About: Jewelry Metal ; Sterling Silver, Stainless Steel, Alloy, Gold, Platinum,
Annealing, Plating, Aluminum, Pewter, Alpacca, Oxidation, Vermeil, etc.
An Alloy is combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewelry are: Gold under 24 K, (had mixed with silver, copper and/or other metals),
Sterling Silver (92.5% silver 7.5% copper), Brass (roughly half copper, half zinc), Bronze (at least 60% copper with tin and perhaps other metals),and Pewter (tin, lead, antimony and a bit of silver or copper).
*Alpaca / Alpacca
Alpaca is an alloy consisting of mostly copper (roughly 60%) and approximately 20% nickel, about 20% zinc, about 5% tin. This metal is a silver substitute.
Aluminum is a light weight silver-white metal. When aluminum was first discovered in the 18th century, it was more valuable than gold. Now inexpensive. Aluminum is used in many alloys. Some inexpensive jewelry was made using aluminum.
Anodized metal has been through an electrochemical process which changes the molecular structure of the surface layer, giving it a thin protective film. In the anodization process, the metal is placed in an acid bath (at the “anode” or positive end of the electrical circuit), and an electrical current is passed through the tank.
This process causes a controlled oxidation of the metal’s surface to occur (oxygen atoms bond to surface atoms of the metal).Aluminum is often anodized, as is magnesium, titanium and tantalum. Anodized has a lustrous sheen; the anodizing process can produce colorful surfaces.
Annealing is the process of heating a metal and then cooling it to make it more workable. As metal is worked (hammered ,rolled, etc) stresses make the metal brittle (the metal molecules are pulled into random structures during the working).
Annealing the metal make the metal recrystallize, putting the molecules in an orderly structure. The temperature (and amount of time it takes) for annealing a metal depends on what metal or alloy it is. Large pieces are annealed in an annealing oven; small pieces are annealed using a blow-torch.
Blue gold is gold with a bluish tinge. It has been alloyed with a mix that includes iron.
*Electroplate or Plating :
Electro plating (also called Galvanotechnics after its inventor, Luigi Galvani) is a process in which one metal is coated with another metal using electricity.
In jewelry, inexpensive metals are frequently electroplated with more expensive metals, like gold (gold plating), copper (electro coppering), rhodium (rhodanizing), chromium (chromium plating), or silver (silver plating).The thickness of the metal coat varies. Electro gilded coating is the thinnest (less than 0.000007 inches thick); gold-cased metals have a coating thicker than 0.000007 inches.
This is just a name, since German Silver or Nickel Silver is not silver at all.
German Silver is an alloy of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. If put 5% of tin in this alloy it is called Alpaca. This alloy was first used in mid 1800s by the Germans as a silver substitute.
Because of its unique quality, this metal is considered the most precious metal.
It is heavy but does not tarnished or corrode, and very durable. Gold is also a good conductor of heat and electricity.
Gold in jewelry is not pure gold anymore. The purity or fineness of gold in jewelry is indicated by its Karat number. 24 Karat ( 24 K or 24 Kt) gold is a pure gold or fine gold and it is greater than 99.7% pure gold.
Anything less than 10K cannot be called gold. The minimum karat standard varies .
In Indonesia minimum 22 K. In Italy and France, 18K is the minimum .In Canada and England the minimum only 9K,in Mexico minimum only 8K.
Gold articles in USA have not to carry a karat or other quality mark. When a karat mark is applied, the manufacturer registered trade mark must be stamped near the karat mark and must be accurate in accordance to federal law.
*Gold Filled (G.F.)
Thin outer layer of gold on a base metal. Example, jewelry marked
Gold-filled is a good metal for a good price. Never misrepresented to costumer as solid gold.
1/20 G.F. 12Kt is at least 1/20th gold and it layered with 12 karat gold. To be classified as gold-filled, a piece must have at least 1/20 gold by weight.
Very thin layer of gold on the surface of a base metal. Usuall y applied by the process of electroplating. Plating makes the layer of gold a much thinner layer than Gold Filled. It is most commonly plated with 10 K gold.
(I had a gold-plated jewelry that can stand the test of time, a royal replica pendant and earrings made by Central Java crafter that had been more three decades old. Still look like a new.
Grey gold is gold that has been alloyed with 15-20% iron.
Green gold is gold that has been alloyed with a higher percentage of silver and copper.
A light weight, tough hypoallergenic refractory metal, usually anodized to produce vivid colors for costume jewelry. Mars easily and cannot be soldered.
Oxidized Java Beads
The naturally occurring chemical process in which oxygen atoms bond to atoms of another material (such as metal), producing a different chemical compound. We are most familiar with oxidizing iron (“rust”) and oxidized silver, which called ‘tarnish”.
Copper turns to green when oxidized, adding an aesthetically pleasing age look to roofs, and other outdoor decorations.
A durable metal related to platinum, palladium has recently been added to the short list of “precious” metal. It is less dense and more malleable than platinum, but has a lower melting point and reacts more readily to acids. Palladium will also develop tarnish when heat is applied.
Palladium used in jewelry in l939 as a substitute for Platinum, which was being used for the war effort. After the war, it was used rarely because there were difficulties working it. When white gold is alloyed with palladium instead of nickel, a grey - white gold is produced. Because palladium has become very useful in an catalytic converters, its price has risen dramatically (more than silver or gold) making it an impractical alternative to platinum.
A film formed naturally on metals through exposure to the elements for an extended period. Oxidation will turn copper and bronze green, silver, black and gold reddish. Patina is a generally thought enrich the value of antiques, but can be artificially produced by the control application of acids or electrolytes to newer objects.
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A soft metal alloy composed mostly of tin, with lead, antimony, bismuth, copper and/or silver added. Polished pewter has a silvery luster. Pewter can easily worked by several different method, the most popular being castings of charms, hammering of larger items and turning on lathe to produce candlesticks or goblet stems.
The process by which one metal is coated with another using electricity. Also known by the term electroplating and Galvano technics - the latter named after the inventor of the process. To produce less costly jewelry components, inexpensive or base metals are coated with a thin layer of precious metal, usually gold or silver. Chromium, copper and rhodium are also electroplated although rhodium is sometimes used a plate.
Very strong, very dense and 60% heavier than gold. Platinum was discovered in Russia in the 18th century. Platinum used in jewelry is usually alloyed with a small percentage of another metal of the platinum group (iridium, osmium, rhodium, ruthenium or palladium) and/or cobalt to increase its malleability. All of the platinum group of metals are rare, with platinum and palladium only slightly more common, and of course they are all expensive.
An inexpensive metal alloy commonly used for costume jewelry. Not used as frequently as in the past, as it nearly always contains a significant amount of lead.
*Precious Metal Clay (PMC?)
Is just what its name implies precious metal on the form of clay. It is
available in pure silver mixed with water and an organic binder (80% fine silver powder,20% water and organic binder) and in 24K gold in a similarly compounded base. It can be rolled, cut, shaped and even extruded from a pastry tube, in other words, just like sculpting clay. Once the shape is made it is fired in a kiln or special oven at temperatures from 1,650 F for silver and to about 1,830F for gold.
One white metal of the platinum family of precious metals. Rhodium is quite expensive and is often used to plate both precious and base metals giving them a hard, platinum- like sheen.
Rose Gold (Pink Gold) is gold with pink tinge. It has been alloyed with a mix 90% copper and 10% silver.
Rolled gold is a very thin sheet of gold that is laminated to a lesser metal (usually brass).The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. The sheet is rolled into a very thin sheet and used to make jewelry or other objects .Jewelry made from rolled gold wear well over time.
A metal alloy consisting of copper, nickel, silver named for the French chemist who invented it in the 1800s.
Silver alloy which contains 800 parts per 1000 (80%) silver and 200 parts per thousand (20%) copper, and is used primarily for casting.
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Like gold, silver is a precious metal, because it is very stable. Doesn’t react easily.
Silver in its pure form is too soft to make jewelry or other items. To make it durable, it has to mix with other metal. Usually silver mix with copper as its best companion, and it make an alloy (mixed metal) as known as Sterling Silver. This alloy (silver and copper) is frequently stamped as “925” silver, indicating the percentage of silver.
As Sterling Silver (SS), that means it contain at least 92.5 percent of pure silver.
In Sterling Silver contain 7.5 percent copper to harden the silver. But it brings a tendency to tarnish, - a darkening that occurs when Sterling Silver reacts with gases in the air or with other substances that contact with. Like chlorine and sulfur compounds forming a new molecule with a dark almost black color. Sterling Silver oxidizes when contact with air, and body fluids.
Copper is not a precious metal because it is less stable and more likely to react with other chemicals forming a molecule like salt.
Stainless steell Chainmaille
*Surgical or Surgical Stainless Steel
A family of low carbon alloy steels usually containing 10-30% chromium. The chromium
provides exceptional resistance to corrosion and heat. Other elements may be added to increase and impart special characteristics. In jewelry, which is sometimes labeled “hypoallergenic” we see it in a few findings, such as ear wires or posts.
Gold plated silver ; or occasionally, gold plated bronze Vermeil has a very rich gold color, usually darker than high-karat gold.
White gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and manganese.
Yellow Gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of 50% copper and 50% silver.
(Sources : Preston Reuther/wire-sculpture.com ; Carly Wickell/About.com ; RossAtelier.com)
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