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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/What base metals may be contained in this alloy?

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Question
Hello,

I was recently gifted a necklace by a friend which I really like, however with the recent concerns of cadmium and other harmful additives in jewelry, I have been hesitant to trust it.

I have been wearing the necklace for about a week, including during showers and such. It is unstamped, has a bright and shiny white-silver appearance, and has shown no wearing down to a copper color, nor has it caused my skin to turn green or have any other sort of allergic reaction. It is labeled online (she bought it from Rosa Vila Boutique based out of Indiana) as an alloy that is "silver toned", but does not bear any markings as to where it was made (not marked with Made in China or anything else on the packaging).

Do you have any idea whether this would be safe to wear, or what sort of alloy it might be made from? I'm guessing not nickel, since it did not turn my skin green, but I am not an expert in the slightest. Thanks for your time! I appreciate it.

Answer
This will be tricky to answer without some additional testing.
It could be simple stainless steel, which has become popular in making silvery, shiny inexpensive jewelry pieces. A quick home test would be holding a magnet to it. Stainless is NOT magnetic. However, Nickel IS attracted to a magnet.
If you are concerned about possible toxic trace metals I would suggest to contact a local university in your area and see if they have a handheld XRF (X-ray fluorescenct) device. Tell them that you just need a qualitative, non-destructive analysis done on a piece of jewelry you own. The XRF unit will identify the major metals in your piece and will also indicate trace metals in the resulting XRF spectrum. It is totally non-destructive and your jewelry will not be harmed.
Many universities will do this for free or at very nominal cost. We would do it for free for you, but it looks like your are in California and our university is in Colorado. Nevertheless, we do free testing and would send your mailed-in sample back to you. Here is the info: http://college.earthscienceeducation.net/MIN/MINID.pdf  

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

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Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D. (Dr.K)

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning minerals, mineralogy, gems, metals, and anything that has to do with geology. However, I am NOT a jeweler. Questions about values, settings, gem stone cuts and appraisals are best directed to other experts on this site. I can however aide in the identification of unknown mineral materials. As a public service and part as training for new geoscientists, our university department provides FREE mineral identification for individuals. Please contact me for details or go to http://college.earthscienceeducation.net/MIN/MINID.pdf for details..

Experience

I am a professor of applied geology and mineralogy with many hours of field experience. Furthermore, I enjoy recreational gold prospecting and mineral collecting. As a professor I am engaged in research concerning minerals and their occurrence.

Organizations
Member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) as well as the Association of Environmental Geochemists. Member of the GSA (Geologic Society of America) Member of the AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists)

Publications
Here is a small sampling: Mineral-rock handbook: Rapid-easy mineral-rock determination : written for anyone interested in minerals and rocks - Proctor, Peterson, and Kackstaetter;Macmillan Pub. Co. (New York and Toronto and New York) Physical Geology Laboratory e-Manual [CD-ROM], Kackstaetter, Earth Science Education LLC Colorado Front Range Self-guided Geology Field Trips, Kackstaetter, http://www.scribd.com/doc/27175290/Colorado-Front-Range-Self-Guided-Geology-Field-Trips

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Applied Geology and Mineralogy. I am actively teaching courses in mineralogy and a variety of field courses with mineral collecting opportunities. Background in precious metal exploration.

Past/Present Clients
Numerous!

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