Gold filled wire is one of the most expensive and high quality jewelry-making wires available. It is perceived as a precious metal, but does not have the expensive price of karat gold. You can see an example of a pendant featuring Tibetan crystal wrapped in gold-filled wire by visiting our EquiTouch® store.
Gold-filled wire is made by taking a sheet of 14 kt. gold and bonding it through extreme heat and pressure to a core of semi-precious metal, usually brass. The finished product is a 14 kt. tube that has a surface layer of gold of the appropriate karat weight commonly marked as 14/20 or 14 KGF. To be classified as gold-filled, a piece must be at least 1/20 gold by weight.
Since 14 kt. gold-filled wire is 14 kt. gold bonded to the outside of a gold-colored base metal, what you see and what actually touches your skin is 14 kt. gold. Thus, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between karat gold and gold-filled except, of course, when it comes to the cost.
Thus 14 kt. gold-filled wire is beautiful, strong and durable and, with proper care, will usually last a lifetime. Ionic jewelry cleaners are usually safe to use when your jewelry contains semi-precious stones. Although a good ionic cleaner can cost a bit of money, it is worth the investment since you can use it clean almost all of your jewelry.
A simple, inexpensive way to clean your gold jewelry is with a very mild detergent (do not use soap) and warm water. Note: Some of the softer semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, opals, etc., should not be soaked in water or immersed in a commercial jewelry cleaning solution.
Ultrasound cleaners are not recommended, particularly with the softer stones such as opals since they may cause the stones to fracture.
Storage: You should always store your wire jewelry piece in its own jewelry pouch or a fabric lined box. This will keep it from being scratched or getting tangled with another piece of jewelry or chain.
Traditional folklore tells us that gold is a great healing mineral. It balances energy fields, and is beneficial for opening and balancing the third eye and crown chakras. Gold is believed to remove negativity and enhance the positive energy of the stones included in the jewelry piece. It has also been used to bring wealth, good feelings and happiness.
Cameos made from shell are easier to carve than those made from semi-precious stone. They are considered more informal as well and may be worn as daytime jewelry. Both Queen Victoria of England and Catherine the Great of Russia loved cameos and had large collections. Cameos carved from shell are still the most popular type of cameo sold today.
Visit our EquiTouch® store to see a shell cameo wrapped with silver wire.
Pure silver is 999 parts per thousand and is too soft to incorporate into jewelry. Sterling silver, made from mixing 92.5% pure silver with a base metal (usually copper), has been the most widely used silver for jewelry, silverware, etc. in the past. However, copper oxidizes can cause your jewelry or silver to tarnish.
Argentium sterling silver is normally .925 - .930 pure silver mixed with germanium and contains less copper. Argentiium sterling silver incorporating germanium strongly resists tarnish and also appears whiter and is stronger than standard sterling silver. Thus, this newer sterling silver has become very popular among jewelers and jewelry designers. Although it is more expensive than regular sterling silver, Argentium sterling silver will not tarnish as readily. This, along with its brighter appearance and strength, is causing it to become very popular for use by jewelry designers. For more information about Argentium sterling silver visit http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article5240345.ece.