Sterling silver jewelry on eBay--magnet question

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  1. #1 Aug 8, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
    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.
     
  2. I'm not very well versed on jewelry, but to my knowledge, sterling silver is not 100% silver. The 925 means that it is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metal, which might be magnetic?
     
  3. That is correct! There are actually three metals that are naturally magnetic - iron, cobalt, and nickel. My guess is that some of your sterling has one of these metals - most likely nickel. My 5 years as a chemistry teacher are actually being put to use on tPF - LOL!!!:lol: