity as well.

What Is The Best Frequency to Use For Silver?

High and low frequency screenshot.

Since silver has such a high electrical conductivity you will want to use a low frequency when detecting for it. That’s why very low frequency (VLF) metal detectors work best for detecting silver.

The long wavelengths that low-frequency detectors emit allow for easy penetration of the ground so you can detect deep for your precious silver targets.

Can Metal Detectors Detect Silver Nuggets?

Metal detectors can detect silver nuggets but it’s rare to find these jewels in the soil. You would have a better chance at finding silver nuggets by panning for them.

If you find natural silver while metal detecting it will have to be a large amount of it because small, minuet amounts of silver such as flakes will not be detectable by a metal detector. But if you find large nuggets of silver it will be black in color and not look like the silver you would think of.

So if you dig something up that rang up as silver but it’s gray or black don’t just throw it back make sure you test it first. It could be a large nugget of silver!

Can Sterling Silver Be Detected By Metal Detectors?

Sterling silver can definitely be detected by metal detectors because sterling silver is made up of 92.5 percent of silver and 7.5 percent of other metals it’s easily detected by a metal detector.

Sterling silver is one of those alloys that’s used in many products so you are sure to find a lot of sterling silver rings and jewelry when you are out treasure hunting. Searching beaches and parks you will find a plethora of sterling silver. 

Although sterling silver can be detected by many metal detectors the soil that you detect in and how wet the ground is will determine your success.


Well there you have the answer to your question can metal detectors detect silver? Yes, they definitely can detect silver and they do it very efficiently because of the high electrical conductivity that silver has.

Many of the items you will find will have some sort of silver in them so get out there and start detecting. Who knows what you will come across. There could be a hoard of silver coins just waiting for you in your backyard!

I hope you got the answer you were looking for and if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. I love to hear from detectorists about what they have found metal detecting.

Thanks for reading and until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

Photo of author

Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

2 thoughts on “Can Metal Detectors Detect Silver?”

    • Hi Marc, I would recommend the Garrett AT Pro for effective metal detecting in the area you live. AT stands for all-terrain and the ruggedness of the mountain area that you would be detecting in, the AT Pro would be the best choice. I hope this helps you out. Good luck treasure hunting!



Leave a Comment