I use sterling silver and copper in most of my jewelry, along with brass, bronze, and/or rose gold fill. I especially like combining different metals within the same piece. I'm also a fan of "found objects": vintage silverplate or stainless flatware, horseshoe nails, hardware items, coins, bullet shell casings, buttons, glass pieces....anything that catches my eye, especially if it's made of metal, has a chance to make it into one of my creations.
- .925 Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Sterling silver is also a precious metal. Sterling will tarnish...if worn regularly, however, your natural body oils help to keep the tarnishing to a minimum. Another way to clean your sterling is to make a paste with a bit of baking soda and water. Rub gently, rinse with lukewarm water, dry, then follow with a polishing cloth.
- Copper can be red / brown in color, and while not a precious metal, is used rather often in jewelry making and for decorative items (especially by me!) Copper jewelry and ornaments will darken with age/wear/use....it can be left as is for a natural patina or dipped in a copper cleaner for a bright finish. Truly, when I started working with copper, I wanted it all to be bright and shiny....then I just stopped fighting it; now I love the natural patina copper gets over time and with wear/use. I use bare, uncoated copper....I really don't like the look or feel of copper that has been enamel/sprayed/dipped in a coating.
- Horseshoe Nail Jewelry Horseshoe nails are made of steel, plain ol' steel....which means they will rust if immersed in water. So I don't recommend wearing your horseshoe nail jewelry in the shower..... that being said, I have a customer who has worn his horseshoe nail bracelet every day for two years...even in the shower. The nails have patinaed brown, the silver links offer a beautiful contrast. And another customer has one of my horseshoe nail crosses, she wore it every day for several years also, and it turned completely black and smooth. So you never know how your horseshoe nail jewely will patina....but it's going to get better with time. Just keep a little teeny piece of fine steel wool on hand...if your horseshoe nail jewelry gets a little rust spot or needs brightening, buffing with fine steel wool will do the trick, and it'll brighten the sterling links too.
>>>>Copper coated horseshoe nails: Over time, and with heavy wear, some of this copper coating will most likely wear off. When I brought these home....the first thing I did was take a wire brush and a sander to a few, just to experiment. It'll probably take awhile for the copper to wear off completely with just wear...BUT, I can only see this as a patina kind of thing, with the copper wearing, and the steel coming through and then darkening as it does with wear, and all of it coming together over time for it's own individual look.
- Copper Wind Spinners / anything copper in the outdoors, will go from bright and shiny to a darker brown before finally developing the characteristic blue-green patina of copper. This natural process may take from several months to several years, depending on weather exposure.
- Gold Fill (14k Rose or Yellow Gold) is an outer layer of gold bonded by heat and pressure to a base metal. Gold Fill items are regulated by the FTC and must be at least 5% gold by weight. Gold Fill has about 100 times more gold than gold plate....it does not flake, rub off, or turn colors, and is much more valueable and tarnish resistant than gold plate. Usually, anyone who can wear gold jewelry can wear gold fill jewelry without worries that it will cause an allergic reaction. Rose gold fill does not patina dark like copper.
- Ornament Hooks in silver, copper, and other colors are crafted with permanently colored copper wire that is coated to resist tarnishing. The wire comes coated this way from the manufacturer. Gold Ornament hooks, at this time, are crafted with jewelers brass, also known as red brass, merlin's gold, nu-gold, and is uncoated and can patina over time.
- Vintage Silverplate Flatware Vintage means old....vintage means used....there are going to be "character marks"...people used to EAT with these utensils, they have a history. I've heard of some people that make spoon jewelry from "old" spoons who replate their items after finishing....to me, this just defeats the purpose of re-using vintage items....I EXPECT a piece crafted from vintage/used items to have a little personality. So if you want "perfect" spoon jewelry, mine might not be for you. I'm not saying you'll get big scratches or dents......but if you want character, interest, little quirks that come with time....well, here it is.
Though lately I've tended toward more all-metal pieces, a good bit of my work is accented with, and wouldn't be the same, without BEADS, of all kinds! ....glass, lampwork, Czech, Swarovski Crystal and Pearl, Semi-Precious Gemstone, Sterling Silver, Gold Fill, Vermeil, Copper, Pewter, Wood.
I make every attempt to use quality materials combined with care and attention to detail in all of my creations. I do what I do because it's what I love. Read my item descriptions....I will always tell you what materials I've used in a piece, and if you ever have any questions about anything, please ASK!