Metals & Alloys

I wish I had a better space to post this information, especially as it is SO relevant to the items in my shop on Etsy, but I don't.  I'd like to spend more time updating my blogger page, so for now, I'm going to post this here.

I sometimes get asked some pretty important questions about the metals that I use in my chainmaille and other jewelry designs. Yes, I do use metals that contain nickel, but I try very hard to label those in my shop, because many folks have nickel allergies (myself included). Below you will find a list of most of the metals that I use, where they come from & everything that I know about them.

Stainless steel -- the majority of the steel I use is grade 304. Yes, I realize that people seem to like 316L (surgical steel), but 304 actually contains LESS nickel than 316L by a pretty large margin. 304 is 8 - 10% nickel, while 316L has nickel content in the teens (percentage).

Sterling silver -- Sterling silver is 92.5% silver content. The vast majority of the silver I use is made in the USA (the rest is generally Thai silver or Hill Tribes).

Argentium silver -- Argentium silver is a slow or non-tarnishing silver alloy that contains 93.5% silver (slightly higher than the 92.5% silver content of traditional sterling). Argentium is usually called non-tarnishing, but in the right environments, it can tarnish, albeit MUCH more slowly than sterling does. It's the same bright white (maybe a little whiter) color of sterling, with more silver and less tarnish. Argentium is definitely a favorite silver alloy of mine to use!

10k/14k gold --  All of my solid gold comes from the USA, unless otherwise noted. I mostly work with 10k and 14k, but other alloys (like 18k) are an option. 

Gold filled -- Gold filled is usually 1/20th (or 5%) of the total weight in gold bonded to a base metal core (usually copper or brass). Most of my gold filled is 14k/20 (5% of the total weight of the material is solid 14k gold). Sometimes I use 12k/20 as well. I do not generally buy gold filled from anywhere but USA and Canadian dealers -- most of it is from the USA.

Silver filled - Silver filled is similar to gold filled, except it tends to come in 2 varieties -- 1/10th silver by weight or 1/20th. I use both and will try to label it appropriately. Silver filled is bonded to either brass or copper core (I prefer brass cores).

Titanium -- I use mostly grade 5 (alloy TI-AL6-V4). I do sometimes have commercially pure (CP) titanium, as well. Anything CP will be marked as such.

Jeweler's brass - Jeweler's brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Most of my brass is alloy C226.

Jeweler's bronze - Jeweler's bronze is an alloy of copper & tin. Most of what I use is alloy C510.

Plated & everything else - I use many materials to make jewelry. I will often use gold or silver plated copper to make experimental designs, as it is economical, mimics the look and feel of solid gold & silver nicely and produces a finished piece that is actually wearable!

If you ever have a question about the materials that I use, please feel free to ask. I cannot always promise to know the answer (sometimes I lose the information about the source of some materials, and sometimes I simply never had it), but I will give you whatever information that I do have.