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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
June 25, 2010

Question:

I bought some .925-stamped 3mm sterling silver snake chains from another supplier, and they are attracted to a magnet. I called the supplier and they told me due to the thickness this is normal. They said that metal is put in to give the chain support. Is this true?

-Robyn in Cincinnati, Ohio

Answer:

Real sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver; the most common alloy used to harden it is copper, and neither of these metals is magnetic. Often a clasp is made of something different that may be magnetic, but if the chain you describe sticks to a magnet, then sadly it is not “sterling” and should not be marked “.925.”

I’m happy to tell you that Wire-Sculpture stocks genuine Sterling Silver Chains, and of course, Wire-Sculpture guarantees 100% satisfaction on all its products.

For more information regarding what is classified as genuine sterling silver and what can and cannot be marked as such, here is what the FTC has to say:

23.6 Misrepresentation as to silver content.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to misrepresent that an industry product contains silver, or to misrepresent an industry product as having a silver content, plating, electroplating, or coating.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise represent all or part of an industry product as “silver,” “solid silver,” “Sterling Silver,” “Sterling,” or the abbreviation “Ster.” unless it is at least 925/1,000ths pure silver.

(c) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise represent all or part of an industry product as “coin” or “coin silver” unless it is at least 900/1,000ths pure silver.

(d) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise represent all or part of an industry product as being plated or coated with silver unless all significant surfaces of the product or part contain a plating or coating of silver that is of substantial thickness.

(e) The provisions of this section relating to markings and descriptions of industry products and parts thereof are subject to the applicable tolerances of the National Stamping Act or any amendment thereof.

Note 1 to § 23.6: The National Stamping Act provides that silver plated articles shall not “be stamped, branded, engraved or imprinted with the word ‘sterling’ or the word ‘coin,’ either alone or in conjunction with other words or marks.” Exemptions recognized in the industry and not to be considered in any assay for quality of a silver industry product include screws, rivets, springs, spring pins for wrist watch straps; posts and separable backs of lapel buttons; wire pegs, posts, and nuts used for applying mountings or other ornaments, which mountings or ornaments shall be of the quality marked; pin stems (e.g., of badges, brooches, emblem pins, hat pins, and scarf pins, etc.); levers for belt buckles; blades and skeletons of pocket knives; field pieces and bezels for lockets; bracelet and necklace snap tongues; any other joints, catches, or screws; and metallic parts completely and permanently encased in a nonmetallic covering.”

In short, I would definitely seek another supplier!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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