Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lessons in Metal

Good Morning,

I know that Thursday's are usually devoted to an artist.  The blog  ring is on hiatus until next week, and I have run my friends to ground, asking for permission and verbiage to use.  They're shy.

So instead, this post is all about Metals, Heavy, Precious, Rolled, Filled, and Nickel.

Silver and the variations there of: one of my biggest pet peeves in the industry is Nickel.  Nickel is not Silver, it is not "Nickel Silver", there is NO Silver in Nickle what so ever.  Not even the tiniest elemental trace.  None, zero, zip, nada, nil.  Nickle is a copper alloy usually containing 60% Copper, 20% Zinc, and 20% Nickel, it may also contain Tin, also known as "Indian Silver" or "German Silver".  Nickel is toxic, and many people are allergic to Nickel and including the word "silver" is misleading and irresponsible.  Nickel is a white metal, like aluminum or tin.  Adding the word silver also allows sellers to up their price for a common and non-precious item.  Don't be fooled, Nickel is not and never will be silver of any kind, ever.

Silver and Sterling Silver - Silver depending on where you are in the world can be graded differently.  Sterling Silver however is always 92.5% Silver and 7.5% Copper (or other metals).  Silver in it's pure state is too soft to make functional items from, and is usually alloyed with other metals to strengthen it without changes its properties or the beauty of metal.  Three Nines Fine or Fine Silver is 99.9% silver and used mainly in the creation of jewelry.

Silver plated items are usually .15 to .25mm of Silver adhered to the surface of a base metal, usually copper or brass.   Rolled Silver or Rolled Gold have a thicker outer sheath of precious metal adhered to the base metal.  This type of plating lasts longer than the traditional plating methods.

Argentium - Argent is the Spanish word for Silver, Argentium is actually Sterling Silver that has had some of the copper content replaced with the metalloid germanium.  Germanium (Ge) is a chemical element appearing silver-grey in color.  The addition or replacement of copper aids in stopping the oxidation process of the metal and makes it less susceptible to tarnish.

Gold is weighed or measured in Karats.  Carats are used to measure gemstones.  I know a little confusing.  Karats refer to amount of actual gold a coin or piece of jewelry contains.  Pure gold is simply too soft to use in making or creating any kind of functional item and is usually alloyed with another metal to improve strength without marring the beauty of the natural metal.

24 kt - Pure Gold
22 kt to 10kt - are common for most jewelry
Rose gold contains 25% copper giving it is reddish or "rose" hue.
White Gold is usually alloyed with another white metal like palladium or  silver to give it the white color.

The world's consumption of available Gold today is counted as 50% used for jewelry, 40% investments and 10% industry (electronics, etc.)

Copper is one of the very first metals mined by man, and was principally mined on Cyprus in the Roman Era.  It has numerous uses, and makes beautiful jewelry.  From trade and artworks in the Ancient World, to modern uses today such as Copper Bottom Cooking pots, building materials, conductor of heat and constituent of various metal alloys.  When allowed to corrode, Copper will verdigris or turn green (patina), it is also found as a trace element in food and water and is important to all life, it is part of the respiratory enzyme complex, cytochrome c oxidase.   It is also used to create mirrors, and connected with the goddess Aphrodite and Venus, the alchemical symbol for copper is also the modern symbol for women, or the planetary sign for Venus.

Thank you for stopping by and having a look.

The Alchemists Vessel would like to wish you a pleasant day.

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