Like pure gold, fine .999 silver is not magnetic and in fact, should slightly repeal from a strong magnet. Below we will break down scientifically why this is so.
In elements we come across in our daily lives only iron, nickel, cobalt, gadolinium, neodymium, and samarium are highly attracted to magnetics.
The following video exhibits a test to see is silver magnetic by using some rare-earth magnets, called neodymium magnets.
Watch this silver vs. magnet sensitivity test to see how silver and various other precious metals react to strong magnetic fields.
We begin with a .999 fine silver gram sample. Notice how it moves away from the magnetic field.
Is Silver Magnetic?
When materials get placed within magnetic fields, forces of the material's electrons will be affected. This effect is scientifically known as “Faraday's Law of Magnetic Induction.” Elements will react quite differently to the presence of an external magnetic field. Each reaction is dependent on the atomic and molecular structure of the material tested, and the overall magnetic field associated with the atoms of the item.
Most materials can be classified as either: diamagnetic, paramagnetic or ferromagnetic.
Diamagnetic materials - such as pure silver and gold have a weak, have small negative susceptibility to magnetic fields. Diamagnetic materials get slightly repelled by magnetic fields (as seen in the video embedded above), and the content does not retain the magnetic properties when the external field gets removed. In diamagnetic materials all the electron are paired so there is no net magnetic field or force per atom. Diamagnetic properties arise from the realignment of the electron paths under the influence of an external magnetic field. The majority of elements in the periodic table, including copper, silver, and gold, are classified as diamagnetic.
Paramagnetic materials - have small, positive susceptibility to magnetic fields (having a slight attraction to magnets). Although a magnetic field slightly attracts these materials, the article does not retain the magnetic properties when the external magnetic field gets removed. Paramagnetic properties are a result of the presence of some unpaired electrons and from the realignment of the electron paths caused by the external magnetic field. Paramagnetic materials include palladium, platinum, rhodium, rhenium, ruthenium, magnesium, molybdenum, lithium, and tantalum.
Ferromagnetic materials - have significant, positive susceptibilities to an external magnetic field. They exhibit a strong attraction to magnetic fields and can retain magnetic properties after the external magnetic field has get removed. Ferromagnetic materials have some unpaired electrons, so their atoms have a net magnetic attraction. They get their strong magnetic properties due to the presence of magnetic domains. When a magnetizing force is applied, the areas become aligned to produce a strong magnetic field within the part. Iron, nickel, and cobalt are examples of ferromagnetic materials.
Is Sterling Silver Magnetic?
If you are testing sterling silver jewelry items such as .925 silver necklaces, it is possible that the clasp or other fasteners may have some ferromagnetic materials and thus parts of it may be attracted to magnets.
For the most part sterling silver silverware and jewelry has copper mixed into its .925 purity to make it harder and more impervious to warping or wear.
Thus most sterling silver and 90% silver coins should be diamagnetic and not attracted to magnets.
The bottom line here is pure silver bullion is not magnetic at all and an excellent way to quickly test to see if a silver product is real and genuine.
The following video shows a few other noninvasive home silver authenticity tests you can apply.
Other Ways to Test if Silver is Genuine
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