14 karat gold-filled precious metal is my medium of choice, but I do offer many designs in sterling and/or fine silver as well as in a combination of gold and silver. The bi-color combination, which I use in many of my handmade chains, is my second preference. It produces a striking yet softer look and compliments either gold or silver pieces already in your wardrobe. Pieces in solid karat gold and palladium, a member of the platinum family, are available by commission and a small selection is always featured in my current collection.
The type of metal and its purity level are listed with each piece in the shop. However, if you still have questions regarding the metals used in a design, please feel free to contact me.
I’ve included some brief information about the lovely precious metals you are buying to help you better understand and care for them.
Sterling, marked 925, is a metal alloy containing 92.5% fine silver (or pure silver) and 7.5% other metal. These other metals include copper, zinc, platinum and palladium.
Some of my sterling wire and rings contain palladium, which is a member of the platinum family.
Sterling is often “blackened” or oxidized to highlight the sculpting and weaving techniques. To oxidize a piece, I use only a natural process with an egg; I do not use the traditional chemical agents. The results may not be as black, but are still lovely.
Fine Silver, marked 999, is 99.9% pure silver. It is much softer than 925, but tarnishes less and fuses easily with heat. Some artists prefer to work with fine silver for weaving and sculpting.
I use fine silver 28 and 30 gauge wire to produce a more delicate, tight weave.
Gold filled is often confused with gold plate and sometimes considered to be low quality costume jewelry. Neither is the case.
Gold filled precious metal is made from a thick layer of gold—in 10K, 12K or 14K—permanently bonded by heat to a metal alloy, usually brass. Gold filled contains 100 times the gold as a gold-plate and will last for generations. Pieces wrought from gold filled have been found in jewelry collections dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
All of my creations are made from 14K gold filled metal, which is 1/20 of the metal content weight.
Solid Karat Gold
Since pure gold is extremely soft and malleable, jewelry made of solid karat gold must be alloyed with a high enough percentage of base metals to provide sufficient durability. Base metals also contribute to the color of the gold—soft yellow, bright yellow, pink/rose, green or white are the most common.
Karat gold is measured in units of 24 with 24K being pure gold. The percentage of alloy (base metals) mixed with the pure gold determines the karat weight; it also determines the hardness/softness of the piece.
- 14K gold is 58.5% fine (pure) gold or 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy
- 18K gold is 75% fine (pure) gold or 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloy
- 22K gold is 92% fine (pure) gold or 22 parts gold and 2 parts alloy
In the lower karats, the most common base metals used include copper, silver, zinc and nickel. Due to the risk of allergic reactions, many manufacturers are replacing nickel with platinum or palladium in processing both gold and silver.
A lesser dense sibling of platinum, 950 palladium (95% palladium, 5% alloy of which most is gold) is a flexible yet durable metal making it excellent for wire weaving techniques.
Palladium is naturally white, although it tends to be a grayer and richer than the brightness of silver. Since it is a pure metal, it is hypo-allergenic and a perfect alternative for those who prefer white metals but cannot wear silver or white gold due to the nickel and copper contents.