We craft our jewelry out of various metals and materials. We strive to keep our pieces hypoallergenic and avoid findings that contain metals and materials that commonly cause reactions such as nickel and latex. The type of material also determines the base cost of a piece. A finished piece made from pure titanium, for example, would differ in cost from the same piece made in aluminum. Also different materials require different levels of care in order to maintain their brightness and cleanliness. In order for you, our customer, to make an informed decision we would like to give you a little information on the common metals and materials we use.
This is the most common material used in our chainmaille projects. It is lightweight being 66% lighter than steel on average and while not as strong as other metals it has great durability. Bright aluminum has a great silvery color with white undertones. It doesn’t tarnish or change color over time and is easily cared for requiring only hot water and mild soap to wash. It is not recommended to use any strongly acidic cleaners on aluminum as it can change the color. It can be tumbled to increase its shine. Aluminum is our lowest cost metal. We generally use saw cut rings to produce a smoother seam.
Anodizing is a process in which the metal is colored using a combination of chemicals, organic dyes, and electricity. This process produces a variety of vibrant colors in any imaginable shade from matte to metallic. Because we prefer saw cut rings, most of our anodized aluminum colors are bright and shiny. They can be cared for just like bright aluminum by washing in mild soap and water and like their bright aluminum counterpart won’t tarnish or change color over time. It is not suggested to tumble anodized aluminum rings as it won’t increase their shine and can damage the anodized coating that provides its color.
The first of three copper based metals we use, jeweler’s brass is slightly heavier than steel and made from a copper-zinc alloy. It’s tempered to half hardness and produces a golden hued color that only has a slight red undertone when compared to other copper based metals. Because it is a copper alloy it can react with some skin chemistry and will darken with age. It can be cleaned ultrasonically or with jewelry cleaners designed for use on copper such as Brasso. It can also be tumbled to increase its shine.
The second of three copper based metals we use, bronze is heavier than steel and slightly heavier than jeweler’s brass and made from a copper-tin alloy. It’s tempered to half hardness and is a metallic brown color with a red undertone. Because it is a copper alloy it too can react with some skin chemistry and will darken with age. It can be cleaned ultrasonically or with jewelry cleaners designed for use on copper such as Brasso. It can also be tumbled to increase its shine.
Though generally not believed to be hard enough to make effective maille pieces, pure copper can be tempered to a hardness that allows it to be woven into maille patterns. The copper we use is tempered to full hardness and is heavier than steel and both alloys. It is a bright, vibrant red-gold color. Copper can react to some skin chemistry causing the metal to turn green and it will darken with age, but like its alloys it can be cleaned ultrasonically or with jewelry cleaners designed for use on copper such as Brasso and it can be tumbled to increase its shine. Copper and all copper alloys are of moderate price being more than aluminum but not nearly so much as higher end materials like titanium and silver.
A less commonly heard of metal, niobium is a strong, hard, durable metal. Niobium rings are composed purely of niobium with no alloyed metals. Because of this it is a perfect choice for those looking for hypoallergenic options or who have sensitive skin. Niobium can be anodized to produce a beautiful and iridescent array of colors, however due to the nature of the metal the colors produced are a more matte finish. Niobium can be tumbled to increase its shine, but will not reach the mirrored shine of aluminum or other brighter metals. Niobium is one of our higher priced metals. Pieces containing or composed of niobium are available on request but may not be kept in our inventory often.
Rubber rings are made with EPDM and/or silicone. They are generally combined with other metal rings to produce stretchy pieces such as bracelets that don’t require a clasp or pendant designs that couldn’t be accomplished with metal rings alone. All the rubber rings we use are 100% latex free and made to be durable and withstand general wear and tear.
Stainless steel is most often used when creating armor pieces though occasionally finds use in jewelry pieces that require large welded rings for bases. Stainless steel does contain nickel and is not hypoallergenic so careful care should be taken if you have sensitive skin. Steel can be magnetic. It can be cleaned with warm soapy water as well as tumbled to increase its shine, though it takes a lot of tumbling. Steel is on par with the copper based metals and anodized aluminum in price range. Most of the steel pieces currently in our inventory are welded rings used as bases in designs. It will be noted in the description if a piece contains stainless steel.
Harder than stainless steel but 40% lighter, titanium is a great metal for jewelry or larger pieces. It’s very hypoallergenic and easy on skin and can be anodized into an array of colors. However like niobium the colors produced when anodized are more matte than bright and shiny. The color may fade due to skin oils but will clean right up in hot soapy water. It can be tumbled to increase its shine, but this is not recommended for anodized as it can scratch the color layer. Titanium is significantly higher in price than aluminum but much more durable and resistant to wear and tear. It is less than niobium and the precious metals.
On special orders, we can do work in the following metals. We do not currently stock these as they are expensive to do so.
18k Gold – Yellow, Red, Pink, Green and Palladium White
Gold, Rose – Filled
Gold, White – Filled
Gold, Yellow – Filled