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Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Image result for zodiac signs dates

Everything Zodiac!

Birthstone jewelry is incredibly popular when looking for unique ways to express one’s birth month. But did you know there are unique zodiac gemstones too?

Each zodiac sign is paired with a complementary gemstone to help reveal its wearers’ hidden powers.   
These zodiac sign gemstones may be the same or different than the birthstones by the month that you may be more accustomed to seeing.

Why not try something new and invest in jewelry that is unique to your zodiac sign?

Zodiac gemstones will help you align your body and mind and bring you peace and harmony, while showing off you own personal sense of style!

Aries - Bloodstone
Taurus - Sapphire 
Gemini - Agate 
Cancer - Emerald 
Leo - Onyx 
 Virgo - Carnelian
Libra - Chrysolite 
Scorpio - Beryl 
Sagittarius - Topaz 
Capricorn - Ruby
Aquarius - Garnet 
Pisces - Amethyst 

 You will find our handmade Zodiac Birthstones in a Bottle, as well as standard by the month Birthstones in a Bottle in our Etsy Store.  We also produce simple etched Zodiac sign charms and pendants for custom order.  All our stones are guaranteed to be authentic, natural and ethically sourced.  Recycled metals are used in all our pieces.  

Monday, June 24, 2019

What Does July Fourth Mean to You?

lt seems like only yesterday we were observing Memorial Day, a time to remember our fallen heroes and thank all those who serve our wonderful country to keep us safe.

July 4th is only a little over a week away!  We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year.  We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America.

For many Americans that means spending time with family, firing up the grill and lighting up the sky with fireworks. For others it means reflecting on our Nation’s history, remembering time served in our military, or thinking of loved ones who are currently serving.

Independence Day means many things to people.  Like so many holidays the real meaning has become blurred.  Unfortunately in these tumultuous times, many do not have the freedom to speak what they feel or to be treated equally and fairly, to be shown respect and to expect that others will act responsibly.  Liberty and Justice for All does not necessarily exist.

It’s time to reclaim our Values, stand up and fight for them!

This year, why not reflect on what Independence Day really means to you besides fireworks, grilling, beaching and shopping the sales!

Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Happy 2019! Happy Awakening!

I'm so happy it's 2019!  Are you?  

Which leads to my discussion topic:

Awakening - an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something.

Many people described an awakening experience as the most significant moment of their lives, reporting a major change in their perspective on life, and in their values. In  2017 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology study of 90 awakening experiences, the most significant after-effect was a greater sense of trust, confidence, and optimism.

After the ups and downs of 2017 and 2018, in business,  politically, emotionally and spiritually,  I have definitely experienced an "awakening" and I welcome this after-effect!

Maybe you are asking yourself why I selected this topic for my current blog. At the end of 2018,  it suddenly became crystal clear to me that I have not been accountable for giving my business my utmost dedication and respect, largely because of a lack of trust in the process, a lack of confidence in myself and increased pessimism about my success.  I recently attended a Jewelry Brand Makeover Bootcamp by Flourish and Thrive Academy and Tracy Matthews, the co-founder,  shared a lot of information about building your brand that customers love, gaining consistent sales and serious buzz.  This made me realize that I had not made as much effort to do those things as I should have done and it was time to have Clarity about myself and my intention and create more demand for my designs, while maintaining free time for myself.  

As a result of this "awakening" I've decided to share with my followers my journey to understanding my reason for running a jewelry design business and what I wanted to create long term.

My journey began in 1997, when I took my first jewelry making lesson and I knew instantly that I wanted to make jewelry, forever.  That led to more professional jewelry study, participation in craft shows, owning a jewelry gallery and bead shop, and eventually, selling my jewelry online.  During that time I got caught up in the chaos, not having a really clear plan.   I made a lot of mistakes, over-purchased materials and inventory I never used, took advice from the wrong people and worked way too much for too little.  I also tried to sell to everyone.  My business grew, but I was burned out, unhappy and not making as much jewelry that I liked to make, spending too much time watching the bottom line and not enough time enjoying my life.  So, I closed my store and began making jewelry in my home studio, selling in local shops and online, thinking that was the answer to my unhappiness.  

In 2018, I recognized that my vision had been lost along the way.  It was not enough to have revenue goals, I needed to focus on my core values and the platform of my brand.  I needed to stop selling to everyone and focus on the clients that are the cornerstone of my brand.  That was the beginning of the "awakening" process.

Attending the workshop helped me to clarify my branding and intentions:  I began to rethink my business and everything changed.   I now know who I am, what I do and why I do it.

My brand:

"I design treasured and inspiring statement jewelry for stylish women and men who prefer artisan made jewelry over mass manufactured pieces. Inspired by meaningful moments and wonders of our natural world, my work celebrates nature and embraces the personality of my clients. My works are made of lasting and beautiful materials, precious metals mixed with gemstones to create a raw and refined harmony. Nature influences who I am, how I see the world and how I run my business, including the use of recycled metals and responsible suppliers. I believe that jewelry is much more than simple adornment, it is essential for our connection to the natural beauty around us which is part of our humanity."

I am now more optimistic, have more confidence in myself and trust that my business will continue to thrive and flourish, allowing me to make a good living and still have time for myself and my family.  I have also established a goal to donate 5% of my net profit to environmental organizations in an effort to do my part to improve the world we live in.  For information about these endeavors you can read my Charitable Giving page in my Etsy store.

If you are a jewelry maker or entrepreneur who needs clarity about your branding or you feel overwhelmed, have hit a wall  or have lost confidence in yourself reach out for help!

Check out the sources I've provided links for in this blog, other online and local sources,  and don't give up!

By the way, I chose to write this now because I celebrate my 70th Birthday today!  It's never too late to "awaken".  Peace, love and buy jewelry!


Links:  After Effects of Awakening

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ethical Making and Sourcing - Why is it Important?

Ethical Making

Ethical making is more than just a ‘feel good’ thing to do. Growing numbers of companies and public bodies are addressing the negative impacts of global industries and consumers are increasingly interested in the ethical standing of products.

An ethical jewelry business involves responsible sourcing of materials, responsible studio practices and transparent branding that communicates our commitment to ethical making.

If the story behind a piece of jewelry includes the unfair treatment of communities and environmental destruction, the symbolic value of the piece can be tarnished.

Sourcing materials responsibly will help limit the harmful effects of mining industries, including:
  • Environmental degradation through water pollution, harm to aquatic life, and damage to landscapes and ecosystems;
  • Human rights violations on mining sites and in mining communities;
  • Use of child and forced labour;
  • Health and safety risks such as poisoning from unsafe handling of toxins, over-exhaustion from strenuous work, and injury caused by accidents and;
  • Prevalence of violence in mining communities related to the trade of conflict minerals.

Metal Sourcing

As a key actor in the supply chain, we choose to source traceable and responsibly mined precious metals. There are three accepted options for responsibly sourced precious metals, these are Fairtrade metals, Fairmined metals, or 100% recycled metals.

Gold, silver and platinum, precious metals commonly used in the jewellery and electronic industries, are mined around the world. After they are extracted from rough ore and processed, they are sold through trading bodies as metal bullion. Metal refiners turn metal bullion into products such as sheet or wire, and then sell these materials to industry bodies.

Metal mining occurs in both large and small-scale mines, each with different conditions, methods and access routes to the international market. There is artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) and large-scale mining (LSM) or ‘industrial/corporate’ mining.

Fairtrade and Fairmined are the two major accreditation schemes that bring precious metals from artisanal small-scale mines to market. They support artisanal small-scale miners by certifying that they employ responsible mining practices in compliance with their respective standards, and by conducting regular audits to ensure those standards are maintained.

Fairtrade and Fairmined metals can be traced to their source and makers and consumers can trust that they have been mined by people who have been treated and paid fairly.

Because of the nature of the metal trade, most precious metals have already been recycled to some degree. However, you can choose to source 100% post-consumer recycled metals which are made of second generation recycled content and may also be tracked to show this. Some suppliers will have a certification for their recycled metal content such as a Recycled Content Certification from Scientific Certification Systems

We only work with suppliers offering Recycled Metals who have Certifications in place.

Gemstone Sourcing

Responsibly sourcing diamonds and gemstones presents different challenges to responsible metal sourcing, but it is achievable.

Stone supply chains are more complicated than metals as there are fewer established certification systems in place. There are some accreditation schemes for diamonds, but currently none for gemstones.

Stones are mined all over the world from countries with different political climates, workers’ rights and trade laws. The nature of the stone trade and the fact that many stones are extremely old, make them difficult to trace back to the mine of origin.
It is not uncommon for stones to be mined in one country, and cut and polished in another, which may have different working standards, making it even more difficult to trace the stone from mine to market.
There is no formal third-party assurance to back up claims made by gemstone suppliers, which means that purchasing responsibly sourced gemstones requires developing an open dialogue with gemstone suppliers.
There are three main options for responsibly sourced stones. These are:
  • stones that have been tracked and ideally certified with a known mine origin and verified standards;
  • recycled/reclaimed/vintage stones and;
  • lab created stones.


Our main supplier sources the majority of its diamonds directly from sources that manufacture rough diamonds from Canada, South Africa, Russia, Botswana and Namibia.

No Conflict Diamonds

They are committed to selling diamonds ethically and with integrity, giving us confidence in the diamonds we purchase. We believe it is completely unacceptable to tolerate conflict diamonds and/or human suffering in any way and we fully support the Kimberley Process. Our supplier offers this commitment to us. In turn, it can act as ourr commitment to our customers. All rough and polished diamonds sold by our suppliercomply with the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process ensures that rough diamonds are:
Exported and imported with a government validated Kimberly Process certificate stating the diamonds are conflict-free.
Transported between signatory countries in a sealed and tamper-proof container.
Sold with a statement from the seller (known as a warranty) on all invoices guaranteeing that the diamonds being sold are conflict-free.

Synthetic Screening Policy

When we buy diamonds from our supplier, we can buy with confidence. Our supplier does not tolerate undisclosed synthetic diamonds in its inventory. In July 2014, they acquired the De Beers Automatic Melee Screening Device (AMS), which screens all diamonds 1.4mm+ for synthetics in accordance with De Beers’ protocols. They require all their loose diamond and diamond set jewelry suppliers to warrant that they are not supplying them with synthetics. For additional security, they further stipulate that their vendors screen all diamonds from .20+ carats for synthetics.

Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America

Our supplier is a proud member of the DMIA.

Established in 1931, the mission of DMIA is to promote the highest standards of ethics, integrity and professionalism in the American marketplace. The DMIA, remains at the forefront in addressing domestic and world diamond industry issues, acts as a representative for the American diamond industry together with other industry organizations, governmental bodies, and the diamond consuming public.

The DMIA is dedicated to advancing and ensuring consumer confidence in diamonds and diamond jewelry.

Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct

The Code establishes a minimum standard based on records and a chain of warranties required to validate a Canadian diamond claim. Retailers who abide by the Code demonstrate to consumers their commitment to ensure authenticity of Canadian diamond claims. The Code allows Canadian diamonds to be traced from the Canadian mine to the diamond jewellery retailer, providing consumers a method to authenticate Canadian diamonds sold by a Code member.


Our supplier continues to adhere to strict protocols in regards to the sourcing of gemstones. As a natural resource, gemstones can be found almost anywhere and are exchanged too frequently to keep an absolute accurate account of their exact origin.

However, they engage in several practices to ensure the integrity of the stones they purchase. For example:  Experts from both our supplier's US and Bangkok offices frequently visit their suppliers/cutters in order to make certain socially responsible practices are being followed in those locations.

All of their suppliers have provided written verification stating their compliance with the US Patriot Act.

Studio Practices

Ethical making goes beyond how raw materials are sourced. When measuring the ethics of our practice, it is also important to consider our entire making process and how our work space functions. We make every effort to address the following issues.
If you are passionate about improving the lives of workers who have been exploited and the well being of the environment, consider ethically made jewelry.

excerpts for this blog were taken from:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Pantone Color of the Year!

Although it may seem more pink in nature, Pantone describes Living Coral as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.

Chatam Created Champagne Sapphire

This engaging hue captures the playfulness, optimism and joyful pursuits embodied in nature.

Pink Coral

Great for Spring and Summer Wear!  Let me make you a custom jewelry piece with a special Living Coral Stone!

Call me at 251-929-3620!



Thursday, May 9, 2019

Do you know what you are buying?

Customers have asked me so many times about metal differences in jewelry.  You want to know if what you are buying is worth the price, will last a lifetime or have to be discarded in a few years, and if it is REAL, meaning quality metal and stones.So here we go.   This is breakdown of metals used in jewelry and what you can expect.

Precious Metal Categories

Platinum - long revered for its quality and used frequently in high end wedding jewelry.  It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, gray-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into "little silver".[3][4]Platinum is one of the least reactive metals. It has remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures, and is therefore considered a noble metal. Consequently, platinum is often found chemically uncombined as native platinum. Because it occurs naturally in the alluvial sands of various rivers, it was first used by pre-Columbian South American natives to produce artifacts. Its resistance to wear and tarnish is well suited to use in fine jewelry
24K Gold - Not generally used for jewelry as it is too soft.24k gold is also called pure gold or 100 per cent gold. This means that all 24 parts in the gold are all pure gold without traces of any other metals. It is known to be 99.9 per cent pure and takes on a distinct bright yellow color. There is no higher form of gold than 24K and you must be aware of this before you go to a dealer who might tell you that they’re selling you 25K or 26K gold. Since this is the purest form of gold, it is naturally more expensive than 22K or 18K gold. However, this type of gold is lesser in density as compared to gold of a lower karatage which makes it soft and pliable. Hence, it is not suited for regular forms of jewelry.  

22K Gold -  Used in granulation techniques (see Etruscan Jewelry) and when a bright gold is wanted.22K gold jewelry implies that 22 parts of the jewelry amounts to gold and the balance 2 parts are some other metals. This kind of gold is commonly used in jewelry making. In 22K gold, of the 100 per cent, only 91.67 per cent is pure gold. The other 8.33 per cent comprises metals like silver, zinc, nickel and other alloys. It is this addition of metals that make the texture of gold harder thereby making the jewelry durable. However, you must know that although this can be used to make plain gold jewelry, 22K gold isn’t preferable for diamonds and heavily studded jewelry.  To obtain price per ounce, multiply the 24K gold spot price by 91.67%.

18K Gold - Typically the European Standard for Gold Jewelry.18K gold is 75 per cent gold mixed with 25 per cent of other metals like copper or silver etc. Usually studded jewelry and other diamond jewelry is made in 18K gold. This kind of gold is less expensive compared to 24K and 22K. This one has a slightly dull gold colour. Recognizing 18K jewelry is rather simple – you will see the item stamped with 18K, 18Kt, 18k or a variation similar to these. At times, 18K gold is marked by 750, 0.75 or a stamp similar to these in order to symbolize that the jewelry contains 75 per cent gold.  To obtain price per ounce, multiple the 24K gold spot price by 75%.

14K Gold - The American standard for most engagement and wedding rings.14K gold contains 58.5% gold and is the perfect compromise for a gold metal: It is still quite durable and will not easily tarnish. It also has a nice yellow gold color and in fact you won’t be able to distinguish 14K and 18K yellow gold just by looking at it.  14K gold is a premium gold and is still comparably cheap. Especially compared to 18K gold.  The difference in durability between 14K and 18K gold is noticeable. It will usually take much longer for an 14K gold ring to show visible marks of wear and tear compared to an 18K gold ring.  It is the best choice for anyone looking for the best balance in durability, price and look. To obtain the price per ounce, multiply the 24K gold spot price by 58.5%

10K Gold - Economical and strong for jewelry, however less desirable.The first striking thing about 10K gold is the fact that it contains more alloy than gold. It contains 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. One advantage of 10K gold compared to 14K gold is that it is cheaper. 10K gold may actually be considered discount gold.10K gold looks slightly more pale than 14K gold but usually you won’t be able to see the difference with your bare eyes.10K gold will also tarnish more quickly than 14K or 18K gold but with regular care this should not be too much of an issue.  To obtain the price per ounce, multiply the 24K gold spot price by 41.7%.

White Gold - An alternative choice in color - available in same Karating as Yellow Gold.
The main difference between yellow gold and white gold is that white gold is an alloy of gold and a white metal such as palladium, manganese, or nickel. Like yellow gold, white gold’s purity is defined in karats. White gold rings often contain nickel, which provides the strength needed for a durable setting that lasts.  The nickel alloy may be problematic to those with skin allergies.   If you are allergic,  it is best to ask about the alloy, and request white gold made with something other than nickel.

Rose Gold - Becoming more popular, particularly for people who want a romantic look.
Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy that is sometimes referred to as red gold or pink gold. As it was popular in Russia at the turn of the nineteenth century, was once commonly referred to as Russian Gold, although the term is rarely heard these days. Like yellow gold and white gold, rose gold is a very popular choice for rings. Though it is seen less often, it is gaining popularity, particularly among people who want their wedding and engagement rings to have a unique, romantic look. Rose gold works well in all types of settings but is particularly appealing in vintage-inspired engagement rings and wedding rings. It can be combined with white or yellow gold to create a unique multi-colored setting that appeals to the wearer’s artistic side. Durability is another consideration to keep in mind when comparing rose gold vs. yellow gold vs. white gold. Incredibly, this softly romantic colored gold is the strongest of the three, as copper is very sturdy and the resulting alloy is tougher than yellow or white gold. On the downside, copper can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and is not considered to be a hypo-allergenic metal. If shopping for someone with very sensitive skin, yellow gold may be your best choice.

Fine Silver - Very soft and malleable - not used for rings but okay for pendants/earrings
Fine silver, sometimes stamped .999, is at least 99.9% pure silver, which means it is softer and more malleable than sterling. It also tends to take longer to tarnish. 

Sterling Silver - Extensively used for jewelry, Tarnishes.
Sterling silver, sometimes stamped .925, is an alloy of at least 92.5% silver, and (usually) copper. It is a soft, easy to work with metal, which can be antiqued to a dark black or polished to a bright shine.

Argentium Silver - Harder, Less tarnish, great for all jewelry
Argentium® sterling silver is a tarnish-resistant variety of sterling that consists of 1.2% germanium, 6.3% copper and 92.5% silver. For the end user, Argentium's main attraction is its tarnish-resistance which requires much less maintenance than traditional sterling silvers. For metal workers, Argentium offers additional benefits. It does not develop firescale, which both saves artisans time and makes it environmentally friendlier than traditional sterling. Argentium can be made nearly twice as hard as standard annealed sterling silver by a simple heat treatment, and it is laser weldable. These properties allow for expanded design possibilities. 

Filled Metal Categories

Silver Fill - Used in a lot of costume jewelry.
Silver fill is made by using heat and pressure to apply a layer of .925 sterling or .999 finer silver to a base of less costly metal. This produces a surface of sterling silver or fine silver that is hundreds of times thicker than a silver plating. There are no industry standards yet for silver fill.

Vermeil - Gold Colored- Used in costume jewelry.
Vermeil, pronounced "vehr-MAY," is a plating of karat gold over sterling silver.  

Gold Fill - Used in costume jewelry
Gold fill (also called gold overlay) is made by using heat and pressure to apply a layer of karat gold to a base of less costly metal. This produces a surface with karat gold. The minimum layer of karat gold must equal at least 1/20 of the total weight of the item. 
Gold-filled tubing and wire are usually seamless, so only gold touches the body. Gold-filled sheets of base metal, used to make other findings, can be either single clad (gold on visible side only) or double clad (gold on both sides and sometimes the edge). Seamless and double clad gold-filled items are less likely to discolor, since the base metal is sealed inside the gold. However, the layer of gold on a single clad 1/20 gold-filled item is as thick (and the same total weight) as the two layers of gold on a double clad 1/20 gold-filled item. Use care when buffing gold-filled items, to avoid removing the gold layer.

The surface layer of karat gold on gold-filled items is usually 10kt, 12kt or 14kt . To know the thickness of the layer, look for a fraction, such as 1/10 or 1/20. It will be 1/20 unless otherwise stamped. Examples:

  • 1/10 10kt GF: 1/10 of the total weight must be 10kt gold.
  • 1/20 12kt GF: 1/20 of the total weight must be 12kt gold
Platings - a fine layer of precious metal over base metal - used for inexpensive costume jewelry
plating is a thin deposit of metal that is electro-chemically or otherwise applied to the surface of a different metal base. Other materials, like plastic, can also be plated. Many plated items are plated with copper first, then the final color.   The following are some platings available to you:

White Plating  White plate is the "silver" color most often see on costume jewelry and base-metal findings. White-plated components are generally grayer, but also more durable, than silver-plated components. They generally do not tarnish. The plating is typically an imitation rhodium made of copper, tin, zinc, and/or nickel. 

Silver Plating Silver plate is a thin surface layer of actual silver. It nicely matches the color of sterling silver; it doesn't quite match our white findings. Like sterling silver, silver plate can tarnish. For this reason, it's frequently lacquered to prevent tarnish (until the lacquer wears off). 

Antique Silver Plating Antiqued silver plate is a thin surface layer of silver that has been darkened to provide a "distressed" (oxidized) appearance.

Antique Pewter Plating Antiqued pewter plate is a pewter-colored plating that has been darkened to provide a "distressed" (oxidized) appearance. Some antiqued pewter beads and findings are matte, while others are shiny.

Yellow Plating Yellow plate is a gold-colored plating that is slightly brassier than gold plate, and is sometimes longer lasting. Yellow finishes go best with raw brass.

Gold Plating  Gold plate is a very thin deposit of actual gold (about 1/1,000 - 1/1,000,000 of an inch). The color matches 14kt gold. Heavy gold electroplate might be 2 or 3/1000s of an inch thick (this can also be written as 2 or 3 mils). Many gold-plated items have a white nickel plate under the final gold plate. Warning: hand lotion will accelerate tarnish on gold plated components, and can result in a black color within days of handling. 

Antique Gold Plating Antiqued gold plate is a very thin surface layer of actual gold (about 1/1,000 - 1/1,000,000 of an inch) that has been darkened to provide a "distressed" (oxidized) appearance. Warning: hand lotion will accelerate tarnish on gold plated components, and can result in a black color within days of handling.

Antique Brass Plating Antiqued brass components typically have a brass or zinc base with a brass plating. The crevices of antiqued brass beads, charms and findings are darkened to give them a "distressed" (oxidized) appearance.

Copper Plating  Copper plate is a bright, shiny copper plating. Because the metal underneath the plating is usually a harder metal than copper, copper-plated components tend to be more durable than solid copper parts.

Antique Copper Plating  Antiqued copper plate is a copper plating that has been darkened to provide a "distressed" (oxidized) appearance.

Gunmetal Plating  Gunmetal plating varies in color from gun blue to matte dark gray to shiny black metal. It often consists of black nickel plated over brass, but we also carry gunmetal components that meet the EU Nickel Directive. It's also possible to find gunmetal coated Czech glass beads.

What's the Difference between Gold Plate and Gold Fill?
Gold fill is 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and about 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate. Similarly, silver fill is 100's of times thicker than a silver plating.

What are Base Metals?

Base metal is a catch-all term in the jewelry industry for metals used in costume jewelry. In metal working, base metal is any metal that is not one of the noble or precious metals. In costume jewelry, base metals are often plated with a very thin layer of gold, silver, nickel, rhodium or other metal on the surface of the bead, finding, chain or other component. 

Common base metals include:

Brass is an alloy of copper, zinc and sometimes other metals. It is typically 70% copper and 30% zinc. Our red brass wire is 90% copper, and 10% zinc, which gives it a slightly warmer color. Raw (unplated) brass components are usually the same color as yellow (plated) findings, although they will vary in color and may also work with gold plate. Their surfaces may be imperfect and their finish may change with age. 

Anti-tarnish brass (a proprietary alloy) looks very close to the color of 14kt gold. Another name for it is tarnish-resistant brass. 

Copper is an element that's bright reddish-orange in color. Over time, it will darken and gain a patina, sometimes with a greenish hue. Copper can also discolor skin, most commonly when it is worn snugly like a finger ring or tight-fitting bracelet. Copper is a soft metal, which makes it great for wire wrapping. Because of copper's softness, solid copper components are less durable than copper-plated beads and findings. 

Nickel silver is sometimes also called German silver. It is a base-metal alloy of nickel, copper and zinc. While nickel is silver in color, it does not contain any sterling silver. Nickel silver wire is 65% copper, 18% nickel, and 17% zinc. The relatively inexpensive cost of nickel silver compared with sterling makes it an attractive option for jewelry components. Just be aware that some people are allergic to nickel.

Niobium is highly resistant to corrosion and other reactions, and is used in medical implants. Niobium jewelry findings come in several anodized colors. Anodizing is a way to color metal by dipping it into an electrically charged "bath" that creates bright colors without plating or painting the surface. The colors don't flake or chip like plated or painted surfaces can. The main drawback of anodized niobium is that it doesn't match basic silver and gold colors. On the upside, niobium is an inert element, with no nickel, lead, or other additives, most people with metal allergies can safely wear niobium. 

Pewter includes any of the numerous silver-gray alloys of tin with various amounts of antimony and copper. TierraCast products are made with a lead-free pewter called Britannia pewter, which consists of tin, antimony, and copper. Most TierraCast Britannia pewter beads and jewelry findings have a surface finish ( plating) of a different color over the pewter base. Other base-metal items marked "antiqued pewter" may be brass or zinc with an antiqued pewter plating. In nearly all cases, these zinc or brass alloys meet lead-free criteria. 

Steel is a blanket term for a wide variety of iron-based alloys that are very tough and hard. 

Cold-rolled steel is shaped when the metal is below its recrystallization temperature (usually room temperature). The metal is literally pressed between rollers in a mill to flatten and thin the steel. This cold processing method work hardens the metal and strengthens it up to 20% more than hot processing. It also creates a very smooth surface with a uniform finish. It allows for the creation of small products with great strength. 

AFNOR XC45 steel is a specific type of cold-rolled steel, and is a combination of XC45 and XC75 (AFNOR) steel — also known as 1045 steel and AISI 1078 steel, respectively. The alloy is a carbon steel with no nickel added, meaning it meets the strict standard of the EU Nickel Directive. Jewelry findings made of AFNOR XC45 steel include superior-quality French barrette backs and shoe clips.

Stainless steel (a.k.a. corrosion-resistant steel) is a generic name for any steel alloy with a minimum of 11.5 wt% chromium. Common types or grades include 440, 304L, 316L and 904A. In all types of stainless steel, the chromium creates a very thin chromium-oxide layer on the surface of the metal which prevents it from rusting. 

The advantage of stainless steels over plated steels is that, if scratched or damaged, the stainless steel 'self-repairs' as a new chromium-oxide layer is formed. In plated steels, scratches in the plating can lead to corrosion of the steel underneath. In general, the higher percentage of chromium, the stronger the corrosion resistance of the steel. Other metals are added to the alloy to give the steel other properties, such as strength and malleability. Nickel is added to strengthen the protective oxide layer. 

Stainless steel findings are slightly more gray than white findings, but the difference is barely noticeable, especially on finished jewelry. Stainless steels do not match sterling or silver plate well. 

304 stainless steel is the most popular grade of stainless steel. It is 18-20% chromium, 8-10.5% nickel, 0.08% carbon, plus iron and the trace elements listed above. It is commonly used in the food industry (sinks, coffee urns, dairy storage and hauling, beer/brewing, citrus and fruit juice handling, etc). The same corrosion and stain resistance that make it great for food handling, also make it popular for jewelry. 

304L stainless steel is almost the same as 304, but has a lower carbon content (0.03%), and may contain a slightly higher amount of nickel (8-12%). This alloy has increased weldability and resistance to corrosion (great for men's jewelry). 

430 stainless steel contains less than 0.75% nickel, and some forms of 430 stainless steel meet the EU nickel directive (less than .05% nickel ion migration). 430 stainless steel has good corrosion resistance compared to non-stainless steel, but not as good as the 304 and 316 alloys. This makes it less popular for jewelry than you would expect from its low nickel content.

Surgical stainless steel is a specific type of stainless steel which, while wearable by the majority of the population, does contain a small amount of nickel (to which some people are allergic), usually 8% in jewelry. 

316 and 316L surgical stainless steel contain 2-3% molybdenum for even greater resistance to harsh corrosives (both industrial, and in the body). 316L is a low carbon version of 316, with extra corrosion resistance, and is frequently used for stainless steel watches and marine applications. Like most other stainless steel, it contains 8-10.5% nickel, making it unsuitable for people with nickel allergies

Titanium is a very strong metal that's resistant to corrosion. Because of this, it's frequently used in medical implants, and it's an excellent choice for people with nickel allergies. Our titanium ear wires and earring posts are Grade 1 ASTM F67, which is unalloyed commercially pure titanium, and meets the EU Nickel Directive. 

"White metal" and "pot metal" are terms for tin-based alloys used in low temperature casting of base-metal jewelry components. White metal is the "silver" color that you most often see on costume jewelry and base-metal findings. White metal castings are usually three-dimensional rather than flat and are often plated. The exact composition of white metal varies, because each casting foundry and shop uses its own proprietary formula. 

Print this sheet and keep it handy when shopping for jewelry.  Don't forget to call Anita ROKS by Analece, 251-929-3620,  for all your Jewelry needs or shop online in my store!  Hope this was helpful and answered many of your questions about metals!  Peace, Anita