Frequently Asked Questions - Materials
Information about the different materials we use
Solid gold rings are just that, rings made completely out of gold. However, solid gold is very soft and very expensive, so Amy will only work with that upon special request with a deposit.
Gold filled rings are made from a solid gold tube that is permanently bonded to a brass wire. Gold filled rings are at least 5% gold by weight of the ring and are very durable - you get the strength of brass and the shine of gold - and a fraction of the cost of solid gold. Because the gold is permanently bonded to the brass, you can expect the gold to last forever and not wear or chip away.
Gold plated is a process of coating a base metal with gold. This coating is very thin and because it's not permanently bonded to the base metal, can easily chip off or wear away. Gold plating is cheaper in cost that gold filled, but is much less durable as well. Because of its lack of durability, Amy does not work with gold plated rings.
Enameling is the coating of a metal with a non-metallic substance - plastic in the case of enameled copper.
Plating is a thin coating of a metal on another metallic substance - such as silver plated copper.
Anodizing changes the surface of a metal through an electrochemical process without changing the composition of the metal.
Niobium and titanium are anodized by sending an electric current through the metal. This current creates and oxide layer on the surface of the metal. The amount of Voltage determines the thickness of the oxide layer which also determines the color.
Aluminum is anodized by sending an electric current through the metal; however, unlike niobium and titanium, this current does not create an oxide layer. Instead, it creates tiny holes in the surface of the metal. The amount of Voltage determines the size of the hole created. The size of the hole determines what color pigment will fit in that hole - each color is made of tiny blobs of a certain size. After the pigment has been applied a protective coating is applied to help lock in the pigment and protect it from the elements.
Niobium is a lightweight metal that in its raw form has a dark grey/silver color. It is hypoallergenic and can be anodized for a range of colors. It is hypoallergenic so can be a good alternative to stainless steel (containing nickel) or copper, bronze or brass.
Bronze is an alloy of copper (90% or more copper) and tin. Bronze has a redder color than brass and is harder and more durable than copper. Because of the copper, bronze will tarnish over time but can be cleaned to restore its original finish.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. There are two main types of brass - yellow brass and red brass (also called jeweler's brass). Amy uses red brass which is about 85-87% copper and 13-15% zinc. Brass will tarnish over time but can be cleaned to restore its shine and color.
Stainless steel is a steel alloy that does not rust or corrode and is compose primarily of iron with 18-20% chromium and 8-10% nickel. Stainless steel is shiny but with a slightly darker hue than aluminum or silver that will darken over time. Because stainless steel contains nickel, those with nickel allergies usually cannot wear stainless steel.
The copper rings we use are 99.9% copper. Copper will tarnish over time turning a reddish brown and eventually green if left unchecked. Enameled copper is copper that has been coated in a colored plastic and also prevents tarnishing. However, because enameling is a plastic coating of the wire, this coating can be scratched if care is not taken.
Aluminum is an element that is very common; however, the aluminum rings we use are an alloy of aluminum (at least 92.9%) and manganese with trace amounts of chromium, copper, iron, silicon, zinc manganese, and/or titanium. Bright aluminum is how we refer to it in its natural, un-dyed state and has a silvery color. Usually aluminum is dull but bright aluminum rings are brought to a high polish through tumbling. Anodized aluminum rings are rings that have been placed in a electrolytic chemical bath with special dyes and had an electrical current applied. Anodizing aluminum chemically binds the dye to the aluminum and actually makes the aluminum harder.
Regardless of if it's bright or anodized, aluminum jewelry is very light and durable if properly cared for.
Fine silver is pure silver, 99.9% silver. Fine silver does not tarnish, but is soft and is not suitable for chain maille unless the rings are soldered.
Sterling silver is a silver alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The copper makes the silver harder and more durable but also causes the silver to tarnish over time. Amy works almost exclusively with sterling silver for silver pieces.
Argentium sterling silver is also a silver alloy like sterling silver. Argentium sterling silver is at least 92.5% silver and a combination of copper and germanium. Argentium sterling silver does not tarnish. Amy does not normally work with Argentium sterling silver, but can upon request.
Most of our jewelry is made with either aluminum, copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, or sterling silver; however, titanium, inconel, niobium, 10k solid yellow gold and 14k gold filled (yellow, white and rose) is available upon request.