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Lori and Kim
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Author Topic: Stainless Steel Chain Problem  (Read 885 times)
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« on: June 15, 2015, 06:24:36 PM »

I have bought stainless steel chains from a reputable supplier in UK, not cooksons who do sell them but they are more expensive than where I got mine, perhaps that should have alerted me.

A customer told me that hers had made her neck go green, I was horrified so started experimenting with the chain. I put a sample in the tumbler and tumbled for 24 hrs but it was still shiny steel colour. I tried filing the surface and got a coppery colour on one of the styles but not the other 2. I then tried another bit of each with my blowtorch to burn off any plating, a copper colour emerged on all of them

So, before I complain and return the whole lot (apart from those sold) is there any chance that stainless steel can behave like this?
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mizgeorge
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 06:30:48 PM »

sounds like silver plating over copper or brass (likely to be brass). I'd be complaining Wink
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 07:20:51 PM »

Thank you George, I'm fuming, I just wanted to check before I cause upset. I wont name the company on here publicly but I really want to! They are long established and in the same area as my usual supplier for all things 925...

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JKC
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 08:12:39 PM »

I bought the ones from cooksons, one broke whilst just on my display,.  They looked awful, I have never sold any.  Janet
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mizgeorge
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 09:04:26 PM »

I'm always happy to make up good quality stainless chains if anyone needs them. I have trace or ball options in two different sizes and can make them in any length you need, but they won't be quite as cheap as some of the imports.

edited to say, they're actually comparable or cheaper than Cooksons...
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 07:52:00 AM »

My issue has been buying enough chains for every pendant on display and on sale or return in galleries, I was trying to keep costs down, think this has been foolish as I have just calculated the total silver cost in one of my pendants and its way lower than I'd mentally reckoned, I can afford a chain and still make what I thought I was making!

I think I'm going to just do sterling silver for the galleries then offer pendants with / without chains at fairs. I also make leather with sterling ends but they are so untidy to display. Anyone got suggestions on how to display chains / leather in a tidy way?
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JKC
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 11:52:09 AM »

I sell my chains separately, I keep a stock of 16",18" and 20", you have to remember to price them to include the costs if sold through a gallery or shop or they end up costing you money, the little bit extra I make on selling them myself covers the cost of keeping a large stock of them and postage etc and keeps the cost the same as the shops and galleries don't like to be undersold.  I sell a lot of pendants without them.  The galleries generally pay upfront so all pendants there come with chains.   I also make my bails bigger so that they can be worn with small pearls, crystals, etc, giving more options that just a chain.   It is very expensive keeping a decent enough stock of chains and boxes, every time you think you are making money, you have to buy more. :-) Janet
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 01:11:57 PM »

It is very expensive keeping a decent enough stock of chains and boxes, every time you think you are making money, you have to buy more. :-) Janet

So true!
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Andy Davies
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2015, 12:48:52 PM »

Hi, I hope youíve got this resolved by now as even reputable traders can be supplied with duff goods but they should reimburse you.

The only non-destructive test I can think of is to see if itís magnetic. A lot of stainless steel is very magnetic and can be detected with any old magnet.  Even some of the so called non-magnetic stainless steels are partially magnetic, but to detect this you need a powerful neodymium magnet for the non-magnetic types and it may not be conclusive with thin wire. 
If the chain is in anyway magnetic then it could be stainless steel but itís not copper, brass, silver or gold.   

You say when you heated the chain it took on a copper colour, this could just be oxidation of stainless steel. If you get copper very hot it will produce a beautiful green-blue flame. (without your colour filter safety glasses on,) whereas when stainless steel is heated it wonít give any significant colour change to the flame.

You should easily be able to melt copper wire or chain with your bead torch whereas unless itís very thin it will be hard to melt stainless steel without an oxyacetylene gas mix.

If you can cut a scallop the chain with a scalpel that might suggest that itís copper or another soft metal, whereas it should be quite difficult to cut a scallop out of stainless steel.

If you have a good loop (times 20 is better than times 9) when you cut the wire with clean cutters, if the end of the wire looks a copper colour then it probably is copper but make sure that you arenít transferring traces copper from previous work from the cutters to the wire under test.

One other test for stainless steel is to see if it produces sparks when ground on a grinding wheel, the grinding wheel needs to be big/fast enough to produce sparks from say a nail or steel bolt when ground.  A small handheld grinding stone may not be fast enough to produce sparks. Copper, brass, silver or gold wonít produce any sparks at all, so if it sparks itís not silver. Mind your fingers if you try this, use pliers or better still, fold the chain over the end of a bit of wood so as to apply the chain to the grindstone.

   I hope that helps, but I guess if it turns your clients neck green itís a pretty good indication that itís not precious metal.

           Kind Regards  . . . Andy   

   
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Andy Davies
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2015, 06:49:31 PM »

Wow Andy, as usual your answer goes well and truly above and beyond, and yet in a way that is perfectly understandable.
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Enchanted Cobwebs
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 05:39:08 AM »

Thank you Andy! I'm sticking with sterling I think unless I find some really good quality stainless steel. Got a refund but no apology other than 'sometimes they get white plated k in place of stainless steel but no one has ever complained before.....'
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