We use the term 14 Karat Gold Vermeil continuously in describing some of our findings. Pronounced “vermay” vermeil gold is the official industry designation for a heavy gold application over sterling silver. The term cannot be used to describe gold plating over base metal in which the plating is much thinner. Electroplating over base metal gives you an inferior product that is truly costume jewelry and in most instances will not last. 14 karat gold vermeil has a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns deposited over sterling before it can be sold as vermeil.
Pure silver is referred to as .999 pure. Sterling Silver or 925 silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. The copper adds hardness. Sterling (925) silver is the highest standard for the jewelry industry.
Did you know that rhodium is more expensive than pure gold? Coming from the platinum group of metals rhodium never tarnishes and creates a fine luster for jewelry. Some sterling silver is plated with a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. This means that the product will not tarnish.
Micron – A unit of length equivalent to 0.001 mm, used for measuring the thickness of electroplating.
When deciding on a gold jewelry item there is always many different terms that come up. Gold Filled, and Gold Plated. It is important to know the differences between Gold Filled jewelry and Gold Plated when making your choice. Gold filled is the next level and is an amazing, quality alternative to solid gold. Gold plating is the lower level and these items tend to tarnish and can often times turn the skin green.
Gold Filled: Gold filled is an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled is not to be confused with gold plating as filled literally has 100% more gold than gold plating. Gold filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. It does not flake off, rub off or turn colors. As a matter of fact, anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled without worries of any allergic reaction to the jewelry. Gold Filled jewelry is an economical alternative to solid gold!
Government Regulation: Gold Filled items are regulated by the government. These items are therefore so much better then gold plated which has no regulations at all. Gold filled jewelry is made from solid gold and filled with other alloys such as rhodium (a member of the platinum family), brass, and sterling silver. Gold Filled wears, looks and lasts like solid gold because its outer surface IS solid gold. Everything you can see and touch is pure gold. In the jewelry industry the quantity of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the total product.
Caring for Gold Filled items is as easy as caring for any gold jewelry. Simply keep away from chemicals, clean regularly with mildly sudsy water, rinse well and pat dry with a non-scratching cloth. Polish gently with a jewelry polishing cloth.
It’s important to choose the right cleansing products and tools to clean your sterling silver jewelry since harsh cleaning products, which contain bleach, ammonia, or alcohol, among others, can ruin your beautiful jewelry.
Start by choosing a MILD cleanser for your sterling silver.You can buy commercial silver cleaners at your local hardware store, but if the tarnish coating isn’t heavy,baking soda diluted in water or a few drops of liquid detergent diluted in warm water will work as well. Some sources recommend the use of toothpaste for cleansing Sterling silver jewelry, I don’t recommend this since it can be too abrasive and may scratch the surface of your jewelry. If the jewelry piece is heavily tarnished, you may need to use a commercial silver paste cleaner to get your piece sparkling and shiny again. Simply apply the silver paste polish to your silver jewelry piece and allow it to dry for a few minutes. Use a soft, cotton cloth to gently Remove the polish. Avoid applying the paste to gemstones since the chemicals in these silver cleaners can ruin stones. After cleaning, your jewelry piece should be sparkling and highly reflective with no evidence of tarnish.
Ultrasonic cleaning is fine as long as the piece has no stone of any type. If you attempt to clean a sterling silver jewelry piece with attached stones, you run the risk of ruining the stones beyond repair. Stick to manual cleaning methods in this situation.
Men and women have always used semi-precious and precious stones alike. These stones that are used for the crafting of various fine jewelry are basically divided into two types: the semi-precious stones and the precious stones. These are heavily used in the jewelry market as variety and value is set and considered. Now although artistic merits are generally subjective, the values of these two types of stones would be dependent on their quality and rarity. A lot of people who are in the market for jewelry that have these kinds of stones such as general consumer and collectors usually would prefer the rare stone to the beautiful one.These semi-precious and precious stones are essentially rocks or minerals that have been taken from under the earth and then enhanced by the artisans through the process of cutting and polishing. The ?nest and the rarest of these stones and minerals are what turn out to be gems or semi-precious and precious stones. For the precious stones, the most valuable would be the emeralds, rubies, sapphires and of course, diamonds.Pearls are also sometimes considered as precious stones. However, they are not actually stones but are still known for its beauty, elegance and value.The most valuable semi-precious stones would be the amethyst, turquoise, lapis lazuli, aquamarine, topaz, peridot, moonstone, tourmaline, opal, zircon, chrysoberyl and alexandrite. Some other semi-precious stones that are not as valuable, though valuable still would include jade, garnet chrysoprase, agate, azurite, bloodstone, coral, malachite, carnelian and a lot others.
Use the heaviest wire that will fit easily through the beads. For example, a bracelet, which as it is worn on the wrist and always in motion, use the strongest material. Try always double-crimping the wires for additional security, and pass the wire through reinforcements so the wire covering will not chafe on the clasp and wear down. With a short necklace you can use thinner wires or thread, because there is little chance it will catch on something heavy. With a longer necklace, use something strong.
You also want to consider a match between beads and stringing material in that if the holes are large and the string is thin, the beads may hang crookedly. Having the hole filled or nearly filled with stringing material allows for greater evenness.
You may want to try making the bracelet a bit shorter, which will make the bracelet fit more snugly against your wrist and prevent the focal bead from shifting as much. You can also try weighting the other end of the bracelet by using a heavier clasp. This will take the brunt of the bracelet weight away from the focal bead and create an even balance of weight throughout the piece.
We have a finding called a leather end. They come in several sizes. They go over the end and have a loop on each side. They are put over the end and crimped flat in the middle with a flat nose plier. You can add gemstones to the end if you using them in the front or any kind of clasp that you choose.
For example if your wrist were 5.5 inches, you would make the total length of the bracelet about 6.5 inches long. That includes whatever method you use to fasten it. In other words, the length of the fastener, whether a magnetic clasp, or a toggle clasp, would be counted in the length of the bracelet. Without knowing the length of the clasp, it is not possible to say how long the bracelet itself is.
Carat – The unit of weight used for precious stones. One carat equals one-fifth of a gram. It is also a measurement of finest in gold. Pure gold is expressed as 24Kt.
The term “carat” dates back to the traders of the ancient world. A standard weight was required for precious gems as merchants of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East were dependent on the ability to trade with a reasonably consistent unit of measurement. It was this need that led to the adoption of seeds and grains as widespread units of measurement.
The carob seed and the wheat grain, both of which had been used for food purposes were found to be ideal units of weight. For centuries the carob seed remained the weight measurement for precious gems. By the middle ages, however, changes in the trade routes had occurred and large centers of trade were now found within Europe. The carat, as it had become know, became linked to 4 grains Troy weight, with the carob seed having been abandoned at some point during the shift of trade centers. The Troy carat was the equivalent of approximately 205 milligrams. This measurement of weight lasted for the carat until the 20th century. It was between 1907-1914 that the carat was married to the metric system of weights. By 1914 the United States officially abandoned the former Troy measurement of 205.3 milligrams for the carat, and adopted the current metric carat measurement of 200 milligrams.
Karat (Kt) – is the measure of fineness of gold. 24Kt is pure gold, 14Kt gold is 14 parts pure gold. The balance is alloy. 14Kt is the standard fineness used for most jewelry in the USA. Our 14Kt has a rich yellow color and has hardness and durability suitable for lasting use. Our 18Kt gold has a darker color with a deeper yellow tone.
There is a little thing called a bead stopper. It is a spring with a loop at each end, you squeeze the loops and it opens the spring enough to slip your thread or wire into the spring, then let go and it holds the beads so they can’t come off; when your done stringing, just squeeze the loops and take your wire out of the spring.
Finding means manufactured components used to create jewelry. Generally, findings provide the structure for the jewelry design; the ornamentation is provided by both the design of the finding as well as the gems, beads or other decoration that is added. Findings include jump rings, clasps, bails, headpins, ear wires, and charms, to name a few.
The bigger the number on a gauge the thinner it is…i.e.: 26 gauge is thinner than 20 gauge. Generally 24 – 22 gauge is good to use for wrapping pendants, and 24 – 26 gauge is good to use for wire wrap loops, etc.
Wire is generally available in 4 grades of hardness: hard, half hard, soft, dead soft.
With thicker silver wire, it is better to work with soft or dead soft wire. Hard silver wire, in thicker gauges is very difficult to manipulate. For thinner sterling silver wire, you have more flexibility. Depending on your project, you should select sterling silver wire hardness accordingly. If you are wire wrapping many little light weight pearls or beads, you should use soft or dead soft if the beads are very small. The harder the silver wire, the more difficult it is to manipulate, so if you’re making many wraps, it will get tiring if the sterling silver wire is hard. If what you’re wrapping is heavier, and you need it to be more secure, use harder silver wire. It won’t bend or unwind as easily. If the holes in the beads are larger, then you can use thicker sterling silver wire that is soft.
The tools that you will need to start vary depending on what you would like to start making. If you are going to string beads or gemstones for necklaces or bracelets, you will need a bead crimper tool and a side cutter tool to get started. If you are going to make earring or work with wire, you will need chain nose pliers, round nose pliers and a side cutter tool.
The best way to open a jump ring is by pushing one end forward and the other in the opposite direction. This is so it won’t distort the original circle. You can do it using a flat-head plier on one side and the tip of your thumb and forefinger on the other. Or you can use two sets of pliers close the same way.
The process of making silver wire harder is called Tempering. You can do this yourself by hammering, or tumbling. The more you manipulate sterling silver wire, the stiffer it becomes.
The process of making sterling silver wire softer is called Annealing. Exposing the sterling silver wire to high heat, such as a flame, would do this. This will re-align the molecules of the sterling silver wire. Annealing is one of the basic techniques learned in a silversmith. It is essential to working with silver, and it is not as easy as tempering, and requires a lot more equipment. Fortunately, Sterling Silver Wire can be ordered already soft.
Softflex Wire is an excellent medium for making beaded jewelry, and also one of the easiest to work with. All you need to do is slide the jewelry beads on in a creative pattern and you won’t need to worry about wire wrapped connections. Soft Flex doesn’t kink or split at the ends like Tiger Tail, its cheaper cousin, thanks to a coating that protects and softens the surface of the underlying metal. After you’re satisfied with the jewelry beads you’ve threaded onto the Soft Flex, it’s a matter of deciding how you want to finish the connections on either end so the accessory can be closed and reopened. No matter what you decide to do, it will probably involve a ring and a sterling silver crimping bead, so that you can attach a Sterling Silver lobster Claw or Sterling Silver Toggle. Softflex comes in different thicknesses, depending what type of gemstones or pearls that you are stringing.
When you are choosing a clasp for your design, consider the following:
Clasp Size: Is the clasp the appropriate size for the gemstones used? For example, if you are stringing 6mm gemstone beads and you have decided to use a lobster clasp, a 6mm or 8mm clasp would be appropriate. If you were making a delicate necklace with 4mm gemstones and a fine cable chain, a 7mm clasp would be too large. A better choice may be a 5mm or 6mm clasp or a small lobster claw clasp.
Clasp Strength: Is the clasp easy to manage for the person who will be wearing it? Lobster claws, magnetic, self-closing and some hook clasps are the easiest for customers with arthritis or hand and arm problems. Is the clasp aesthetically pleasing with your jewelry design? If you’re not a fan of the “look and feel,” chances are your customer won’t like it either.
Clasp Security: For any necklace you would consider insuring, a securely closing clasp should be used. A securely closing clasp is any clasp that uses a double action (for example: push or pull a release and pull the clasp apart) to remove.