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“Chick Advice, Please!”


Description from Mary - Sweet Chick: I need a little help from my friends please!
1) A friend asked me to do a jewelry making presentation for Girl Scout Camp. She asked that I bring a "kit" and show the girls how I put a piece together. Sounds simple enough, but I'll take any advice I can get!
2) I got a great bargain at a yard sale today! I found a 1/4 inch wide, 20 inch, sterling herringbone chain for 25 cents! (Woo Hoo!) I also got 7 or 8 other "silver" pieces but they are not labeled as Sterling or 925. Any idea how I find out if they are sterling or plated?
Thank you!!!!


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Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    Hi, Mary! Great pick! Congrats on your super deal at the yard sale today! I am going to turn the silver advice over to my hubby Bob who knows a lot about this sort of thing as he is a chemist. Here he is!

    1. Since they’re not marked sterling or 0.925, chances are they’re plated.
    2. If it’s plated over steel, then a magnet will attract the piece. That won’t happen with sterling.
    3. If it’s sterling, it’s usually very thin and easily bent. If not, it’s probably plated.
    4. It could be plated over copper, in which case the magnet test won’t tell you anything, but it probably would be thicker and #3 above would apply.
    5. Scraping the surface (if you choose to do that) with sandpaper would also reveal the underlying metal if the piece is not sterling.

    Hope that helps.

    OK — that was Bob! :D

  2. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    I forgot to say I hope you have fun with the Girl Scouts, too, Mary!

    BTW, Bob actually sat here and typed all that himself — he’s such a sweetie! 8)

  3. No Photo
    Mary - Sweet Chick says:

    :-D Thanks Bob! ;-) And you too Lynn!
    I had no idea I’d get such cool and scientific ways to check for sterling!!
    :-D I’ll try those tests in the morning. Right now, it’s time for bed. :-)

    As for the Girl Scout camp, it’s not until July so I have plenty of time. I intend to have lots of fun with the girls!!
    I’d still love to hear any tips!

  4. No Photo
    K H says:

    My rule is that if metal isn’t halmarked (sterling” or “925″, then it’s plated or silver-tone.

  5. No Photo
    Chicky Zee aka Alice says:

    I agree with the above pretty pick!!!

  6. Daisy Chick - Dawn
    Daisy Chick - Dawn says:

    Hi Mary!

    1. You could take the piece to the jewelers, many new PMC pieces are not marked. I have seen pieces stated vintage but in reality are reproductions, just missing the marks.

    2. I would suggest that you decide on piece that you want to make and put all the beads that you want to use in one small container.

    Bring all of the tools, wire and items you will need to put this piece all together. Bring a few exra things to pass around as kids love to touch and explore things.

    I would take an old beading magazine and put in the “how to’s” and glossery in plastic sleeves and put in a notebook/folder for them to look at and pass around.

    Are the girls going to be making anything?

    3. I like the pick, if you use these colors the kids will be drawn to them like magnets.

  7. sunny chick
    sunny chick says:

    Fabulous pick! Love all the vibrant colors.

    I’m no help on identifying the silver. Sorry! :(

    I love Dawn’s tips for your girl scout presentation. How fun that will be! My niece makes “jewelry” by stringing plastic beads onto yarn. I wonder if that is something you could incorporate into your presentation? I don’t think the yarn or the beads cost that much (Joann Fabrics, possibly?). And this would give them something pretty to wear that they made! Best of luck to you! You will have to tell us all about it afterward. :)

  8. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    I also think the girls would really love your presentation even more if it ended with them getting to create a bracelet keepsake of their very own! Something simple, such as a stretchy or MT’s suggestion, would be the best. What fun you’ll have! :D

    BTW, if you do stretchy bracelets, be sure that YOU do the tying for them….. 8O

  9. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    I forgot to say that Dawn’s ideas are really good — children are very tactile when it comes to exploring new ideas — they really love to be “hands-on”! 8)

  10. No Photo
    Mary - Sweet Chick says:

    Thank you everyone! Excellent tips!
    At this time I do not know the “details” of the presentation for the Scouts. Whether they will make their own or I just demonstrate, not sure.

    Lynn Eileen, If I were to have them made their own stretchy bracelets I’ll need your help on that too. I have NEVER had any luck with any type of stretchy cord. Can you give me some good brands or types? The ones I have used so far don’t work for me. The knots don’t stay and any jewelry glue I try to use just melts it. :| Should be the simplest form of jewelry to make. But I can’t do it!!! HeHe! :| Help!

  11. No Photo
    Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick says:

    The girl scout presentation should be a lot of fun. They definitely need to make something of their own. The stretchy bracelet is a great idea. use inexpensive acrylic or glass beads from one of the national chains. (or maybe LB has a ton of 6mm’s or 8mm’s they can let you have really cheap – hint, hint!!!

    I’ve had luck with a surgeon’s knot in beadalon’s “elasticity”. (I googled the surgeon’s knot – it’s like a square but you go through twice. my local shop recommends the the stretchy cord with layers – frays before breaking so you have a warning – haven’t tried it yet.

    by the way – how old are the girls?

  12. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    Mary, I have always used the brand Stretch Magic and had wonderful success with it. The secret (for me) is to tie a double knot and then not cut too closely to the knot or it will come apart. I have never used glue on mine, so I can’t offer any suggestions there. I try to “hide” my knot in a bead hole, if possible. You can also cover the knot with a crimp bead cover, if you don’t want it to show.

    Or I can come with you — you can do the demonstration and I’ll tie the knots!!! LOL

  13. No Photo
    Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick says:

    I wanna come too!

  14. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    That would be fun, Jeanne! :D

    When I was growing up here in Indiana, we went to Girl Scout camp at Camp Dellwood. It was so much fun!!! :D

  15. AllureofGemsGlamJulia
    AllureofGemsGlamJulia says:

    I have a couple of 400 year old silver pendants with no mark but I took it to the jeweler and founf out that they are pricey and .925 Sterling!.

  16. No Photo
    Mary - Sweet Chick says:

    8O Oh my gosh! Lynn and Jeanne! I want you to come! :-D That would be soooooo cool! :-D

    Jeanne, I don’t know the ages of the girls this year yet. I had been wondering the same thing. Have to wait to hear back from the leaders. I did a seminar on backpacking last year for them. They REALLY enjoyed it!! I let them try on my backpack and you could just see the pride and confidence level rise in them while wearing it. It was great!
    Girl Power!!! Yeah!! :-D

    Lynn, I have Stretch Magic too. It’s 1mm in size. I think maybe I was cutting the ends too short. I’ll give it another try. But I wonder, will such a knot hold up to a little girl’s rough handling?
    I’ll also have to find some reasonably priced glass beads. I don’t know how many girls I’ll have yet either.

    Julia!! 400 year old pendants!!! What a treasure! I bet they’re beautiful.
    Can you show them to us sometime? :-)

  17. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    Mary, I’ve had good luck with the .7mm size of Stretch Magic holding its knots — just as long as I don’t cut too close to the knot, which I’ve been known to do more often then I’d like to admit! :( Beads everywhere! 8O

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