Copyright © Linda R. Paine
My jewelry collection is hand woven using three precious metals: 14kt. yellow and/or rose gold-filled and sterling silver. Being a tapestry weaver, I enjoy blending different metals to create a unique color and a highly reflective presentation.
14/20 is the highest grade gold-filled material and refers to an engravable layer of 14 kt. gold which has been bonded by heat and pressure to the interior core of jeweler’s brass. The value of gold-filled is greater than gold-plated, because gold-filled has an actual layer of karat gold, not just a microscopic film. Industry specialists suggest that gold-filled material has a 1000 times thicker layer than gold plated jewelry. With routine jewelry care, gold-filled pieces should last a life time and be suitable to pass on to the next generation. With the extremely high gold prices, gold-filled jewelry is economical; purchasers can enjoy the rich look of gold at a fraction of the price.
I handcraft jewelry using yellow or rose gold-filled, or I mix either of them with sterling silver. Ocassionally or upon request. I execute a bracelet or necklace in all one gold shade or in all sterling silver. A few pieces are actually made with all three metals.
Now a word about sterling silver. My woven bracelets are constructed using regular sterling silver, because the half hard version provides the exact strength, flexibility and mallability that weaving requires. But for many chainweaving projects, I utilize Argentium or AS for short. I have also seen it referred to as AG. A small amount of an additive that reportedly slows tarnishing has been added; Argentium has gained steady acceptance by jewelers since its introduction in the late 1990s. Unfortunately it works up slightly differently than regular sterling, so it does not weave well.
I offer one bracelet combining yellow gold-filled and multi colored niobium. Niobium is a nonalligentic metal, so I also occasionally use niobium earwires for my Star Fish earrings. An electrical process is used to create a range of colors on anodized niobium. These colors can slightly fade or scratch if not handled carefully. Only very slight soft cloth cleaning is recommended - thus, I only combine it with gold or glass beads.
My Black on Gold bracelet is made from yellow gold-filled and black anodized steel. The same care accorded niobum should be used.
I use the following abreviations:
YGF = 14/20 yellow gold-filled
RGF = 14/20 rose gold-filled
SS = sterling silver
AS = Argentium sterling silver
Nb = niobium
When I use them in combination such as a bracelet done in YGF/SS; it refers to the fact that the loom base and frame are in yellow gold, and the vertical warp is sterling silver with yellow gold-filled weft - thus the bracelet has 3 plus layers. The metal listed first is the most used metal in that particular jewelry piece.
My various beadwork pieces are woven using Miyuki and Toho Japanese glass seed beads in various sizes, shapes colors, and finishes.