August 1, 2012

Metals I use

Doing local markets over a month now, there were a lot Italian customers asked me about the metals I used in my designs. So I thought it could be helpful for anyone when choosing metal jewelry to wear if I put some details and care information together.

The metals used in my current designs are 14k Gold-filledSterling SilverBrass and Copper.
  • 14k Gold-filled is 14ct gold bonded to brass and that 1/20th of the volume is gold and 19/20th’s are brass. It is much more durable than gold plating. Goldfilled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through.
  • Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of copper. Sterling silver is going to tarnish when it is exposed in the air over time. Many things cause silver to tarnish, including wool, rubber latex, some perfumes, onions, eggs and the natural oils from our hands. According to my own experience, it tarnishes less when worn all the time than it does laying around.
  •  Brass is an alloy that made of copper and zinc. The sheen of brass, golden appearance, can be very attractive. But it is very easy oxidation and changing colors. Many people will allergic to brass.
  • Copper is beautiful and malleable metal. It appears warm red color when it’s new and turns to brown-black copper oxide when exposed in the air. Normally, I don’ seal the metals with any chemical wax, so they will get a natural patina over time. Copper may cause allergic and turns skin green for some people depending on the body conditions.
Against Tarnish (A tarnished piece doesn’t bother me much. I clean it or live with it.)
There are two ways to against tarnish, keeping your jewelry in anti-tarnish bag which you can find in most jewelry stores and having a piece of silver-polishing cotton handy. You can rub tarnished metals back to shine again with silver-polishing cotton.
Do NOT use the silver-polishing cotton to oxidize silver jewelry(like the “following my heart” ring shown above), you will ruin the oxidization and change the style of the pieces. Normally, just leave the oxidized silver jewelry in warm water mixed with dish-washing liquid for about 15mins and dry it gently with soft towel. Don’t rub it, as it will remove the oxidization.
Good luck to find the metal you love.
P.S. I love silver the most. And in Italy a lot of my customer in the local market adore to have  a copper piece and they don’t mind about the green skin things. It can be wash off easily with soap.

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