The metals I work with include jeweler's brass, .925 sterling silver & 14k gold-filled
Jeweler's brass is an alloy of copper (85%) and zinc (15%) and is very similar in tone to 14k gold. Brass requires a little extra care than other metals but if properly done, it will last a lifetime.
.925 sterling silver is an alloy of silver (92.5%) and copper (7.5%)
14k gold-filled is a thick layer of gold that is pressure bonded to a brass core. It is hundreds of times thicker than gold-plated and should not flake or tarnish. It is suitable for most skin sensitivities.
All metals are nickel-safe!
Both brass and sterling naturally darken over time and will tarnish when exposed to heat and humidity. This does not harm the metal and actually acts as a protective layer! If you enjoy the aged look of patina created by tarnish, you can simply let it do it's thing.
To keep jewelry bright & shiny:
- avoid getting jewelry wet
- apply lotions, oils, perfumes, etc. BEFORE putting on jewelry
- when not being worn, store jewelry in an airtight bag or container in a cool, dry place (NOT the bathroom)
- polish periodically with a sunshine cloth
There is a slight chance brass will turn your skin green due to the high copper content. This is completely harmless and temporary - some people even believe it has healing properties! Whether or not you turn green is largely due to your individual chemistry and can be avoided by keeping your jewelry clean and dry.