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About the Metals

Metals:

Aluminum

Aluminum is an excellent metal for hand stamped jewelry.  This bright silver metal is just as beautiful as sterling silver but does not tarnish.  It is also lightweight, making it perfect for larger necklaces as you won't feel weighed down wearing it all day.  Also, aluminum is extremely hypoallergenic (even moreso than sterling!), contains no nickel, and is perfect for those with metal allergies.  To clean aluminum, simply wipe with a soft cloth to remove any fingerprints or body oils that may have accumulated.  No chemicals or cleaners are required or recommended.

 

Copper

Copper has been used for thousands of years in many applications, including architecture, sculpture, and jewelry.  It is extremely durable and will last a lifetime if properly cared for.  Copper is also nickel-free, making it a great alternative for those with nickel allergies.  This precious metal has a unique reddish brown metal look to it that I absolutely love.  It is one of my favorite metals to work with because it is so versatile.  You will see me use it in many applications, including stamping, etching, and embossing.

Copper will naturally darken with time.  Many factors, including climate and the specific chemistry of your body, can speed up or slow down this process.  For my antiqued copper line, I chemically induce darkening of the metal to give it a rustic look.  I cover these specific pieces with a coating that helps to prevent natural oxidation (darkening).  However, it will still darken naturally.  If desired, the copper can be cleaned in a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt.  Please keep in mind, however, that removing the natural oxidation will also remove the darkening I added to the piece, leaving you with a shiny copper piece instead of the rustic-looking copper.  To help prevent excess darkening, copper jewelry should be stored in a resealable plastic baggie to help eliminate contact with the elements that may cause the metal to turn faster.    

 

Brass

Brass is an alloy made from a combination of copper and zinc.  This precious metal has a yellow tone that makes it a beautiful alternative to gold.  Brass will also darken/tarnish with time, so the information above about the care of copper can also be applied to brass.  Brass is nickel-free, making it a great metal for those with nickel allergies.

 

Pewter

Pewter is a beautiful, silvery-grey metal made from tin with a small amount of copper.  It is a soft metal that is fairly heavy for its size and has a beautiful luster when polished.  It is also completely lead free and is considered a precious metal.  

Caring for pewter is easy.  Simply use a mild soap, water, and a soft cloth to keep it clean.  Like all jewelry, it is best to not wear pewter during activities such as sports or heavy cleaning to prevent damage.

 

Antiqued Silver Plated Metals

Antiqued silver plated metals consist of a layer of silver that is adhered directly to lead-free pewter, copper, or brass.  Pewter itself is made primarily from tin mixed with small amounts of antimony, bismuth, and/or copper.  The silver plating on any of the metals can tarnish in time, either causing the piece to become darker or reveal some of the metal under the plating.  I apply a coating to all of my antiqued silver plated pieces and charms to help prevent this tarnishing.  Cleaners should not be used on these as they can cause the plating to separate from the metal underneith.  Wipe with a soft cloth instead to remove fingerprints and body oils.

 

Chains:

Stainless Steel Chains 

All of the silver-toned chains I use are made from stainless steel.  They do not tarnish and are very durable.  They also are great for those with metal allergies because stainless steel, like aluminum, is extremely hypoallergenic.

 

Antiqued Copper Plated Chains

Antiqued copper plated chains are made by plating a layer of copper over a base of brass.  They are extremely durable and hold their color well.  Just like regular copper and brass, antiqued copper plated chains are great for those with nickel allergies.

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