I bought some used pendant lights that 3 plastic coated wiring in silver, bronze, and either gold or green. All the wires are silver. I'm assuming the wiring is done that way because the wires are somewhat visible in the hanging sheath. Does anyone know which might correspond to the black/white/grounding wire?


Chandeliers hung on chain and in general have what you are talking about since the cable is going to be exposed and the wiring is visible. We know that the bare wire is the ground. During training to become an electrician you are taught that the neutral is always known as the "identified" wire or it must be identified.

If you look closely at the cordage attached to the fixture you will usually find that one side of the cord one wire has lines or ridges on one side or it may be squared or it may even be a different color (silver) than the hot and the ground. Regardless you will find one wire in the cord that is different or identified. This would be the neutral and of course the normal wire is the hot.

So there you have it, connect the bare wire to the green or bare, connect the identified to the white or nuetral, and connect the last wire to the black or switch leg in the box.

  • If the wires are different from each other and unlike normal romex, which one is “identified”?
    – JDługosz
    Jun 14 '17 at 3:20

Assuming they have screw-in bulbs, the threaded shell should be neutral, and the recessed tip should be hot.

  • 1
    Right. Don't attempt to guess based on the colour or shape of the wires; get a continuity tester and make sure the wires connect to the right places.
    – Jules
    Jun 14 '17 at 4:29

I'd guess that gold is probably hot, silver neutral, and greenish is ground. If you can easily open the fixture and post a photo I could be more confident.

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