Learn about jewelry materials such as Argentium silver, which I use to make my handmade jewelry.
I use a wide variety of precious metals, crystals, stones and other materials in my jewelry making. Learn more about different type of jewelry materials.
.925 Sterling Silver
.925 sterling silver is the traditional standard for silver. It is called .925 because it is an alloy that is 925 parts out of a thousand silver. It is allowed for the other 75 parts to be other metals (usually copper) to enhance its strength, because pure silver is very soft and is not structurally strong enough for many jewelry applications. .925 sterling silver has both the fine glow of silver and the durability for everyday wear.
Argentium® Silver - Tarnish-Resistant, Nickel-Free Sterling Silver
Tarnish has long been the downside of sterling silver jewelry, but no more! Peter Johns, of Argentium® Silver Co. Ltd. in the United Kingdom, has developed the new Argentium® Sterling Silver that is genuine sterling silver and it's super tarnish-resistant and nickel-free! Jewelry made from Argentium® sterling silver will not tarnish like traditional sterling silver jewelry. It almost seems like a miracle.
Antique Silver is base metal plated with antiqued silver.
Gunmetal is base metal plated with gunmetal dark to black plating or occasionally is solid gunmetal.
I use crystals and gem stones extensively in my jewelry creations. The most popular crystals I use are clear quartz crystals, but I also use crystals of all kinds, such as aqua aura, citrine, tourmaline, and others. When possible the crystals I use are natural crystals, that have only been cleaned since they were mined from countries around the world. Sometimes, as in the case of stones that are not normally available as 100% natural -- such as Turquoise, which is normally stabilized -- I will use stones with common industry accepted enhancements that are considered permanent. Some of the crystals I use are cut or polished, and in these cases I know of, I make that clear in the description of the stones in the jewelry. You can also learn more about crystals and minerals here.
Dichoric glass was originally created for the space and laser industries, and was developed extensively by NASA. The word dichroic means "two colors" because of the two or more colors that the glass reflects and transmits. Each piece of dichroic glass is a unique individual. When combined with individual handcrafted sculptured settings, this makes for a truly one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.
One type of jewlery I make is "collage" or "green" jewelry, which is handcrafted jewelry from bits of jewelry or beads that I've "found". I may have picked up some of the pieces at an estate sale or a shop, and I'm not always able to definitely identify the components, although I do my best. I found the bits and they were so interesting to me that I used them to make a collage piece that is unique in itself. Because of it's nature, collage jewelry is always one of a kind.
Gold Filled 14 Karat & Gold Jewelry
We all know that gold is not inexpensive, and these days the spot price is out of this world. So when gold jewelry is requested, I use an economical alternative that keeps a solid layer of 14 karat gold in contact with your eyes and skin! 14 karat gold filled is the affordable solution. By law, it has 1/20th by weight layer of 14 karat gold permanently bonded over a core of base metal. It has far more gold than the few microns coating of gold in gold plate, a hundred or more times the amount of gold, actually. Under normal wear with reasonable care that you would give any precious metal jewelry, 14KGF jewelry will not peel or flake and can be treasured as heirloom pieces. It is tarnish-resistant like solid 14 karat gold and is safe for most people with sensitive skin who can wear solid 14 karat gold jewelry. Caring for 14 Karat Gold Filled jewelry is as easy as caring for other precious metal jewelry, too. So all in all, 14K gold filled jewelry is a long lasting, economical way to enjoy the luster of gold without the big price tag.
Lab Created & Simulant Gems
Occasionally I choose to use lab created stones or simulants in order to offer a large gemstone at a reasonable price. Lab created stones are the same chemical composition as their natural counterparts, but are grown in a lab rather than in the ground. Simulants are man-made stones that are created to simulate a natural stone, usually the more expensive precious stones. I will let you know in the description of my jewelry if I am aware that a piece uses lab created stones or simulants, so that you can be informed in all your jewelry choices.
"Lead Free" - CA Class 2 Pewter
This is class 2 pewter with 1.5% or less lead by weight as required by stringent California law unless otherwise noted.
Niobium and Titanium
Niobium and titanium wire are space age metals that are non-reactive, contain no nickel, and are considered truly hypoallergenic. Both metals are a steely type grey, but can be anodized to many different colors. The anodized colors will not fade, but can be scratched off, as they are surface colorations.
Silver filled is a quality jeweler's metal that is .925 or better Sterling Silver over a brass core. It has a ot more sterling silver than silver plated. This combines the economy of a base metal with the glow of Sterling Silver. The Silver filled I use is 1/10 by weight so that the sterling silver layer on the outside of the wire is a full tenth of the weight of the wire. Like gold filled, with reasonable care it can last for many years.
An economical alternative to solid sterling silver, this has a plated layer of solid silver over base metal or other material.
Gold Plated or Gold Tone
An economical alternative to the expense of karat gold, this has a plated layer of gold over base metal.