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What is this bead? Any ideas? Please. :) And questions re: Silver
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Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
03/24/2012, 09:57:26

This is a brown gemstone set in silver that I cant identify. I have exaggerated the contrast some the one of the photos just so you can see detail.

Also there appears to be paint or something on it- how do I get that off? And, what is the best way that you use to identify silver? I've tried all the tests (acid, magnet, scrape off small area to see if you can detect any copper- I dont have any confidence in any of them. Do you?)

Since these are artisan pieces they arent stamped but this looks to me like real silver, not silver plate.

Any advice is as always appreciated! Thanks so much
Annie

brown_beed_in_silver_pendant.jpg (13.2 KB)  brown_beed_in_silver_pendant_2.jpg (21.5 KB)  


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stone looks like a tumble-polished jasper pebble...
Re: What is this bead? Any ideas? Please. :) And questions re: Silver -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Stefany Post Reply
03/24/2012, 14:00:35



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magnet test
Re: What is this bead? Any ideas? Please. :) And questions re: Silver -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: birdi Post Reply
03/24/2012, 14:43:31

copy and paste from my other reply:

Have you tested the metal with a magnet? The test is not conclusive, but it eliminates many silver colored metals. Hold up the necklace so it can swing freely. Using a strong magnet, approach the metal parts and see if there is any attraction. Some non silver metals will 'jump'. Others will slightly move toward the magnet. If there is any attraction at all, your metal is not sterling silver. It must be a STRONG magnet.

Another test is to polish with a silver polish cloth. If it won't come to a shine, it might not be sterling. Again, not conclusive, but can eliminate some candidates.

I don't know how to perform the acid test to further eliminate non sterling items. Maybe someone else can point the way.



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Thnx Stephany, thats sounds about right. Birdie, re: silver
Re: magnet test -- birdi Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
03/25/2012, 05:51:01

I'd been TOLD the magnet test has been totally discredited- for a while I relied on it totally- but the way you describe it seems you can get some good information. RIght now the silver polish method is what I'm using! (I cant tell you how many silver pieces I ruined using brasso first. It was probably silver plate that came of leaving a nice copper sheen. Yuck.

What do you think of the acid tests? Have you ever used them? You know, how DOES a jewelry or appraiser determined whether you have silver? What do THEY use?

Btw- anyone ever try the Guldens Mustard Test? That;s another one but it just tells you if there is silver. The issue really is purity, imo.



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The acid test
Re: Thnx Stephany, thats sounds about right. Birdie, re: silver -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: floorkasp Post Reply
03/25/2012, 07:30:28

I have used the testing method, with an acid changing colour if it is indeed silver. However, if you are dealing with a silver plated item, it is a lot more difficult. You can check with the acid on parts that have seen the most wear, but it is not conclusive. You can make a small nick in the piece, and test it there. I have never attempted to distinguish between 925 and lower grades of silver. I have seen professionals do it, but it takes a lot of practice to distinguish the shade. To me it just gives me a pretty good indication: is it silver, or something else?

Generally I also like to have a close look at the quality of the work. The higher the quality and the finish, the more likely it is actual silver.



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Re: The acid test
Re: The acid test -- floorkasp Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
03/29/2012, 12:03:37

Joyce, thanks for the link to the video, It was excellent. This is the acid that I use http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEST-YOUR-PRECIOUS-METALS-6-BOTTLE-TESTING-KIT-EXTRA-TEST-STONE-FREE-LOOP-/130672882465?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e6cb5f321 (If the link doesnt work put in Item #.)

And what the tester showed is exactly what happens- only I rub the silver onto a granite stone they provide, so I dont ruin the silver.

So I guess it is somewhat conclusive. The other thing I do is take a nail and dig down to see it there is ANY copper at all. Believe me, only on a very not visible location and I make a very small "scrape." I was just amazed that things I thought were junk actually showed the deep red- so thought this cant be right. But yeah, it just might be.

Also, good advice in selling antiques- not to get too specific about the silver content its more the age and the history. If someone is looking to melt an antique down for silver well...what can I say>

Also, amazing to learn how the Chinese make fakes and how many of them there are out there! Americans must look like complete idiots but caveat emptor? no? That is proof after all they've discovered capitalism.

Thank you all, great lessons. As usual!



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an exception to the magnet test
Re: Thnx Stephany, thats sounds about right. Birdie, re: silver -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: birdi Post Reply
03/25/2012, 09:39:40

Apparently most, if not all, sterling silver clasps available in recent history have some ferrous metals in the mechanism, so they nearly all attract to the magnet at the clasp location. I've been told it is the hinge and pivot on the clasp that has been made stronger with non silver metals. The clasps are marked 925, but they slightly attract to magnets. I just roll my eyes at that, but it's the current reality.

Anyway, I have decided for myself to not resell as silver any item not marked 925 or sterling. If it is not marked, I just call it 'silver tone' and describe it the best I can. I employ the magnet test to eliminate some 925 marked items that might be frauds, and try to do so BEFORE I made the purchase.



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Re: Anyone else care to weigh in on how they test silver + silver content?
Re: Thnx Stephany, thats sounds about right. Birdie, re: silver -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
03/26/2012, 01:45:28



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Magnet and acid tests for metals
Re: Re: Anyone else care to weigh in on how they test silver + silver content? -- Anne0135 Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
03/26/2012, 23:47:31

The magnet only eliminates most steel and iron. (Some stainless steel alloys are not attracted by a magnet.) Magnets are not a valid test except to find iron and steel items.

White metal base metal goods are more likely to be brass (a copper alloy), pewter (a tin alloy that might contain lead) or zinc. Nickel silver is a white brass. All of these metals can be silver plated.

Testing with nitric acid can indicate that there is a lot of copper in the alloy. In an inconspicuous part of the item make a deep scratch with a file or knife. Put a drop of nitric acid on the area. If it bubbles up green there is a lot of copper and the item is copper, brass or nickel silver. If it does not turn green and, when you rinse the acid off, the tested area is creamy white it is likely silver of at least .800 fineness. (80% silver.)

Watch for silver goods cast in India. We've tested several items that contained 30% cadmium and 65 to 70% silver. The Nitric test will not disclose that because there is not a lot of copper to turn green. The reaction of nitric acid with copper gives copper nitrate which is green

Pewter is quite soft, easy to bend. I don't know of an easy test for zinc.

BTW the steel parts of clasps are the springs inside. Silver does not keep a springy temper so steel or phosphor bronze is used for the springy parts.

Nickel is slightly attracted by a magnet. Brass goods with a nickel plate (even nickel under gold plate) will be *slightly* attracted by a magnet.

My dream CSI lab for jewelers includes an X-Ray def machine so I can just point, shoot and read out the metals involved.

If you want to see some of these tests in action search on youtube for "testing silver with acid."



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Thanks Russ,
Re: Magnet and acid tests for metals -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
03/27/2012, 17:34:54

Great advice!

I just watched this YouTube video, posted today, already with 137,000 reads. Seems pretty straight forward!


Related link: Don't buy fake silver - easy acid test

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Thanks for the video, it´s a good one, but....
Re: Thanks Russ, -- Joyce Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Uwe Post Reply
03/28/2012, 01:59:31

...but there is one mistake in handling the solution: never touch the testing piece with the bottle! Very small amounts of the testing material will be mixed in the solution and after testing some objects you will have a mixed solution and distorted results! This happened to me with my first bottle...From this time on I am using a tooth stick with a drop of the solution, and of course, a new stick for another test.

I use a solution, that was mixed for me from a pharmacie and it content: 3 parts „Potassium dichromate“(Kaliumdichromat, in German), 4 parts concentrated „Sulfuric acid“ (konzentrierte Schwefelsäure) and 32 parts of distilled water (destilliertes Wasser, aqua dest). This may be the same mix as „Schwerter´s solution“.
The very dangerous part of this solution is not the acid, but the first, Potassium dichromate.

Here is a translation by Google from Wikip., because the German version is a bit better, than the English on:
“Although the substance was until a few years yet classified as Xi (irritant) and was in many crystal growing kits and chemistry sets for children, is potassium dichromate classified today as very toxic, oxidising, harmful to the environment, mutagens, reproductive toxicants and carcinogens. It irritates the skin, respiratory system and eyes. With repeated skin contact sensitization occurs, it can even cause allergies.

With organic, combustible compounds, reducing agents, concentrated sulfuric acid, metals in powder form (especially magnesium, iron) are possible violent reactions to the self-ignition or explosion. Potassium dichromate is not flammable, but oxidizing. The disposal of potassium dichromate can be carried out with iron sulfate, wherein it to Cr3 + is reduced, which is precipitated as an insoluble chromium hydroxide much less dangerous. Commercial Chromatvergiftungen are reportable and compensable occupational diseases.”

What I miss in the video and the ebay offer (see link) are the detailed named ingredients. The ebay offer is showing the ingredients for the two other solutions, but not for the silver testing, the bottle to the right.

From my own experience with my (dangerous!) solution the changing color is not the only decisive factor. If you put a drop on 925 sterling and 800 silver at the same time, they will look same after a little while, but in the beginning the sterling reacts little faster. Doing the test often, you will learn to see the different reactions in color and time. The faster and darker, the more silver is in. A good idea would be, to start with objects, you know the silver content from, a stamped sterling ring, old silver cutlery, often stamped with 800 or less, and see the different reactions.

Do not overstate the content of silver in old jewelry. Serious collectors doesn´t mind, if it´s 800 or less or sterling... at best the content of silver gives a clue about the age of the piece (at which time they had worked with what kind of silver?), and so the age and the rareness of the piece will make the price.

Again: Take care!! Gloves are essential while using!! Don´t give the empty or used bottle to the garbage. My pharmacy take it back and takes care of the disposal.


Related link: http://www.ebay.de/itm/Silver-Spot-test-Schwerters-testing-solution-/140590273345

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Thank you all for these tips!!! Is there a permanent stain, mark from such a chemical test?
Re: Thanks for the video, it´s a good one, but.... -- Uwe Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: karavanserai Post Reply
03/28/2012, 03:46:21

martine

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Uwe, thanks!
Re: Thanks for the video, it´s a good one, but.... -- Uwe Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
03/28/2012, 17:44:01

I haven't visited the video again yet, maybe someone should tell the guy who made it so he can revise it......You make perfect sense - it would be very easy to contaminate the solution. And it's important to dispose of the container and materials used in responsible fashion.



Modified by Joyce at Wed, Mar 28, 2012, 17:46:18

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Re: Uwe
Re: Thanks for the video, it´s a good one, but.... -- Uwe Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
04/02/2012, 10:04:14

Excellent advice about the toothpick and so obvious no one would have thought of it! lol. What do you think about rubbing it item your testing onto a granite stone? THat's what I do but sometimes its hard to see the color since the black granite can make it harder to read what colors youre seeing and of course how much of the silver are you testing? Just the top (the plate) or am I getting enough of all they "layers" (for lack of a better word.)

Any tips on whether there is a better material than black granite. I cant bear to pour the acid directly on anything of value. I just cant do it!



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Stephany. You think Jasper? I have more questions
Re: magnet test -- birdi Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anne0135 Post Reply
04/02/2012, 10:09:56

First I wouldnt be surprised. My aunt seemed to be in love with Jasper which frankly I dislike immensely. Do you think this stone was polished and cut? Because whenever I see jasper it always looks rough.
Sorry if I', offending any Japer lovers here maybe I'M missing something!

I have come to think of Jasper as another work for "junk"? Am I mistaken? I just see it used so many times to desribe any stone thats just full of stuff and doesnt appear to be anything else.
Can anyone enlighten me on this Jasper thing? I could google it, and I will, but I prefer to hear your opinions, of course.
Thanks so much!



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