Adding a patina to a piece of jewelry

A patina is a tarnish on the surface of metals such as silver, copper, and bronze caused by either oxidation or a chemical process. Naturally occurring patina can help to provide a layer of protection against weathering and corrosion.


The patina is an ancient and decorative technique of jewelry, used on metals to change their appearance and give them a particular finish that can highlight features of a piece or maybe add depth to a stone that is set on a piece of jewelry.  In ancient times it was used to give the appearance of aging to sculptures, in different tonalities of brown and green. In modern jewelry this process is made on different metals such as silver, bronze, and copper by using chemical oxidants for intentional aging and give an old or “Renaissance” to the item.

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Medallion with a patina applied to bring out anchor and rop3

The Difference between

Sterling Silver (.925) and Pure Silver (.999)

When shopping for silver jewelry, it is important to appreciate the differences between these two main silver types. Take a look at the following distinguishing factors of sterling and pure silver:
Composition: Pure silver contains 99.9% natural silver and 0.1% trace elements. There is nothing added to the metal after refining in the factory. On the other hand, sterling silver is an alloy of silver (92.5%) and another hard metal (7.5%) such as copper, zinc, or nickel.


Softness: Pure silver is incredibly soft and for this reason, it can be tricky to use in making fine items such as jewelry.  Sterling silver contains other hard metal which makes it harder and sometimes better to with for certain jewelry pieces.


Tarnishing: Pure silver does not tarnish as quickly as sterling silver because there is no metal added.  Copper is the most common alloy added to pure silver to create sterling silver, and after exposure, it gets discolored which affects the surface of the item made using sterling silver.


Identification: Sterling silver comes with a hallmark to identify it as genuine, but for pure silver, this is not necessary. Such hallmarks range from 92.5, 925, STER, 925 Sterling Silver, 925 Silver, STG or SS among other similar variations.


Cost: Pure silver is very expensive because it contains no additions but sterling silver is affordable and this makes it ideal for making jewelry.


Value: Due to the inclusion of other metals such as copper, sterling silver has a lower value than pure silver. However, it is still beautiful, and many people use it as an alternative to more expensive metals such as white gold and platinum.


Skin reactions: With pure silver, there is no expected skin reaction as silver is hypoallergenic. For sterling silver, such problems could arise if the metal added is nickel. Some people are allergic to nickel and this causes problems when they wear sterling silver jewelry which includes this metal.

Why buy handmade jewelry?

By definition, handmade jewelry is literally just that, made by the “hands” of the artisan or maker. The pieces are soldered, sawed, carved, hammered and shaped without the use of manufacturing machinery. Each piece is thought out, planned and made with care.

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Crafted with Care

The personal attention and love that makers and artisans infuse into their work is evident in the pieces that they create. What most people don’t understand is why handmade jewelry is more of an investment than its mass-produced counterparts. There are many reasons why handmade jewelry is more of an investment than pieces that are mass produced, so I thought I would tell you!


No Mass Production Machinery Involved:  A machine can crank out hundreds of units per hour while an individual can only make a finite quantity of the number of pieces in the same amount of time.


When you consider purchasing a handmade piece of jewelry, remember that even though the piece may be an investment, you are supporting something even bigger. You should feel good about your purchase knowing that you have a special piece of the artist in your jewelry collection.


Value of Time: Since there are no machines involved, handmade jewelry takes an amazing amount of time to produce just a single piece. I am sure if you sew, do woodworking, or any other type of crafter, you know this. Between the design and creation process, and depending on the complexity, the time to make a single piece can take many hours, days and even weeks!


The Process: A maker, or artisan, has a very intimate relationship with each piece they create. The design process is key in each piece. Every step of the creation process is thought out and planned.  The creation process requires different stages where a specific order of steps must be followed so that a previous step remains intact. 


Materials: The materials used in creating a handmade piece are top quality and sourced from reputable suppliers. It’s difficult to regulate or even know exactly what alloys are used in mass produced factories where dirty metals are possibly blended together to create costume pieces.


Created with care - buy local:  There is a lot of hype/buzz with “buying local. Reducing your carbon footprint and supporting local artisans is good for the environment and good for everyone. Artisans and makers infuse love and energy into each piece of work. There is HUGE value in supporting local from a sustainability and energetic standpoint. Along with the extra value inherent in handmade jewelry you are also buying a truly one-of-a-kind product. Even if the handmade piece is part of an edition – no maker creates two pieces that are identical. You are the only person with that specific piece of jewelry which says a lot.