-As an Etsy seller who makes these kinds of rings, I’ll be sharing with you the type of metal wire that I use.
The main concerns I had when I started my shop in 2012 was customer affordability, metal composition, and the longevity of my wire jewelry. I needed to be able to offer cheaper alternatives for those who love handmade jewelry. That meant wire that didn’t contain precious metals like gold and silver were now on my radar. The problem with this, was that some people suffer from contact dermatitis, usually from wearing costume jewelry that contain nickel and copper. It’s pretty common, and if you’re unsure of what it is, it’s simply a skin allergy that results in various reactions of the skin including, rashes, blisters, and a change in skin color. Guess who’s conveniently allergic to nickel and copper? Yep. Me.
I’m pretty sure I was put on Earth to be an avid costume jewelry consumer and collector who does weekly raids of the jewelry section in “Eternally-A-Year-More-Than-Twenty” *cough-cough*. <— Sorry for the run-on. Instead, thanks to contact dermatitis, I enjoy these gorgeous inexpensive pieces of costume jewelry on others with my eyeballs and imagination. The positive of this allergy was that I was now my own lab rat. I drew up my designs, then purchased base metal wire stand-ins for copper, silver, gold, and rose gold. (Jewelry grade…not the Depot of Home grade). I manipulated my wires to fit my designs, and wore the little “masterpieces”. Fun fact, my final master piece is always the one photographed to advertise my listing. For the made-to-order pieces, I keep the master to wear and base orders of duplicates off of, and for the one-of-a-kind pieces, I sell the master.
Blister days, and rash hours later, I failed. I went up the ladder of least expensive to most expensive, some containing small percentages of precious metals, and kept trying other wires in the name of science. When my skin stopped blistering, peeling, and being green, I finally settled on the best metal wire compositions and makeups I could find. My new friends were copper, silver, brass, baked on nylon, and a clear layer of protective film. For the sake of convenience, lets call it CPF. What I found is what I currently use:
Copper wire: solid copper with clear baked on nylon, and CPF.
Silver wire: solid copper core, 99.9% pure silver plating, clear baked on nylon, and CPF.
Gold wire: brass (metal alloy of copper and zinc), yellow-gold tinted baked on nylon, and CPF.
Rose gold wire: brass (metal alloy of copper and zinc, but with a higher percentage of copper than in the gold wire), 99.9% pure silver plated, rose-gold tinted baked on nylon, and CPF.
Allergy problem solved. Humans: 1 – Allergies: 0.
The metal wires were tarnish resistant because of the clear protective film, but not tarnish proof. I noticed that sometimes, after showering with my jewelry on, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc., the clear protective film would flake off. It wasn’t noticeable, and it definitely didn’t make my skin allergy flare up, but I did notice that it tarnished faster than the pieces I would remove before making contact with everyday chemicals. This included soaps/detergents, hand sanitizer, nail polish remover, household cleaners, etc. Thats when I tackled the next problem with a little kitchen chemistry.
A teaspoon of baking soda and squeezed lemon juice from half a lemon did the trick of renewing the luster and shine of the metals. In fact, before I box up and ship every piece of jewelry that I make for my customers, I swirl them in the bottom of a mug containing this mixture to remove any oxidation the metal endured in storage. Then, I simply rinse the mixture off under running water and dry the jewelry pieces with a paper towel. It’s so easy to do at home, and I highly recommend using this method to my customers. It also helps if the jewelry that I make is kept in the jewelry box it comes in when they’re not being worn, so as to avoid any unwanted premature oxidation of the metal. It’s always great to have a preventative measure and an “after the fact” resolution just in case, and it really depends on the kind of person you are when it comes to taking care of your jewelry.
So, although other Etsy shops have a few similar items as I do in my shop, and they’re a little less expensive, it’s really up to you as the consumer to choose what the best fit for you is at that moment of purchase. If you’re sensitive to metals on your skin, and you’d like to keep your jewelry for a while, then click through and order from my shop. It’ll be a few bucks more, but trust me, it’s worth it. Every order arrives with a little coupon code. That way, you get to save 15% to 30% off your next order. If you’re good on jewelry, and your friend is a little jealous, you’re more than welcome to share your special discount with them.
Feel free to ask anything or request a special order. I’m always happy to help. Don’t forget to like my shop on Facebook and Etsy. Follow my shop on Instagram and Twitter for surprise discounts and behind the scenes stuff. Stay tuned for another blog post.
Bye for now 🙂