Metals 101

Is it worth it?

If you like a little sparkle in your life, you have probably come across jewelry pieces in the past that just don't sparkle for long. We want to help our friends understand what to look for when purchasing jewelry. Whether you are wanting to invest in pieces from us, or with other brands, we want to ensure that you know what kind of jewelry best suits you and your lifestyle/personal style.

In this blog, we'll be talking about the common types of metals that jewelry is made of. Why there is such a huge price difference and how much is too much for that piece of jewelry you want!

 

What are the most common metals that everyday jewelry pieces are made from & their costs? 

$ - Copper, Brass, Silver, Gold-Fill, Yellow/White Gold - $$$

What are the PROS/CONS of each metal type?

C o p p e r

PRO - affordable

CON - Not hypoallergenic. May cause discoloration/irritation of the skin. 

Normally used in costume/statement jewelry. Large/heavy/chunky jewelry pieces are most likely made with Copper as the base with gold/silver plating. The reason for this is so that the piece can still be affordable given it's heavier weight. Unplated Copper pieces are rosy or pink in color.

 

B r a s s

PRO - affordable & is a similar color to yellow gold. It is a strong metal that is quite durable. It does not rust/corrode. 

CON - Not hypoallergenic. May cause discoloration/irritation of the skin. 

Also, normally used in costume/statement jewelry. Large/heavy/chunky jewelry pieces are most likely made with Brass as the base with gold/silver plating. The reason for this is so that the piece can still be affordable given it's heavier weight. Unplated Brass pieces are yellow like gold. 

 

S i l v e r

PRO - more affordable than gold/platinum. Same white luminous color and shine to white gold. Sterling Silver is hypoallergenic. 

CON - more expensive than copper/brass. A soft metal, therefore, scratches/bends/stretches easily. Tarnishes black but is easily cleaned. 

 

Y e l l o w   G o l d

PRO - doesn't tarnish. Keeps its bright, warm yellow hue. A strong and dense metal, therefore, doesn't scratch/bend/stretch easily. 

CON - very expensive. 

 

White Gold

PRO - doesn't tarnish. A beautiful white luminous color and shine. A strong and dense metal, therefore, doesn't scratch/bend/stretch easily. 

CON - very expensive. White gold is made by mixing other metals with yellow gold to turn it white. It normally also is rhodium plated--overtime, rhodium plating will wear off and reveal a light yellow hue. 

  

So now that you know the PROs & CONs of each metal, what is the durability of the piece you're considering? 

Copper - normally copper jewelry pieces are coated/plated. You will see a lot of silver plated on copper or gold plated on copper.

  • Silver-plated copper pieces are not really worth investing in. If you're going to be paying anything more than $30, look for a silver alternative. You can get a fully silver piece probably for the same price from a different brand! Shop around, get to know your options.
  • Gold-plated copper pieces are the most controversial. A lot of fast-fashion pieces are made from copper and gold-plated. The interesting thing is that a lot of brands will actually charge $100+ for a small piece of jewelry that is made of gold-plated copper. Trust us, your money is better spent on something else! The gold-plating will rub off in a few weeks/months and you'll be left with a pink piece of jewelry you can no longer be worn. 
  • if you get gold-plated jewelry ---get it plated on brass/silver

Brass - places like South Africa actually love brass jewelry. Why? Brass is affordable and looks just like yellow gold. If you don't have sensitive skin + love gold-toned jewelry, brass jewelry is your new best friend!

Brass pieces are occasionally coated/plated also but at least when the plating rubs off, you can still wear the piece because it'll still look gold! Gold-plate brass pieces are a way smarter investment. With wear, they shine will disappear and may turn dark--but it's an easy fix! You'll just need to purchase a polishing cloth from your local art supply store.

You can wear your pieces for years and they'll still look great. You might need to occasionally polish them lightly with a polishing cloth, but in general, it doesn't rust/corrode! Just don't polish too hard/too often or you might polish away the plating. If it looks clean --don't polish it! wash the piece with a little bit of dish soap and it'll be shiny fresh. Just don't forget to dry it thoroughly. 

Fair. will be offering some lovely 14K gold-plated brass pieces made from recycled brass, gold and glass gems. Keep an eye out for it in the spring! 

Silver - personally, silver is my favorite affordable metal! It shines like white gold and goes with every skin tone! Fully silver jewelry is actually quite affordable (depending on how its made --handmade/machine, and on its size/weight). Don't waste your money on silver-plated jewelry, solid silver jewelry is affordable enough that if you do a little bit of digging, you'll surely find a similar piece in solid silver for the same price! 

Fair. has some simple and affordable pieces in solid, recycled sterling silver! Don't forget to check it out. 

Gold - expensive but a necessity if you are hypoallergenic. Obviously, solid gold pieces are worth the price tag as they will never tarnish, you'll never experience skin irritation/discoloration. However, if you're looking for an affordable solid gold alternative, look into 10K or 12K solid gold pieces! The reason they are more affordable is that most gold that is sold in jewelry is an alloy (ie. mixed with other metals). Gold is a dense but soft metal therefore when it is mixed with other metals into an alloy, the piece becomes stronger and more durable. 10K & 12K gold pieces have less gold, and more of the stronger metals ---more gold, more expensive. 10K & 12K pieces are less gold but more durable. In my opinion, that's a Fair. trade. Am I right? 

 

We hope this helps you make more informed purchasing decisions when it comes to your jewelry collection!