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Testing Jewelry as Science Project

Hello, I am in the 8th grade and doing a science fair project on body piercing. I wrote to a MadSci network about finding out how to do some type of testing on jewelry. I have to do some type of science testing for my project. The MadSci network said to contact a metallurgist or chemist, or a jeweler, they said that jeweler's are always doing testing on gold, silver, platinum, and stainless steel and that is what most of the body piercing jewelry is made of. So I was wondering if you could help me? I need some type of idea on how to test jewelry. So please try and help me as soon as you can.

Brandy S.
- Sheffield Lake, Ohio

Ed. note, added 10/8/04: It's too late to help Brandy with her report, and it may be beyond her age range anyway, but ...

A major issue for body piercing is that a large percentage of people are allergic to nickel whereas nickel is a very common alloying material in gold jewelry. So testing gold piercing jewelry for the presence of nickel sounds like an entertaining science project, good for both practicality and public education. Nickel testing kits are available from a couple of sources for under $20 including And a local dermatologist might just have one if you're looking for a donation to the school science department :-)


What kind of testing do you want to do? Are you interested in how the metal may react in the body? If so, you could try to simulate the chemical environment of one or more different parts of the human body area and expose the metal to see how it reacts. You will need to do some research to find out about the chemical environments created by the body to in the areas where piercings may be done. You may also find some interesting information on materials for piercing if you do some research. Get a teacher, a librarian, or your parents to help you with your research. A good librarian at your public or in a larger town nearby can be a great resource. But don't wait until the last minute, it may take a few days to send off for some of the good stuff. It will also take a while to do the tests. Good luck.

larry hanke
Larry Hanke
Minneapolis, Minnesota


If you want to test jewelry especially gold you need Black stones mostly found in the river it must be smooth, nitric acid concentrated, ash of cigarette, rub the jewelry in the stone as hard as you can, apply acid if it do not change color put ash . 24k dull and slidy 22k visible 18k change in color after adding ash 14k change in color it become grayish.

John Ross Esturco
pawnshop - Philippines

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