Sterling Silver Jewelry attracted to magnet or not?

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  1. Not sure where to post this question. I have bought quite a few sterling silver jewelry items on eBay. Some are new and some vintage. Some designer, some with natural stones, some lab created created, some czs. All stamped or marked as sterling. Mostly bracelets and necklaces and enhancers. I got a bracelet that just did not look right so did a google search to see how to home test for silver and saw in a few places that silver (and gold) will not be attracted to a magnet. It is not a definite test as there are other base metals that will not be attracted to a magnet. So I got out a strong magnet and the bracelet was SLIGHTLY attracted to the magnet. Not nearly as strong as steel is, but still stick to and pull toward the magnet. That got me curious so I tried the magnet test on all of my jewelry. Well, none of my gold jewelry reacted at all to the magnet. But about a third of my marked sterling or stamped 925 jewelry did exhibit slight attraction to the magnet everywhere on the items. A few items did only near the clasps so I think they have a steel spring or mechanism in the clasps so not really concerned. Many of my QVC or HSN sterling items were slightly magnetic, though. And a couple of the sterling items were so strongly magnetic that the magnet actually picked them up. Does anyone know what the heck does it mean? Is the magnet test at all reliable? Does being slightly magnetic mean they are not sterling? Or they are? Could it mean that they have another metal mixed with the silver? None are marked as plated. If anyone has a magnet, please check your silver jewelry and let me know if it is attracted to the magnet or not. If anyone knows what the results mean, also please let me know.
  2. I wonder if it matters what the silver was mixed with. Don't they have some sort of alloy in it to make it stronger? Maybe that's why it's marginally attracted to the magnet? I bet Chag or Japster would know the answer to this one. :yes:
  3. Thats interesting.

    Sounds like.. some of the silver.. is watered down with too much metal alloy.

    did you test any of tiffanys silver?
  4. sterling silver is supposed to be 92.5% real silver
    and 7.5 % other metals. Depending on the country and regulations, the alloys will be different
    most of the time you will get in European countries the 7.5% to be mix of copper, zinc... None of them being attracted by magnet

    Magnet only attracts steel. Could these be steel plated with silver?
    A another little test to do, if you can, is to "cut" a notch out, and see if it is the same color inside
  5. #5 Jul 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
    I can tell you with 100% certainty the answer to this question. I was given a hard drive magnet to pick up my silver plated findings which look totally different than my sterling clasps. All of my clasps sterling and plated stuck to the magnet. I called my silver wholesaler and complained. Anyway, I dissected 2 different clasps from 2 different wholesalers both being sterling silver. I can assure you, I have an answer. There are 3 pieces to a lobster claw clasp and the other styles. One of the pieces is a very very small spring wire. It doesn't look like it should even have the ability to hold the rest of the clasp mid air by a magnet. The other two are indeed sterling silver. The steel is probably as thick as the smiles border probably thinner.
    If the entire piece is magnetic then yes indeed you have a piece that contains steel. If you bought the sterling from China yes they are notorious for fake silver and stamp it. Which is now flowing through ebay the United States complements of China. I made this mistake when I first started to make jewelry. I bought lots from China and it was ALL fake. Hundreds of pieces. Now all US trash. Please there are a lot of ebayers here in the US that bought from China that are selling fake thinking it is real. Anyway. There are very few in the jewelry industry you can trust anymore. Even retail stores cheat and buy junk. High end is usually the best way to go, or someone who has a good reputation. I found a really cheap wholesaler in the US.
  6. Thank you for mentioning this! I noticed that jewelry buyers on Overstock were complaining that the "sterling" jewelry they bought from the web site was strangely magnetic. One shouldn't be surprised I guess.

    I've also been wondering about a lot of that ebay stuff.

    I went over my jewelry box with a magnet and none of the sterling was magnetic--except for a supposed American Indian pendant that was supposedly "unmarked" sterling and which I bought on ebay. Probably neither silver nor Indian. I'm usually reluctant to buy American Indian jewelry on ebay because so much of it is actually made in China with pot metal that is touted as "unmarked sterling" and plastic resin that looks like turquoise.

    I used the large magnet closure on one of my purses to test.