A further distinction exists between fabricated handcrafted jewelry and handcrafted beaded jewelry. Fabricated handcrafted jewelry is made by silversmiths or goldsmiths who almost always have had formal training and have received a degree from an art school or who have apprenticed with a Master. On the other hand, artisans who create handcrafted beaded jewelry may or may not have formal training. Rather than create the gold or silver used in their jewelry, these artisans purchase those materials.
In addition to purchasing metals, beaded jewelry artisans must also purchase gemstones, crystals, glass or other materials. The quality of these materials plus the skills, expertise and creativity of the artisan will ultimately determine the beauty and durability of their jewelry. What’s important for you, the consumer, is to know what you’re buying. This article will help you to make informed choices about purchasing handcrafted beaded costume jewelry manufacturers usa.
To be called “gold filled”, the quantity of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the total product. This is commonly known as 14/20, 12/20 or 10/20 or 14K, 12K or 10K gold filled. By far, 14k gold filled metal is the best of the filled golds. There’s 100 times more gold in 14k gold filled metal than in gold plate. Gold filled metal is also called rolled-gold. A thick covering of gold, 5% or 1/20 of the total weight, is mechanically bonded to a base metal, usually brass or copper. This is gold filled metal. It’s hard wearing, will not flake or peel and should last as long as 14K gold when properly cared for.
When it comes to gold plating, steel or brass is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution along with a lump of solid gold. When an electric current is applied, a thin layer of gold is deposited on the metal. This process of called electroplating. Since the plating is quite thin, the plate, and hence the color, will definitely wear off rather quickly. The result is an unattractive flaking and peeling of this very thin layer of gold.
When buying jewelry you have several choices of metal. Most often gold and silver is used by fabricated artisans. However, beaded jewelry artisans can and do use these same metals. Because gold is the most expensive metal at this point in time, even more expensive than platinum, beaded jewelry artists will likely use gold filled metal, gold plated or gold vermeil as well as sterling silver, fine silver or argentium silver in their jewelry. When shopping for beaded handcrafted jewelry, it’s important to learn about each metal.