About the metals and other materials used in our jewelry

Alpaca

Alpaca silver is often the material of choice for those who craft jewelry by hand. It's malleable and can be bent into shape with pliers alone, while mimicking the sheen and appearance of silver. It's much more affordable than authentic silver jewelry -- a plus when shopping on a budget. High-grade alpaca does not stain and is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for those with silver and metal allergies.

Most often it consists of: 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.

Brass

An alloy composed of varying proportions of copper and zinc, usually about 2 parts copper to 1 part zinc.

Clam Shells

From various bivalve mollusks. The very numerous species of fresh-water mussels are often called clams.

Copper

A brilliant metal of a peculiar red color, somewhat heavier than iron, known and used since remotely ancient times. Copper is the only metal which occurs widely distributed in nature in the free state. Blocks of nearly pure metallic copper, sometimes weighing hundred of tons have been found. For this reason it was the first metal extensively used by man. The copper or bronze age followed the stone age. Copper utensils found in Egypt are believed to be more than 5000 years old. The Indians of North America made use of copper, obtained in the Lake Superior region, long before the discovery of the continent by the white man. In the time of the Romans the island of Cyprus was famous for the production of copper or Cyprian brass, hence the name cuprum from shich the word copper is derived. Copper is the ductile and malleable of the common metals and is exceeded only by gold, silver, and platinum in respect to these properties. In tenacity, copper is surpassed only by iron. Copper is more highly elastic than any metal except steel, and as a conductor of heat and electricity is surpassed only by silver. Copper has a distinct odor and an unpleasant metallic taste. It takes a high polish and is not acted upon by water, but in the air it becomes coated with a thin layer of green carbonate which protects it from further corrosion. The important ores, malachite and azurite, are basic carbonates of the metal. Copper is universally used as an alloy for silver and gold, imparting hardness and wearing qualities to these metals when used for coins and in jewelry. Various alloys of copper, especially bronze, which consists of tin and copper, and brass, which is made of zinc and copper, have been widely used since ancient times.

Malachite

A mineral consisting of a bright green basic carbonate of copper. Malachite owes its formation to the alteration of other copper minerals, and is therefore often found in the upper parts of copper mines. When present in sufficient quantities, it may become an important ore of copper.

Mother-of-pearl

The hard iridescent internal layer of sundry shells, as the pearl oysters and the abalones.

Rhodium

A very hard, difficulty fusible metal, slightly heavier than lead, found in small quantities in platinum and gold ores.

Silver

A brilliant white metal, known and used since the dawn of history. Like gold and platinum, it is ranked among the "precious metals". Silver is extremely malleable and ductile, has great tenacity , and is the best conductor of heat and electricity known. At ordinary temperatures it does not rust or oxidize, nor is it affected by any atmospheric agent, except sulphur compounds, which quickly tarnish its surface. Silver occurs native, sometimes in masses of several hundred pounds of nearly pure metal, but chiefly in ores, which include copper and lead. While silver occurs in every continent, it is most abundant along the Rocky Mountain-Andes systems of the Americas. The mines of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Peru are the richest known, those of the United States and Mexico far surpassing the combined production of all other countries.

Stainless steel

An alloyed of iron,  chromium, and, carbon,  virturally immune to rust and corrosion.

Sterling Silver

An alloy consisting of 925 parts of silver and 75 parts of copper, established by law as the standard of fineness of British silver coins, whence the use of the term sterling silver for all articles made from silver of equal purity and wearing qualities.

Turquoise

A beautiful, semi-precious stone highly prized for its delicate blue or bluish green shades.  In composition it is a hydrous aluminum phosphate colored by copper.  It is found in igneous or volanic rocks.

Pieces of turquoise not suitable for settings are crushed and set in epoxy.

Resin (also Rosin)

A substance exuded from various plants and trees and used in varishes, plastic, etc.

Source: "Lincoln Library of Essential Information"  The frontier Press Company, Buffalo, New York 1938

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