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Magnetic silver


Save on ebay shipping, and “get thee” to your nearest Radio Shack
(for those in the U.S. at least). Rare Earth Magnets for around 2
dollars a pair. Some craft store have them also, but you’ll pay more.


...where do we obtain a Rare Earth Magnet? 

Another source for Rare Earth magnets are the innards of any computer
hard drive. Depending on the size and age of the drive, there can be
several very nice powerful magnets about 1.5 inches long and
roughly.25 inches thick, somewhat arc-shaped. All you need are some
small Torx tools to unscrew all of the fittings; it’s interesting to
see what’s in there. I suggest finding a dead drive, as most folks
get a little testy if you take apart their working drive.

David Stitt
North Canton, Ohio


Last time I looked Radio Shack had them. Good only in the US (and
Canada). I won’t even attempt to translate the company name for other
parts of the world, but the vermin has to be planet wide.

If you get desparate crack open a dead hard disk. There are a couple
of magnets inside, funny shapes but still magnets.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

are apparently used in wind turbines for making electricity and in
the new gas/electric automobiles, and for other uses. 

Computer hard drives, high-efficiency DC motors, magnetic imaging
(MRI), nuclear physics. They are the reason you can have those tiny
earphones with such a huge sound. Electric motor brakes, magnetic
catches in jewelry, magnetic tumblers. Many, many uses…


I’m no expert metallurgist, but it could be any number of things.
Metal alloys are very sensitive to their ingredients - having 2%
instead of 1% could cause a big problem.

Some bullion dealers might only assay the finished product for silver
content, and so the other ingredients would go unnoticed. We once had
a problem with some gold tube, and the bullion dealer (Cooksons) took
it back, analysed it, apologised, and then gave us a replacement. I
might be worth trying that, as the contaminated metal certainly won’t
be malicious, just a mistake. Unless you have a really, really dodgy
bullion dealer. If you have contaminated the metal yourself, they’d
be able to tell, IMHO.



I bought jump rings at a gem show about two years ago. Was assured
it was sterling. When I came home, I tested them, and they were
magnetic. I have since then brought a magnet with me to shows, and
when buying jump rings and am told they are sterling, I politely
say, “Do you mind if I test them, I was given some a while back that
turned out to be plated base metal.” I have not had any problems
with that approach.


As an aside to the issue of magnetic silver, some platinum alloys are
slightly magnetic - these are cobalt-based casting alloys. If you
have a rare-earth magnet, this is quite useful, because you can
seperate platinum scrap into casting and forging alloys (the latter
are better for reprocessing and forging into wire…etc), and also
seperate (some) platinum from mixed white-metal scrap.