Entering CuppaCoffee

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A rant on metals you may find helpful. :)

Designers have a few options when choosing electroplated metals in order to provide you with a less expensive alternative to solid gold.  
One inexpensive option, is to use iron, steel,nickel or aluminum based metals with a gold plating over it. This is all the costume jewelry you'd find in any department store, even higher end ones. These cheap base metals are gray in color. Once the gold plating starts to wear, you see gray underneath. That's not tarnish, that is the gold plating chipping off and exposing the metal underneath. And often times it is a very low carat gold that is plated over the gray base metal.
Since these base metals are hard and not pliable, they are difficult to work with. Any chains you see will have open links (not soldered)...the chain often comes apart. Also, since these metals allow no flexibility, they are brittle and often break.

 Plus, nickel is highly allergenic.
However, iron, steel and aluminum do not tarnish.

I ONLY use gold plated chain and findings with a SOLID brass core. It is about 5 times the cost of electroplated gold with the metals I mentioned previously.  And, when possible, I can even guarantee the carat of gold that has been plated over my brass. Often it is a thick layer of 16K gold, guaranteed.

Since I hand wrap gemstones, particularly bib necklaces with each bead wrapped by hand, I would never be able to use iron or steel with gold plate over it. It wouldn't tarnish, but it would probably break the first couple of times you wore it, because the chain links wouldn't be soldered closed, and the wire would be brittle and break. Not to mention, it would be gray in 6 months just from the thin layer of gold  wearing off and exposing the gray base metal underneath.

So since I use gold over a brass core, you may experience a bit of tarnish, depending on the ph of your skin. You can clean my jewelry with jewelry cleaner because I use gold plated brass. They always tell you not to dip your "costume" jewelry because it's all made with iron and steel and the gold would disappear after a few dips. If you're not using solid gold, gold plate will eventually begin to wear away.

Regular jewelry cleaner usually does the trick. Some people's skin ph occasionally causes heavy tarnish on sterling silver, gold, copper and brass. If this is the case with your piece of jewelry, you can use jewelry dip specifically for sterling silver. It's a little stronger and I find it works. well. You just hold the necklace by the stones, dip quickly, and rinse.
Basically, you clean it the same way you'd clean fine jewelry.
I used to be a jewelry "snob" so to speak. I would never be caught dead creating or wearing a piece of jewelry from anything other than sterling silver. But it's no fun. I just couldn't have fun creating some of the bolder, more extravagant pieces with sterling, it would just be too expensive to make or purchase.
So after 10 years of ONLY creating in sterling, I began researching quality alternatives.
My site for just sterling silver jewelry (and quite neglected at this point, I might add) is silverbucket.
A quick note (rant) on "gold filled" metals. A marketing term. Because gold filled jewelry is not filled with gold.... AT ALL. Like electroplating, it is a layer. But by law, the layer has to be no less than 1/20th of the total weight of the piece. And if these gold filled findings were made in the US, that law might be followed.  But good luck! And other countries (I'm not mentioning any names....hahahaha) don't follow these laws, but sell it as gold filled. I've almost given up on gold filled. Some of my 16k gold plate over brass is so much nicer than gold filled pieces I've tried to obtain. And most times with gold fill, the plating layer is as low as 9k. 

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this!  I take pride in my  work, never skimping on quality to save a dollar. As far as "costume" jewelry, (I really don't like that term, lol)  I will create your jewelry using the best supplies/metals available to me. Thank you!!!!   -Tracy  :)  :)  :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Then and Now. What's Vogue.

I love seeing styles and trends make their way back into our closets and jewelry boxes. This is Jane Fonda in a 1960 issue of Vogue wearing two FABULOUS bib necklaces. Even the aqua and jade green color are hot this season.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Brass Yourselves.

Brass Yourselves.

Raw Brass = Love

Jewelers are calling brass the "new gold". It's solid. It's not plated. It acquires a patina as sterling and silver and gold do. It gets better with age. You can "dip" it in jewelry cleaner which is typically a no-no for plated metals. In a nutshell, it’s natural, unrefined and real. These are various levels of oxidation. In fact, these choices of brass chain are what Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters/Terrain are deciding on for a necklace of mine they are using.

And… with the price of gold skyrocketing, combined with the fact that it is absolutely IN style again, (I’ve been waiting patiently since the 80’s) brass is a great alternative to gold. Unfortunately, most brass on the market at this point, is still plated with something over it….assuming consumers prefer the plate to what’s underneath. To me, that’s like plating 14k gold with silver. We love silver, but we aren’t going to plate over perfectly good gold...
I am hoping to see more jewelry finding suppliers offering more raw brass. But thus far, it is difficult to find a wide variety of findings in solid, raw brass.
So if you want to purchase a piece of jewelry or jewelry supplies, that is made of solid brass, there are a few key words to include in your search. Solid, unplated brass is typically referred to as raw brass, or unfinished brass. On occasion, you’ll find it being called “red brass” with the the irony being that red brass is, in fact, not really red at all.
What they mean by red:
Brass is composed of copper and zinc. Depending on how much copper is in the brass, determines how much of a *strawberry* tint it has...but definitely not red. Just as solid gold has varying amounts of copper, you'll often see some pieces having a rosier hue than others.
Also, the more copper content in the brass, the faster it oxidizes.Depending on your designs, that can be a plus.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Get Oxidized. Oxidizded Sterling silver earrings,necklaces,bracelets

Oxidizing bright sterling silver..giving it a

warm,aged,collected look... I love the understatement it makes. It whispers...instead of yelling "look at me".

Thursday, March 24, 2011


When water carrying dissolved silica is forced into a cavity in a rock and rapid cooling occurs, tiny crystals are formed on the surfaces of the rock cavity and form druzy. Any stone can have this effect, which results in a sparkly,crystallized surface.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Raw Earth Collection at CuppaCoffee

Unearthing some beautiful gemstones

in their purest form. These pieces are natural, organic and raw.

34 carat raw diopside rough slab.

Rough green Apatite Studs.

Ruby forming in Zoisite specimen Ring.