Materials / Care

Materials

Niobium

This is a space age metal that has many unusual properties. One remarkable trait is that it anodizes to create beautiful iridescent colors. Once the niobium has been anodized, the color remains very stable. As you can see to some extent in the photos, the color on most of my niobium pieces is a bluish purple, called Morning Glory. The iridescence allows the color to shift slightly as it moves around. Also, it has a unique way of picking up the colors around it. For example, if you wear it with a coral colored shirt, it amazingly seams to pick up some coral colors within the piece. Niobium is hypoallergenic.

Niobium Color Descriptions

Morning Glory – This is an iridescent color that looks bluish-purple, but picks up a lot of other colors. The color shifts slightly as you move it around. It really shows the colors in the shirt your wearing too. It seems to look bluer when you’re wearing blue, and more purple when you wear it with purple. It also looks great with coral, and black or white.

Teal – This rich bluish-green color reminds me of the waters of the Caribbean. As you move it around it is iridescent, shifting between greens and blues. It is a unique color to wear, and looks excellent with a variety of skin types and hair colors.

Lemon Lime – Just as it’s name describes, this color is a unique blend of green and yellow. It’s a bright color that looks great with the silver. It wears well with both green and yellow tones. Lemon lime is a fun color to wear, especially in the spring and summer months.

Autumn – This color looks great with some yellows, oranges, rusts, and other fall colors. I’ve also noticed this color really looks great with red hair. If you wear a lot of warm natural tones, this color is a wonderful choice.

Arctic Blue – This color has a cool feel to it, and reminds me of a glacier. It really looks great with blues and white, and compliments denim very nicely.

Brown Eyes – This rich brown color creates an amazing contrast against the silver and gold. It looks great with many warm earth tones. The deep brown brings elegance to the piece.

Shadow – This grayish color is niobium in its natural state. It looks stunning behind silver and gold, and makes for a basic color that can be worn with anything. It looks especially sharp with blacks, grays, charcoal, and white.

Gold Filled

Let me take a minute here and explain what gold filled means. Hardly anybody understands the difference between gold filled and plating or more accurately electroplating. My gold filled bracelet’s are made out of a solid tube of 14k gold. It was once hollow, then filled with a bronze wire and bonded by heat and pressure. It is now a solid piece of metal, gold that is filled, hence gold filled. This is in contrast to electroplating which is made out of brass or other metals; and when the piece is buffed and all but finished it is submerged into a solution where particles of gold are electrically attracted to the surface until it looks gold. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating. Vermeil similarly is electroplated and is expected to wear off as well; so they make it out of sterling underneath so you will at least end up with a silver piece when the gold particles wear off. Many of the gold filled pieces I have out in the world still look great after 30 years. I’ll take the gold filled, thank you.

Rose Gold Filled

The rose color comes form the alloy. Any 14k piece is divided into 24 parts, 14 of those parts are pure gold (24k) and 10 parts are alloy. In standard 14k yellow gold the 10 parts alloy are a 50/50 combination of sterling and copper. It is then mixed with the pure 24k gold to yield the standard yellow color we all know and love. In the rose gold all of the alloy is copper. It is mixed with the 14 parts of pure gold to create the beautiful rose or coppery color. It is still a 14k gold.

Sterling Silver

The silver we use is “sterling”, which is 92.5% fine silver, and 7.5% copper. Fine silver is too soft to be used all by itself, therefore, a small amount of copper is added to make it harder. The sterling silver we use is a new formulation of sterling that is tarnish resistant. With this, a small amount of the copper is replaced by germanium making it much more resist to tarnish. The name “sterling” refers to the quality of the silver. By this I mean that if it just says silver, it can be an undetermined amount of silver. But to be “sterling silver”, it must be at least 92.5% fine silver.

Bi-Metal

The term bi-metal refers to two sheets of precious metal. These sheets are bonded together under heat and pressure. One sheet being 14k yellow gold, and the other being sterling silver. This is a relatively new concept that was developed due to the rising cost of gold. With bi-metal you have a beautiful sheet made entirely of precious metals. The front of the sheet still has all the characteristics of the 14k gold.

Care

Basically speaking a treated polishing cloth takes care of everything aside from the niobium and patinas. You can wipe off the silver, bi-metal, gold filled, and rose gold filled. The patina and niobium should not be wiped off, as this would cause the color to be lessened. The polishing cloth is treated with a chemical tarnish remover and a fine abrasive. When wiping the sterling silver pieces, just polish the parts you can reach. The parts you can’t reach darken and that adds to the contrast and it looks richer over time.

The easiest way to care for your jewelry, especially the sterling, is to give it a quick wipe with the polishing cloth after you wear it and put it back in the bag I sold it in. The two things that react with the sterling are the chemistry in the fingerprints, and the chemistry in the air. By wiping it off and storing it in the airtight bag, it’s clean going in and stays clean. It is easy, fast and the piece is always ready to go. Another reason I recommend keeping it in the plastic bag along with my business card, is that should you have a question or problem, my contact information is always right with it.