Wire - knowing your components

This is a continuation of my previous blog on knowing what you're buying.

Seeing a lot of people on etsy selling 'filled' wire - that isn't what they're claiming it to be.

If you're looking for something in Silver - the actual element Silver - not silver colored - but silver - ie Sterling Silver, Fine Silver or Argentium Silver  simply put if someone lists "Sterling silver filled"...they're trying to sell you a false product. There's no such thing. Silver Filled is a term used in some countries to denote Silver plated - brass, steel or other base metal. This is not the same quality of Silver as
Sterling - which is again 92.5% & 7.5% alloy of silver & copper respectively.
Fine Silver is 99.5% pure silver
Argentium Silver is 92.5% silver, Germanium & Copper alloy.

These are the three types of quality Silver that you'll find used in jewelry. Silver plated or silver filled as some countries call it is a microscopic coating of silver plated over a base metal, tarnishes easily, and is NOT real silver - nor should you pay the same prices for a piece made with silver plated/silver filled wire that you do for a piece using Sterling, Fine or Argentium.

Gold Filled is a real legitimate term - gold filled - sometimes called Rolled Gold Filled (RGF) is 1/20th of the total amount of metal is gold. This is the most common type of gold you'll find in today's market - because of the price of gold being over $900 per ozt. Gold Plated (GP) is 1/40th of the total amount of metal - a very microscopically thin layer of gold plated over a base metal (like silver plated), it is very easy to wear through a gold plated layer to the base metal in normal wear, same can be said for silver-plated. If you see an 18" necklace claiming Gold Filled and is handmade, if the price is less than $100 for a necklace out of gold filled wire - think again and ask the seller to provide proof of where they purchased the wire to make the necklace. Unless they're giving away the farm so to speak - they're not going to undercut the price of a necklace that much.

Here's a link on legal requirements for the US for gold filled vs gold plating.
Overview of Gold Filled Processes

German Silver - There's a LOT of misleading information out there on this product. Most jewelers know German silver as nickel silver - not Sterling Silver plated over copper wire - which is what some countries allow as 'silver filled wire'. German Silver has No silver in its alloy whatsoever: Containing 18% nickel, the wire is sometimes referred to as German Silver but actually contains no silver. Nickel Silver - sometimes called German Silver

Per Rings&Things.com  the makeup of their "German/Nickel Silver" is: (65% copper/18% nickel/17% zinc)
nowhere in that description is ANY of the element AG - the element ID of Silver is AG.

A lot of silver-filled (Silver plated copper) wire originates in Germany - that doesn't make it 'german silver' it makes it German made Silver plated copper wire - that's how I'd label something in a materials listing if I used the silver-filled wire produced in Germany. German Silver/Nickel Silver is an alloy of Copper, zinc and nickel. It looks like stainless steel with a gold undertone. It in no way resembles true sterling silver - especially when tumble polished.

Here's a link detailing what their 'german silver' is:
Beadstuff.com's "German Silver"

THIS LINK is the MOST useful in covering many sites definition of Nickel silver/German Silver AND goes on to state that "Calling any metal german silver that does not contain that element in alloy is prohibited"...So how do people get away with calling 'german silver...just that?' My guess is that the majority of it is found in various pre-packaged amounts from major beading companies - who source MOST of their materials from Asian markets - where things are notoriously mislabeled & misrepresented - sorry but this is true and the main reason for the CPSCIA regulations that now limit most handmade products lead wise in the US...because a lot of things imported from asian markets have hurt children in the US. Sadly the new regulations don't help those of us who know our products, and know what to look for, and how to properly represent our items to our customers - it hurts those trying to do good just as much as it hurts those who simply don't care about their customers health & well-being.
Wikipedia - Nickel Silver
Columbia Encyclopedia

ALL of this info was found using a simple search on yahoo.com - for "gold filled", "Silver filled", "German Silver", "Nickel Silver", "Non-Tarnish silver wire". It doesn't take a lot of effort - to learn the truth behind the wire one uses in their products. A confident & informed seller - can and will do more to enhance the community they're a part of than a seller who doesn't know what components go into their end result.

Whether you call yourself an artist, designer, silversmith (even if you don't work in just Silver), goldsmith or jeweler, do your research, know your product, know your components, and do your community a favor. Inform and educate your customers - all customers - so fewer and fewer people get ripped off. Knowing your components & end products makes you look like a more responsible seller, and that will get you further, than lying to everyone - misleading is lying plain & simple - by legal standards.

In the UK - you have to have your items assayed & hallmarked before you can LEGALLY label them as Sterling Silver: UK Sterling Silver Requirements

If you have experience with any of this or have anything you'd like to add please leave a comment - or message me : frawgz.dezignz@gmail.com .


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