From the beginning jewelry making metals have been used by different jewerly designers to create sophisticated art jewelry. The most commonly used metals are probably silver and gold.
With today’s scientific and technological advances you can integrate many other alloys into your work.
How do you choose the right metal supplies?
Cost is probably the number one factor.
Another factor that affects your choice is your own personal “jewelry making design eye.” I have always been attracted to silver, so I use mostly silver. I have also learned that you can use a bi-metal (a cheaper alternative to gold). This is a layer of gold over silver. I use it to give interest to my pieces by fusing it with other silver textured pieces.
One more item to factor into your decision is the Learn about the properties of jewelry making tools and jewelry making equipment you own or want to invest in.
What do I mean by this?
Although most tools and equipment works with all types of jewelry making metals, some require a different process. You will learn more about this on my jewelry making techniques and instructions page .
Metals have a variety of alloys that when added together provide the unique properties of each one. Are you bored yet? I promise I will not spend a lot of time drilling you about this particular issue. However, remember the more you know the more MONEY you save.
Silver has the highest thermal conductivity and when it is at a purity of 99.9%, it is lustrous and soft.
Sterling-Silver is an alloy containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other components, usually copper.
Most high quality silver items are stamped with a “fineness” or “quality” mark. This mark designates the content of the jewelry, and under federal law, must be accompanied by a maker’s mark or registered trademark.
Argentium silver is a tarnish resistant silver and firescale free. It is perfectly malleable once annealed, and is almost twice as hard as traditional sterling silver.
Not Everything that Shines is Gold
What we know as pure gold is 24 Karats, that is the reason for the high price on pieces made with 24K.
The solution to making gold consumer-friendly is to mix it with another material, creating an alloy that results in a stronger and frequently less-expensive piece.
Carats (also written as karats and abbreviated as kt) are the measure of the ratio of gold to other metals contained within the alloy. The more gold an alloy contains, the higher the caratage is.
Gold jewelry alloys typically span a range from 8 to 18 carats. An 8 carat alloy means that the gold content is 1/3 and an 18 carat piece is 75% gold. Other common caratages of gold jewelry alloys are 10 kt and 14 kt.
Now that you are familiar with the different types of jewelry making metals, you can begin to enhance your designs. Good luck!