I have been told that magnets don't stick to stainless steel. Yet, I have seen permanent magnets sticking to stainless steel. These were small neodymium magnets I purchased from All Electronics. They stick to every kind of stainless steel I could find at home and at work. Ceramic magnets don't. This experiment is one more thing that tells me that experiments should be tried and not just dismissed because theory says something. Also, it's just interesting. I suspect that it's because fairly pure iron exists in small crystals near enough to the surface to be attracted to the magnet. This also tells me that if you want to use a magnet to test whether a sample is stainless or not, either use a weaker magnet or know what you are doing. Ceramic magnets don't stick at all, as far as I can tell. A neodymium magnet will stick and hold up its own weight, but it is easily removed. I doubt there's much call to distinguish between stainless steel and nickel-copper alloys that don't stick even to neodymium magnets.