Metal Glossary

Sterling Silver

Sterling is used in reference to the 0.925 grade of silver. When pure silver (99.9%) is combined with another metal, usually copper in a 92.5% / 7.5% ratio, it is considered sterling. Adding copper to silver hardens the metal making it easier to work with. Sterling silver will oxidize (tarnish) over time but can be polished easily with a polishing cloth or polishing pad. Although sterling silver is considered hypoallergenic, some people who are especially sensitive to metals may still have allergic reactions.

Silver-Filled

Silver-filled is made by fusing a layer of .925 sterling silver to a brass core, resulting in a permanent bond. The sterling silver layer is 1/10 or 10% by weight of the total material. More durable than silver plating, which contains only a fraction of the silver content by comparison, silver-filled is a beautiful, low-cost alternative to sterling silver. Silver-filled will tarnish over time but can be polished using a pro polish pad or polishing cloth.

Fine Silver

Fine silver is 99.9% silver. Because it has a higher silver content than sterling, it is much softer. Jewelry designers find fine silver wire ideal for making ball headpins and fusing rings. Because it does not contain the copper that sterling silver does, fine silver will not oxidize and turn black when heated.

Silver Plated

Silver-plated products are made using electroplating to apply a thin layer of fine silver on top of a base metal core. This layer is thinner than that found in silver-filled products, between 3 and 5 millionths of an inch, and as a result is less durable and more likely to trigger allergies. Silver plate will tarnish over time but care must be taken when polishing not to wear away the thin silver layer.

Antiqued silver plating is standard silver plate which has undergone a process to darken the original color of the plating.

Rhodium Plated

Rhodium Plated products are made using electroplating to apply a thin layer of pure Rhodium to a base metal core. Rhodium is a member of the same family as platinum and is valued for its durability and resistance to tarnish. Reminiscent of white gold and frequently used as an alternative to silver plate, it is slightly grayer in color than silver.

Gold Vermeil

Gold Vermeil is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals, commonly used as a component in jewelry. A typical example is sterling silver coated with 14 carat (58%) gold. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10 carat (42%) and be at least 2.5 micrometres thick. In the US, sterling silver covered with a base metal (such as nickel) and plated with gold cannot be sold as vermeil without disclosing that it contains base metal.

Gold-Filled

Gold-filled is made by fusing a layer of 14kt gold to a base metal—usually brass – that results in a permanent bond. To be considered gold-filled the gold must equal at least 1/20 the weight of the total piece and be at least 10kt (41.67%). The gold layer on gold-filled products is thicker and will wear better than gold-plated products. Although gold-filled wire is considered hypoallergenic, some people who are especially sensitive to metals may still have allergic reactions to it.

Gold Plated

Gold plated products are made using electroplating to apply a thin layer of 14kt gold to a base metal core. This layer is thinner than that found in gold-filled products, between 3 and 5 millionths of an inch, and as a result is less durable and more likely to trigger allergies. Gold plate should not tarnish but the plating can wear away over time to reveal the base metal beneath.

Antiqued gold plating is standard gold plate which has undergone a process to darken the original color of the plating.

Rose Gold-Filled

Rose gold-filled products are created in nearly the same way as gold-filled products, except that copper is added to 14kt (58.3%) gold to create a pink-tinged alloy that is fused onto the base. Some people who are especially sensitive to copper may have allergic reactions to rose gold-filled products due to the copper present in the alloy.

Brass

Brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc. Has a bright gold-like color. It is a soft metal, fairly resistant to tarnishing.

Vintaj Natural Brass

Vintaj Natural Brass is eco-friendly, nickel free and lead-free compliant. For product care Vintaj recommends using just a mild soap with warm water.

Copper

Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys.

Stainless Steel

is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5[1] or 11% chromium content by mass. Stainless steel does not corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does. Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and familiar lustre make it an ideal material for many applications.

Aluminum

Aluminum is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation. Aluminum is a soft, durable, lightweight, ductile and malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness

Nickel

A metal that once was a very common core for many items, has been replaced by iron in most industries. This metal has proven to be a very popular skin allergen. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal

Base Metal

Base metal refers to any metals other than precious metals. They are usually alloys of non-precious metals. Base metal wire is usually made of tin, copper, bronze or nickel. It can be coated or plated with precious metals such as silver or gold. It can also be coated with a permanent color coating.

Niobium

A metallic chemical element, works like fine silver. Hypoallergenic, once oxidized the color is permanent.

Vintaj Arte Metal

The eco-friendly Arte Metal Vintaj line is made of Ferrite Ore, which comes from the earth. The finish is not antique plated or chemically treated. Like all Vintaj products, 100% natural Arte Metal is free of nickel and lead.

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