Chainmaille jewelry is tough – typically much tougher than other jewelry. Hey, it was once used as armor, so it’s got to be, right? I use 316 stainless steel clasps on all of my jewelry (unless titanium or niobium are requested). These clasps are NOT plated and will not rust.
Lightweight, yet tough. Recommended for everyone. This has the brightest and best selection of colors. Great for kids and adults alike, it will withstand repeated exposure to water without rusting. It will also remain a bright, shiny color (won’t tarnish like silver). Anodization gives aluminum its stunning colors, and does not wear off. To remove the color, you’ll need to remove some metal! Aluminum is chemically processed to convert the surface of the metal into a durable, corrosion resistant surface, and can include color. Made from 5653-H18 alloy. Aluminum in 18 gage and higher is tough enough for almost everyone. Aluminum in 20 gage must be treated more delicately, as it CAN be pulled apart by rough handling.
Skin reactions to this metal are quite rare. Those who are sensitive to nickel or copper can wear aluminum with no problems.
Classic and tough. Recommended for anyone who likes the weight of stainless steel. Both stronger and heavier than aluminum, it is great for finer (20 or 22 gage) pieces, or anyone who wants that steel look and feel. High quality 304 (18/8) stainless steel will not rust, even with exposure to water. Stainless steel is heavier and stronger than aluminum, and carries a higher price. Like ALL stainless steel, it is an alloy of iron, chromium and nickel. However the nickel is chemically bonded to the other materials and typically non-reactive.
In general, people with nickel sensitivities CAN wear stainless steel. If you have concerns about wearing stainless steel, Contact Me, and we may be able to arrange a “tester”.
In comparison, the color of stainless steel vs. silver anodized aluminum, the stainless steel is a bit darker in color, but quite similar.
Pure copper. Recommended for anyone who loves the color range of copper, from rose gold to reddish to a darker patina. Copper is heavier than stainless steel. Copper has similar strength to aluminum in chainmaille, and similar cost to aluminum. Depending on your body chemistry, copper will have no effect, or it may leave your skin with a greenish tinge. That’s simply the nature of copper. Many people swear by the healing properties of copper for sore and/or arthritic hands, including my carpenter husband. Ask me about easy-on copper bracelets for nightime!
Extra strong and hypoallergenic. Made from the same Ti-6Al-4V, Grade 5 titanium alloy as actual airplane parts! Titanium can be anodized into beautiful colors, but these colors tend to be more muted in tone than anodized aluminum. The colored layer on titanium is relatively thin, only a few microns thick. The colored layer CAN wear off after long term use – but this is very subjective to the chemistry of the wearer. Titanium is lighter than stainless steel, but heavier than anodized aluminum, and stiffer (stronger) than stainless steel. It is also more expensive than stainless steel by a small margin. I offer titanium clasps for those who are especially hard on their clasps.
Ultimate hypoallergenic metal with beautiful colors. Niobium is mostly unknown to many people, but it is used especially for people with sensitivities to all metals. Similar to titanium it can be anodized to many beautiful colors, but the colored layer can wear off with time. Niobium is similar in weight and cost to sterling silver. Hook style earwires in niobium are available for those who have extra sensitive ears and are concerned about 316 stainless steel.
Sterling silver is an alloy made up of 92.5 silver. Always a classic. It is heavier than stainless steel, but softer than stainless steel. Sterling silver pieces are ALWAYS custom quotes and custom orders, as the price of sterling can vary greatly day to day.
In comparison, the color of sterling silver vs. silver anodized aluminum is very very similar. The sterling silver tends to have a SLIGHTLY warmer tone. Sterling silver IS subject to tarnishing, just like all sterling silver jewelry. If you love silver – consider aluminum! You might just love it!
NOT PLATED! Gold-filled is a unique product. This is NOT a very thin layer of gold plated onto the surface. It is a “tube” of gold, a minimum of 5% of the weight of the wire, bonded onto the surface of a base metal (brass) with high heat and pressure. Like anodized aluminum, the gold won’t come off unless the metal does. It won’t wear off with regular wear. Gold-filled pieces are ALWAYS custom quotes and custom orders, as the price of gold can vary greatly day to day.