Precious Metal Alloys

All precious metal alloys used in my work are 100% recycled from ethical sources as standard.
Below, you'll find some information about the different precious metal alloys used at NV, and some considerations to help you make a more informed choice.

Sterling Silver

Many of the creations at NV are made entirely from sterling silver, or incorporate sterling silver elements. Commonly known as '925', because it contains 92.5% pure silver, alloyed with 7.5% copper. Pure silver is typically too soft to be used for every day jewellery items such as rings,
as it can dent and warp easily from daily wear and tear.

Sterling silver is harder than fine silver due to its copper content and is more suitable for daily wear, however it's important to note that the copper content can also lead to tarnishing over time.

You may have noticed that a sterling silver ring kept in a trinket box has blackened
(oxidised) after not being worn for six months. This is normal, and items can easily be restored
to their former glory by buffing with a polishing cloth.

Much of the mass produced sterling silver jewellery on the market is rhodium plated, which temporarily helps to reduce tarnishing or reactiveness by the wearer. The rhodium is applied in a thin layer and may need to be reapplied, which can wear away at the sterling silver beneath.
It's not a process taken on at NV.

Some people can react to sterling silver and find that their jewellery blackens or oxidises sooner
than expected. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as body ph, swimming in chlorinated
pools and even the use of cosmetics and perfumes that come into contact with the jewellery.
I would highly recommend Argentium 940 Silver as a superior silver alternative.

See my tips here for simple advice on how best to look after your jewellery.

Argentium Silver

Argentium Silver

Relatively new to the silversmithing industry, Argentium Silver was founded around three decades ago by Peter Johns in the UK in his quest to conjur up a more tarnish resistant alternative to sterling.

Argentium 940 is 100% recycled and contains 94% pure silver, alloyed with copper and germanium. The addition of germanium is key to the properties of this silver, which include hypoallergenity, higher tarnish resistance, extra durability or hardness, and a brighter, whiter colour hue than traditional sterling silver.

If you've experienced excessive tarnishing with sterling silver, Argentium is the silver alloy for you. If you'd like to request a particular item to be made for you in Argentium Silver, please Get in touch.

NV is incorporating more Argentium Silver into jewellery designs, and will ensure this is transparent in the product description wherever used.

Gold

Gold

There is a huge variety of gold alloy available, across a spectrum of colours and purities. Here I'll summarise the yellow gold alloys most commonly used at NV, however should you have any questions or requests for a particular colour or purity of gold not mentioned here, please do get in touch to see if I can help.

9ct yellow gold is quite popular in the UK, less so overseas. It typically contains 37.5% pure gold, 42.5% silver and 20% copper. It is paler than other yellow gold alloys and also susceptible to tarnishing due to the lower pure gold content / higher copper content. That said, it's a great option to consider given the price point.

14ct yellow gold typically contains 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% alloy. It is more saturated in hue than 9ct, and more durable. It's a good choice for those wanting an item to be rich in colour, but not overly yellow for their tone of skin.

18ct yellow gold contains 75% pure gold, and 25% alloy, and is often considered to be the standard for fine jewellery, particularly wedding and engagement. It is more durable to hard knocks and scratches and the higher gold purity makes it highly tarnish resistant. Its hue is rich and buttery - simply stunning on its own or paired with colourful gemstones. It's a firm favourite at NV.