Properly marked silver that's magnetic?

Hello Everyone This is my first post hope I am doing this right. I
own a small town jewelry store specializing in repair and custom
work. Recently I have seen several pieces of silver coming in for
repair that are magnetic. After questioning several of my customers
about where they were purchased. It turns out they are coming from
several reputable stores in the area. This piqued my curiosity and I
went over my own inventory with a magnet and discovered that some of
my own inventory was suspect. After contacting my suppliers several
of which I have been dealing with for years, they were as surprised
as I was. My question is this; is there some thing new other than
rhodium that silver is being plated with to prevent tarnish that is
magnetic? Or is my first suspicion correct that it is not solid
silver even though it bears all the proper quality and hallmarks. My
suppliers have told me that they will look in to this also and
replace my goods or send me a refund if the need arises. What has me
most concerned is that there are about 5 stores in my area that have
some of this magnetic silver all coming from different suppliers.
If it is fake how far does this spread? Nationwide?

Also on a source for Nitric acid check with Shor their number is
914 667 1100 they have a dry form of this they sell for refining and
say it is non hazardous to ship. Web site Not sure if this will work for the meteorites
but worth a look.

Thanks in advance
Joseph Martin
Genesis Jewelry
828 635 0293

Welcome, Joseph! I’m sorry to say I can’t explain the magnetic
silver, but, for what it is worth, I’ve had the following
experience, which I’ve continued to wonder about.

I melted a bunch of miscellaneous scrap, and poured it into water to
make grain. Before melting, I went over it with a magnet to remove
possible residue from files and steel wool, and pickled thoroughly.
After melting, pouring, and re-pickling, I had the (dumb, I guess)
idea of tumbling the whole mess in steel shot to brighten it. I used
a strong magnet to separate the shot from the grain, and, to my
surprise, some of the grains were picked up by the magnet. I threw
those away. I’ve never checked finished pieces, though.

Interesting mystery!


 Recently I have seen several pieces of silver coming in for repair
that are magnetic. 

Are there holes in it, suggesting a hollow piece which might have
been tumble finished? It used to be you could tumble pieces with
small vent holes in standard steel shot without too much trouble, but
with magnetic finishers, even items with small holes can find
themselves filled with those tiny needles, making them magnetic. The
pins might tend to rust/corrode slightly once stuck there and
untended, so it might not rattle…

If it’s not hollow, then I’d expect it would be a plated finish.
Some nickle alloys can be weakly magnetic, I seem to recall, though
don’t quote me on that. In platinum work, a strong magnet is useful
for seperating the cobalt platinum from the iridio platinum, as the
cobalt alloys are magnetic. But I’ve not heard of cobalt being used
as a componant in silver or silver platining…