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Choosing the Right Metal: Your Definitive Guide To Choosing the Right Material for Your Bracelet

Posted by Mark & Heidi Shilensky on

Choosing the Right Metal: Your Definitive Guide To Choosing the Right Material for Your Bracelet

Choosing the Right Metal: Your Definitive Guide To Choosing the Right Material for Your Bracelet

Your Definitive Guide To Choosing the Right Material for Your Bracelet

From gold to steel there are many jewelry metals to choose from. Here is everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Keyword(s): Jewelry metals

 

Some of the earliest examples of the use of precious metals as jewelry were found in ancient Sumeria. Queen Pu-abi was buried with a robe that was encrusted with gold and other precious metals together with gold pins and amulets. Even in the 3rd Millennium BCE the beauty of gold was appreciated.

From gold to steel there are many jewelry metals to choose from. Here is everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Jewelry Metals

A gemstone or crystal may be the star attraction in a piece of jewelry. Without the support of the right jewelry metal, it can flop like a star of stage and screen would without the supporting cast.

Poor quality can detract from the design. The wrong choice of metal may make a piece of jewelry impractical.

You may suit some metals and not others. Your skin may react to some metals making wearing a piece of jewelry uncomfortable. If the metal does cause a skin reaction you are likely to consign even the most expensive piece of jewelry to a draw rather than wear it.

Each jewelry metal has features that are advantages or disadvantages. Understanding these will help you chose the right jewelry metal for your bracelet.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a grey silvery metal.

It is resistant to rust because it contains chromium. This characteristic is a major asset as a jewelry metal. It doesn't need cleaning and keeps its shine well.

By nature, stainless steel is a tough metal. Its durability has made it a reliable metal for knives, cutlery, and flatware. It can be a reliable metal for mounting gemstones and is not very reactive to even sensitive skin.

It is a suitable metal for bracelets.

Palladium

One of the so-called, noble metals, palladium is naturally resistant to corrosion. This means it retains its luster without having to be polished. This white metal has the appearance of silver but unlike silver, it does not tarnish.

This is a strong metal that doesn't expand even when heated. It's excellent for securely holding mounted gemstones. It has not yet achieved the popularity of platinum but it is a very similar metal with many of the same advantages and characteristics.

Palladium is a good choice for people with sensitive skin as it is hypoallergenic. It is suitable for bracelets.

Titanium

Titanium has a reputation for being extremely strong. It is also very light for such a strong material. This makes it comfortable and easy to wear.

It's most commonly used for rings where its toughness makes it an excellent choice, especially for everyday wear. It's increasingly used for wedding rings.

The unusual feature of this jewelry metal is its appearance. Its color can vary between black and silver with shades of gray in between.

This is not a suitable material for setting gemstones as the metal cannot be worked. Any heat from the solder would damage the metal. It cannot be engraved either.

A big plus is that it is hypoallergenic. It is suitable for bracelets.

Cobalt

Another extremely tough metal used for jewelry is Cobalt. This metal is similar in appearance to silver but it is less prone to corrosion so stays bright and lustrous. It's toughness also means it is unlikely to wear or become dull as a result of micro scratches.

The toughness of this metal makes it similar to titanium in that it cannot be worked much. It's not used much for setting gemstones. It is more commonly used for rings rather than bracelets.

As the metal is inert hence it's resistance to tarnishing it is also kind to sensitive skin.

Tungsten Carbide

As the name suggests tungsten carbide is made of two materials. The combination of tungsten and carbon makes this a very strong material. It's even tougher than titanium.

The toughness makes it robust for jewelry that is worn every day such as wedding rings. It is not suitable for working and so is little used for setting gemstones.

Tungsten Carbide is suitable for people with sensitive skin as it is hypoallergenic. It is suitable for bracelets.

Sterling Silver

The classic white or gray metal used in jewelry making since time immemorial is silver. Silver is a beautiful metal that has a traditional romantic association.

Silver is in fact too soft a metal to be used for jewelry on its own. It is mixed with other metal, most often copper to strengthen it. This alloy is known as sterling silver.

Silver does tarnish and so has to be cleaned if it is to be shown at its lustrous best. The tarnishing can actually act as an attractive feature if the metal is worked. Engraved or recessed features in the silver jewelry grow darker making a pleasing effect against highly polished areas of the piece.

Some people have a skin reaction to silver. It is very popular as a metal for making bracelets.

Yellow Gold

The traditional appearance of gold is the yellow gold variant. It is most pure in the 24-karat form. Such purity does mean that jewelry made of 24-karat gold is extremely soft and unsuitable for normal use.

Yellow gold is an allow of gold and both silver and copper. Gold is tarnish-resistant and although it is tough enough for everyday use it is workable. It is used in all forms of jewelry making and works very well with many gemstones.

Allergies are rare and yellow gold makes very attractive bracelets.

White, Rose and Green Gold

When gold is alloyed with other metals including zinc, copper, nickel, palladium, and silver it is white gold. The nickel can cause allergic reactions with some wearers but most white gold is coated with rhodium to make it suitable for people with a nickel allergy.

Rose gold contains silver and copper. Green gold contains silver.

These variants of gold do not tarnish. They are used in all types of jewelry including bracelets.

Platinum

Platinum is a natural but rare metal. It is hypoallergenic. It does not tarnish and is very tough.

Its denseness tends to make it more suitable for rings, earrings, and pendants. Platinum bracelets are also available.

Your Preference

A metal's suitability for a particular type of jewelry depends on strength, durability and whether it can take settings for gemstones. It may also need to be hypoallergenic for some wearers. Beyond that, jewelry metals are a matter of personal preference.

Contact us with any inquiries about bracelets, here.

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