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Neodymium Magnets For Treasure Hunting

Updated on March 18, 2013
Neodymium magnet on a bracket from a computer hard drive
Neodymium magnet on a bracket from a computer hard drive | Source

One of my most valuable tools as a picker is the Neodymium magnet. I can't say for sure if this is the most powerful magnet that you can carry in your pocket, but it is certainly one of them and it is definitely the cheapest and easiest to obtain. These magnets are very powerful and are an absolute must have for any serious picker. There are many reasons why I always carry one of these and in this hub I will discuss the reasons why i feel that you should always have one in your pocket too.

What are they for? They are most commonly found in computer hard drives. I am not a computer wiz, so I don't know all of the technical details about exactly what they do, but I can say that they are very powerful and that Neodymium is a rare earth metal. They fit very easily in your hand and pocket, but I would keep them away from any electronic device because they can destroy electronics very easily. They are very powerful and detect even small amounts of metal in an item.


Super Powerful Magnets Destroying Stuff!

Where can you get them? The best place to get these magnets is Ebay. You can buy them in bulk very reasonably. The reason I would go to Ebay is because you want to have at least a few of them. I have lost several of these because they get stuck to metal and then I lose them! Other people take them too because they are interesting and useful. If you buy a pile of them, then you should not have to worry about this problem.

Alternatively you can go to a computer repair shop. I know a local shop where the guy stockpiles them when he breaks down old computers. If you can find a shop that keeps them, then you should be able to get a large supply of them cheap. It's good to make connections with people like this if you are interested in other lucrative business opportunities involving buying and selling computer parts, which is something I will discuss in the future.

You can get neodymium magnets for free if you can get your hands on an obsolete hard drive.
You can get neodymium magnets for free if you can get your hands on an obsolete hard drive. | Source

What do I use my magnet for? I use this magnet as a quick check to determine if sterling or gold jewelry is real or fake. While this does not guarantee that the jewelry is real gold or silver, it will guarantee if the item is magnetic or very low purity. Sometimes you will come across jewelry that is marked 925 but sticks firmly to a magnet. Without your magnet, you can make the costly mistake of trusting the markings. Generally speaking, it is uncommon to find a whole lot of fake 925 jewelry, but it does exist and people do cheat on purity. You may find something marked 925 that is actually only .800 purity or less. Many countries have brutal penalties for producing fake gold and silver jewelry, so while very profitable for them, it can be very risky. When you are in a thrift shop, this is the quickest way to verify if an item is an outright fake.

Another use for this magnet is for testing the purity of brass items. There are a lot of very nice brass collectible pieces out there, and you want to be sure you are getting the real deal. By having this magnet, you can tell if an item is high quality brass or if it is cheap brass. Cheap brass won't sell for as much, and if you decided at some point to scrap it, you won't get paid a brass price for it at a scrapyard.

You can also test for stainless steel. Some serving trays or plates are marked stainless steel, but the high quality ones that have a high nickel content will have zero pull with a magnet. If you are a scrapper as well as a picker and dealer, you will want to be able to recognize high grade stainless steel from low grade, because the price difference is a lot if you have a buyer for high grade stainless steel.

Familiarize different types of metals with their magnetic qualities. Each type of metal has different magnetic qualities. Learning how to recognize each one will help you in learning how to tell what you are dealing with. You can learn how to tell when you have an item made of cast aluminum, pot metal, zinc, pewter, and lead. This is always good to know if you are a scrapper or want to learn how to become one. Even if you don't want to learn how to become a scrapper, it will help you connect a brand to an item composition. Some items are copper plated, but magnetic underneath. Some brands only make solid copper and some brands always copper plate their items. You won't want to buy an item thinking it is copper when it is just plated underneath. Without scratching an item, you can now see if it is solid copper or brass.

If you don't have a Neodymium magnet yet, what are you waiting for? Go get some, or better yet a whole bunch!

I hope you enjoyed this hub! If you liked it would you subscribe for more? Do you love treasure hunting, selling on Ebay, or just learning about cool vintage stuff? Check out my youtube channel for tons of videos about my adventures and hauls as well as tips, tricks, and countless bits of information!

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    • Goody5 profile image

      Goody5 

      5 years ago from Bohville, USA, Just below the Mason-Dixon line in the land of the pleasant living

      I'll back you up on this one. These are some very powerful magnets. I took apart an old hard drive & my magnet looks exactly like the one you have pictured above in this hub.

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