Many jewelry designers would want to make jewelry using different types of metals wonder on which metals would bring the best returns. Finding the perfect piece of jewelry presented with various metals can be quite tasking. Well, all jewelry designers must understand the difference between base metals and precious metals. Let us dive in to understand what base metals and precious metals are and get which of these is the best choice.
What are precious metals? These metals are considered to be of high end-value in society due to their rarity and high economic value. Precious metals come in a wide range and designers have a variety of precious metals to choose from. They include Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver, Gold Vermeil (Gold plated over sterling silver). Some precious metals such as Gold, Silver, and Platinum are noble metals. This means that they are highly resistant to corrosion.
Gold is soft and malleable. For this reason, it is mixed with other metals like silver or zinc to make solid and wonderful jewelry pieces that can be worn for a longer period. Gold is cherished by most designers and is used for making jewelry designs in wedding rings, earrings and necklaces.
Don’t you love sterling silver? It is versatile, has a stunning look, and is cherished by a vast majority because of these. Not only that, it is the best option for people on a budget because it is affordable than gold. Jewelry designers find it great for everyday use because of its durability and it does not react with the skin.
Vermeil is a precious metal owing to its composition, gold, and silver. A gold layer is applied to sterling silver to make vermeil. The gold layer used in making vermeil jewelry in the United States must be of high quality. The minimum purity must be 14k with a thickness not less than 2.5 microns. Vermeil has no allergies since it is made of hypoallergenic metals. It is durable and the jewelry pieces created from vermeil look like solid gold.
Gold plated jewelry is also just like vermeil. However, the difference comes in on the base metal used in gold plating. The base metal could be brass or copper, which is low quality than silver. Unlike vermeil, there are no specific requirements set for gold plated jewelry, and the gold layer may be less than 2.5microns.
Platinum is becoming a popular choice for jewelry designers because of its beauty and physical properties. It is silvery-white, highly durable, and can be mixed with other metals. Besides, it is resistant to tarnish, making it ideal for making rings, bracelets and everyday jewelry. However, Platinum is extremely rare and therefore pricier than other metals.
This metal is also silvery-white in color, just like Platinum. Jewelry designers fancy it because of its color, density, hardness and tarnish-resistant nature. For designers looking to make lighter pieces of jewelry that require low maintenance, Palladium would be an excellent choice. Furthermore, its price is affordable than Platinum.
Base metals are an excellent choice for jewelry, though they are not precious metals. They are a mixture of few metals that are combined to form one base metal for jewelry. Metals that are durable and commonly used as base metals include copper, aluminum, tin, zinc, nickel, and lead. It is important to note that base metals can be plated. However, the plating wears out eventually, and replating may be needed. For jewelry designers who need to make desirable jewelry that is super affordable, base metal is the way to go. Let us have a look at a few of the base metals.
This metal is soft and does not rust. Besides, you can add custom colors to aluminum. However, when aluminum comes into contact with oxygen and water, it oxidizes. The oxidized layer then forms a layer preventing the aluminum from further corrosion, which is good news!
Copper is a soft metal and has a bright reddish-orange color. Because it is a highly reactive metal, it darkens and gains patina. It discolors the skin when worn in jewelry designs like a wedding or engagement ring and tight-fitting bracelets.
Nickel is an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel and is usually silver in color. However, it has no sterling silver component whatsoever. Jewelers find nickel components attractive because it costs less than sterling silver. Though jewelers and jewelry designers need to be aware that it may cause allergic reactions in some people. The law provides regulations on nickel’s use in jewelry.
Lead has been used to make jewelry pieces despite being a heavy and toxic metal, being that it is a cheap base metal. It does not degenerate therefore harmful to the environment. Also, it is harmful to human beings when ingested as lead accumulates in the human body. Jewelers are advised to comply with the strict laws by maintaining a low percentage of lead weight in their designs.
No. it is not a precious metal. It doesn’t matter how good the plating is done, it will eventually fade out and you will end up with a piece of worthless brass jewelry with an ugly faded gold plating.
Gold-filled jewelry is 5% of the total weight of gold bonded to copper/brass core. So, 95% of the jewelry is still base metal. A gold-filled layer will last much longer than most gold plating. However, it is still not considered a precious metal. Also, gold-filled jewelry can only be made from gold-filled sheets or wires, it cannot be made from casting. It imposes relatively high restrictions on the design.
A list of the 8 most used bails in jewelry making along with pictures, descriptions, and links to the products.
Sliding beads are the perfect finding for jewelry makers who want their pieces to be customizable and unique. This is due to the sliding beads inner silicone layer that has the ability to grip and clutch chain but allows for the bead to be repositioned easily. The silicone provides the flexibility to change the length and style of a necklace or bracelet and can eliminate the need for a clasp. A designer does not need to be limited to using chain, as wire and leather work well with sliding beads also. The bolo style bracelet and necklace are the perfect example of the sliding bead’s capabilities.
Below are pictures demonstrating the bolo style with a sterling silver sliding bead:
The above pictures display how a sliding bead can be used to change the style and length of a necklace. The sliding bead or chain getting repositioned results in 3 different looks.
You can find our wholesale sterling silver sliding bead by following this link: http://www.azfindings.com/sterling-silver-findingssliding-beads-with-silicone-double-hole-stopper-beads-1-piece
Basic Skills - Connector Charms
Connector charms and links are ver popular, versatile findings in jewelry making. They can be found in all sorts of shapes, sizes, embellishments and stone bezels. They are also very simple and easy to use so knowing these basic skills can enhance your ability to design and create beautiful jewelry.
Materials: Connector charm (SKU: 201271), 3.5mm 20 gauge jumprings, 4.5mm 20 gauge jumpring, 9mm lobster clasp, chain ( 101011)
Tools: Bent chain nose pliers (501006), wire chain cutters (501007)
Step 1: Open 3.5mm jumpring, loop through chain end and connector ring on charm. Grip jumpring with bent chain nose pliers and twist until closed. Ensure there is no gap where ring closes.
Step 2: Mesure chain to desired length. This chain was cut to 10.5" ( anklet), be sure to include additional findings being used such as clasp and jumprings.
Step 3: Cut the chain in half ( for a centered charm), or elsewhere depending on your design.
Step 4: Connect the loose chain with the connector charm using 3.5mm 20 gauge ring.
Step 5: Add clasp to chain, open ring and loop onto chain end. Close ring.
Step 6: Add ending jumpring, 4.5mm 20 gauge ring to other the end of the chain. Open ring, loop through chain and close.
AZ Findings Team
How to use a Beading Chain
Materials: 1mm tiny curb chain (101001), tube ends ( 213001), clasp, beads
Tools: Bent chain nose pliers, chain cutters
Using a beading chain is at the very base of basic skills in jewelry making and beading. When doing projects and creating designs that use beading chains the main components to keep in mind is the findings, chains and beads using and ensuring the sizes all coordinate. When working with such small components even a fraction of a millimeter can make a difference in the whether or not the pieces are compatible.
A beading chain is a chain that can fit through the hole of a bead. As both beads and chains come in many different shapes and sizes, this definition leaves a lot of room for variation between the chain and bead used. Typically man made beads have larger holes than natural stone beads. This is due to the fact that most natural beads are originally sold by weight, so when cutting a hole into the bead, the manufacturer wants to keep as much of the stone or pearl there as possible.
This tutorial is a very basic demonstration on how to finish a beading chain.
Step 1: Cut chain to desired length
Step 2: Grip the center of the tube end with the bent chain nose pliers, feed chain into the tube and squeeze. Squeeze a couple times ensuring the tube end is closed onto the chain. Gently tug to ensure it is securely fastened. ( Note: do not grip the tube end too close to the ends, centralize the tip of the pliers)
Step 3: String beads onto chain
Step 4: Grip second tube end, feed chain into tube and squeeze. Gently tug to ensure it is securely fastened.
Step 5: Open ring on spring ring clasp by just twisting open, loop ring onto the closed ring of the tube end. Close ring on clasp by twisting closed.
AZ Findings Team
Adding an extender Chain
Material: 101014 2 inch extender ( 3x4 mm strong cable chain), 20 gauge 4mm jumpring, chain for anklet (101003), lobster clasp
Tools: Chain nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers
Adding an extender chain to a finished bracelet or necklace can make a big difference in the finished product. Some necklaces, for instance, are purchased with layering in mind so the wearer may want to change the length of the necklace while pairing it with different chains. Perhaps a necklace or bracelet just does not fit quite right or you are looking for a way to add a little something extra to the piece. Extender chains have multiple purposes and can enhance the allure of the piece. An extender chain should be wide enough for the clasp to grip onto it, but not too thick or heavy. Ideally a cable chain 3x4 or 4x4mm wide.
Step 1: Cut the extender chain to your desired length, approximately 1-2 inches. If you would like, you can add a tiny charm, bead or pearl to the end of the extender.
Step 2: Identify the end of the chain opposite the closing clasp. If is it an open jump ring, open it. If it is soldered close, add another jump ring.
Step 3: Add the extender chain to the open ring, and close up the ring.
Now your chain can be close up to 1-2inch long than the primary length.