May 06, 2014
Quality Materials Make the Difference
A smart shopper knows that at least some jewelry should be an investment, not just a passing fad or dime store purchase. So I'd like to go over some of the basics of materials that are included in my creations or can be included in a piece designed for you.
Starting with the better items that I use in wrapping jewelry, here are the details on the silver and gold-fill wire -
Argentium Silver - To simplify the definition of Argentium, I'll begin by say that it's still sterling with the added benefit of being less tarnish resistant than the old formula. This is accomplished by replacing some copper with germanium. When it comes to actually making jewelry, it 'works' the same as sterling except that it does not reticulate or form firescale. Bottom line: Good for the you, the buyer / good for me, the jewelry maker.
14/20 Gold-Fill - By law, when a product is marked with the fraction 14/20, it means that the item must contain 1/20 of 14 karat gold with relation to the brass fill/ore (5%). With relation, if a product is named or stamped 12/20, it is made of 1/20 of 12 karat gold. The purity of gold karat is determined by the amount of pure gold in a product.
Although a lower quality of gold filled may be less expensive, the color is why I personally make my choice. 14/20 has a more rich, gold color, while a lower value such as 12/20 is more yellow or brassy. Customers seem to like the fact that 14/20 gold-filled jewelry "matches" and wears like their 14k pieces, and love that it is more affordable!
Copper - Although many jewelers scoff at the thought of working with copper, I happen to love it. Copper brings back the spirit of our Native Indians and is simply a beautiful metal, especially when combined with natural stone. There's too much to write here, so hope you will find the separate Copper in Jewelry page of interest.
Gold-, Silver-, Copper-Plated - Items have an industry standard of 0.15 to 0.25 mils thickness of gold, silver, copper or nickel which is plated to the surface of a base metal (usually copper or brass). Most jewelry making hobbyists prefer to make their investments along this line as opposed to the more expensive gold and silver.
Crystals & Glass
Swarovski - Since 1895, Swarovski has continued to revolutionize the fashion world, becoming the world’s leading producer of precision-cut crystal for fashion and jewelry. Today, the company, still family-owned and run by 5th generation family members, has a global reach with some 25,000 employees, a presence in over 120 countries and a turnover in 2012 of 2.38 billion Euros. So you see .. there's a reason they're at the top.
Czechoslovakian Glass - Preciosa Czechoslovakian glass bead are renowned for their excellent craftsmanship with vividly colored glass that resists fading. The Krewe of Rex introduced Czech beads to Mardi Gras parade goers in the 1880’s, and we personally remember catching them in the early 1970’s. Whether they were discontinued because of politics or economics, we don’t know; but we choose to honor those days by creating a jewelry line designed with Czech glass, but utilizing today’s sophisticated design and technologies.
I believe these components put my creations step above most and hope you will agree. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.