One of the things I keep wanting to do with my jewelry is figure out how to offer quality pieces for affordable prices. I’ve managed to find some wonderful gemstone suppliers, now I’m working on wire options. I love working with the sterling silver, it’s soooooo shiny, but it can get so very expensive. Especially when it comes to my trees and chainmail. Sterling silver rings for a chainmail bracelet can cost me close to $100.00 depending on the size and weave. When I think choker size or cuff size maille … I get woozy. That being said, I do intend to make sterling chainmail but I want to be able to offer maille that doesn’t cost a small fortune.
Copper is an alternative, as is brass or bronze, however they are very much a different animal than the silver. I find my options for a silver look are rather limited. I can go silver plate, which I have, but personally …I don’t love it. I can go artwire, and have found some good wire, however it doesn’t withstand things like my trees; the coating tends to flake and I end up with fuzzy looking trees. Big booooo on that.
I’m a perfectionist, and quality matters to me. As much as I’d love to use these things, I don’t want to make things that look cheap, or fall apart when twisted. No fuzzy trees for Freia.
So… what to do. How to offer a quality piece that looks like silver for less?
I may have figured it out. I hope. It’s rather new from what I understand. It’s called Silver Fill.
It differs from silver plate in that instead of a microscopic silver coating that can and will flake off, it has a thick layer of sterling silver over a base metal core. 5 or even 10% of the wire is sterling. I’m assured it is so much like sterling silver that it can be worked the same, even hammered or oxidized and the sterling layer will withstand it all.
Sounds like major win to me.
I’ve gotten some various sizes of the 10% in already to see how it works for the Tree of Life pieces, some other pendants and some hammering. Last night I ordered some rings for a couple of new chainmail patterns I want to make. Fingers crossed that it works like I’m told. That… would please me greatly. Yes, yes it would.
Fingers crossed it works out to be a good, less expensive, silver alternative.
Results to be posted… soon. After large tree, silver tree brooch and… all the other new projects I’m currently working thru. There’s kind of… a lot of them. 😀
Adventures in jewelry.