Here you can learn about the metals I use in my jewelry, as well as some basic cleaning and care information.
If you have any concerns about the jewelry you want to purchase, please feel free to message me and ask. I am glad to answer questions and help you out!
Did you know that not all Stainless Steel is created equal? Stainless steel is an alloy, and there are several different types.
Martensitic and Ferretic:
Some martensitic, and most Ferretic types of stainless steel are magnetic, and they are also more likely to develop things like rust and tarnish. Often those types contain more nickel as well. And if you have a nickel allergy, that's not something you want to have in your jewelry. I do not use these types of steel in my jewelry.
Austenitic steels are not able to be hardened by heat treatment and are essentially non-magnetic. There are two subgroups of austenitic stainless steel. 300 series stainless steels achieve their austenitic structure primarily by a nickel addition while 200 series stainless steels substitute manganese and nitrogen for nickel, though there is still a small nickel content.
Stainless steel has nickel. Nickel makes some grades of this fantastic alloy shiny and durable. However, some types of stainless contain less nickel than others, and those are the types of stainless steel I use for my jewelry. In order to avoid "bad" stainless steel jewelry, it's a good idea to ask the seller what grade it is. Look for things marked 316L (surgical steel) or 304 stainless steel. 316L grade stainless is Surgical Steel. It's a low nickel steel used in surgical instruments, and other medical equipment. This steel is considered hypoallergenic, and will not tarnish or rust. 304 grade stainless is even better. 304 contains a lower nickel than 316L, which means it is an even better choice if you have a nickel sensitivity. This steel is stronger and less likely to irritate a nickel allergy. Our steel clasps are 304 stainless steel, as is all of our steel chainmail jewelry.
Copper and Brass:
I use only jewelry-grade copper and brass in my chainmaille and wire-wrapped jewelry unless otherwise stated.
Raw copper and brass tarnish naturally over time. See “Cleaning and Care” page for information on how to prevent this.
Some people believe that copper has health benefits when worn. While I do not have any proof of this other than hearsay, I can safely say that my copper chainmaille pieces are un-treated and raw, no coatings have been applied to them.
Anodized aluminum coating is fairly hard but can be scratched with steel. It also can wear out over time if worn every day, non-stop. I use a hard temper aluminum which is stronger than colored copper. Note that aluminum is 3.4 times lighter than copper - this makes it extremely light in comparison to the other metals I weave chainmaille with.
My providers vary, and specific colors may vary from batch to batch as well.
Other Metals: I use “base metal” charms plated with silver, platinum, brass, bronze, copper, or other colors sometimes. Often these are made of brass, pewter, or “pot metal.” I try to avoid nickel at all turns, so have been phasing these charms out to the best of my ability. We are gradually switching our higher-end pieces to 316 or 304 Stainless steel or locally made, high-quality pewter charms.