About our Metal

June 14, 2018

About our Metal

Sterling Silver Jewelry

Walker Metalsmiths uses .925 Deoxide Sterling Silver in all of our Sterling Silver jewelry. We cast all of our Sterling Silver jewelry on site at our Andover, NY studio, unless otherwise stated, to ensure quality and purity of materials.

  • Sterling Silver will tarnish with time and exposure to humidity and other environmental
  • Tarnish can occur more quickly when exposed to certain chemicals like sulfur.
  • Our Sterling Silver is nickel free and we do not rhodium plate any of our work unless otherwise noted.
  • Store your sterling silver in a clean dry closed location like a jewelry box or jewelry bag to slow down the tarnishing process.

The causes of tarnish:

-Silver does naturally oxidize,typically black or dark grey. The antique finish used in most Walker Metalsmiths’ silver jewelry takes advantage of this property of the metal. Tarnish is a dirty word, but patina is an art word. The antique finish of a dark patina in the background and bright polished white highlights gives depth and contrast to the artistic details.

-The most common catalysts that accelerate the darkening of silver are chemicals. Even the naturally occurring amino acids in your skin can have an effect and this will vary between individuals. Sulphur from the atmosphere, chlorine from pools and cleaners and contact with other materials can also darken silver. Moisture and sunlight can affect silver as well. 

Cleaning and polishing of silver jewelry:

- A treated jewelry polishing cloth can be used to both remove oxides and to brighten the polish. This is especially recommended for antique finish jewelry because it will polish the highlights and leave the darker oxides in the background.

- There are many paste and liquid silver cleaners available. Most of these are used with a warm water rinse. Be advised that some of these may remove the dark background of an antique finish. It is best to proceed cautiously and to apply with a cloth or sponge rather than a toothbrush if a dark background is desired.

- Rings often stay bright just from normal wear and washing of hands.

Not all silver is the same:

- Most jewelry is sterling silver, marked either “STERLING” or 925.

- Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% other metals added to make it stronger and more workable.

- Sterling that is alloyed with only copper will oxidize more quickly than the newer high tech alloys that are tarnish resistant. Some sterling silver is coated with rhodium for a brighter and more tarnish resistant finish.

-Our standard Sterling Silver pieces and chains will not be rhodium finished


Gold and Precious Stones

Walker Metalsmiths uses 14K gold, unless otherwise noted, in all of our Gold jewelry.  We cast our gold on site at our Andover, NY studio to ensure quality and purity of materials.  We do also re-use customer gold in some of our pieces.  If that is the case your piece will be cast by itself to ensure your material is used in only your requested jewelry.

  • We offer 14K Yellow, Rose, and White Gold. 10K and 18K are available upon request.
  • We do not rhodium plate our white gold unless requested or otherwise stated.
  • Color of gold may vary if your gold has been re-cast
  • When cleaning gold jewelry do not use abrasive solutions. Use only solutions designed for jewelry cleaning and follow all manufacture instructions. Many solutions require rinsing with warm water following cleaning.
  • Some stones are more fragile than others. Be sure to take care when wearing and cleaning them to prevent damage.
  • Even diamonds can chip. Be mindful of your jewelry and remove it during rough activities.

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