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How base metals are used in the jewellery industry

Metals can be alloyed with other metals to alter their properties, such as color and hardness, in the jewelry and watchmaking industry. Base metals like titanium, copper, iron, zinc, and tin are commonly used in alloys such as stainless steel, brass, and bronze. Below is an overview of metals and their applications in alloys within the jewelry and watchmaking industry.

Copper (Cu) - The red metal:

Copper is a malleable and reddish metal often used as an alloy. It is employed in "rose gold," an alloy of gold containing approximately 20 percent copper and a small amount of silver. This combination imparts a reddish color to rose gold.

Copper is also used in bronze alloys, consisting of about 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin.

Additionally, copper combined with zinc forms an alloy called tombac, a highly malleable metal used in items like pitchers, vases, and modeling work.

Zinc (Zn) - A frequently used alloy metal

Zinc, a grayish metal, is commonly used as an alloy metal in brass and nickel silver, found in items like cutlery and jewelry.

Brass is utilized extensively in earrings, necklaces, rings, and other accessories, as well as in fixtures for kitchens and bathrooms.

Iron (Fe) - An essential component in steel:

Iron, a grayish metal, is divided into pig iron (similar to cast iron) and steel, which is malleable. While iron is not used directly in jewelry, stainless steel, a significant alloy of iron (blended with chromium and carbon), is commonly used.

Certain types of stainless steel are hypoallergenic and durable, making them suitable for piercings and jewelry. Iron as a steel alloy is also widely used in jewelry tools due to its hardness.

Chromium (Cr) - The metal with intense luster:

Chromium is a white, very hard, and brittle metal that is used as an alloy in stainless steel. Typically, stainless steel contains iron, carbon, and over 12 percent chromium by mass before it is considered "stainless steel."

Chromium is also utilized in chrome-plating for bathroom fixtures due to its high luster.

Aluminum (Al) - The lightweight metal:

Aluminum is a pliable, white, and lightweight metal frequently used in alloys. It is employed in various forms in the production of costume jewelry (non-precious jewelry), such as robust wires used in creating earrings and necklaces. However, these wires are often gold-plated or silver-plated.

Nickel (Ni) - Good for whitening:

Nickel, a hard, gray-white metal, was once used as an alloy but is less common now due to its allergenic properties.

Nickel has the ability to lighten alloys, turning them brighter or completely white. It was historically used in "nickel silver" (also known as alpaca), a blend of copper, nickel, and zinc.

Tin (Sn) - A common soldering metal:

Tin, a soft, white metal, is often used as a soldering material and alloyed with copper in bronze (usually 17 percent tin). Tin is also seen in jewelry manufacturing.

"White metal," an alloy consisting of 88 percent tin, is stronger than pure tin and is suitable for casting models and tin figures.

Titanium (Ti) - A durable and lightweight metal:

Titanium is a silver-white, lustrous metal known for its durability and lightweight properties.

It is popularly used in the production of watches and wedding rings. Many prefer titanium over stainless steel for its lightness, comfort, and durability.

Titanium can be colored through heat treatment and anodization, making it versatile for both jewelry and watches.

Tantalum (Ta) - A resilient and rare metal:

Tantalum is a black and heavy metal that does not irritate the skin. It is one of the rarest metals and is relatively unknown in Danish jewelry but is used in surgical instruments and implants.

Due to its high melting point, tantalum is challenging to work with, but laser technology is enabling the creation of distinctive black jewelry in tantalum.

Alloy Materials

Do you wish to alloy your precious metals yourself? At Aktiv Guld, we offer a diverse range of alloying materials for this purpose. Our selection includes copper, brass, and bronze. Additionally, we supply a wide variety of Magic alloying materials specifically designed for alloying gold in 8kt, 14kt, and 18kt, as well as silver. If you need advice and guidance, feel free to contact us anytime.

Explore our selection of alloying materials here.

Get started with alloying precious metals

Turbo Torch melting tip

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Turbo Torch handle H-4, propane

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Melting and soldering station

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Electric melting furnace

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Tong for crucible (melting dishes)

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Graphite stir rod

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