There are certain times when you want to make the same piece of jewelry in different metals. Let's say you're working on a product line and want to offer your bestselling design in sterling silver and gold-filled. Or, a customer sees something in gold-filled and wants to know if you can make it in rose gold-filled. We can help.
To understand sourcing in multiple metals, it is important to know the properties of the different materials. So first, let's start with an overview of the metals we'll be discussing.
Sterling is the jewelry quality standard for silver in the United States and most world markets. It is an alloy of 92.5% (or.925) silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper though it is sometimes other metals such as nickel. The other metals are added to the alloy to increase hardness so the metal will be more durable and to create the color and luster that is so prized by consumers.
Sterling silver is harder than fine silver but it is still fairly soft compared to many metals. Sterling can be cast, soldered, formed and annealed repeatedly. It is widely produced and available due to its popularity and versatility. For more information on silver, check out Types of Silver - Learn the Grades of Silver Alloys & Purity in Jewelry.
Gold-filled has been experiencing an uptrend for the last decade, which means manufacturers are making more jewelry making supplies in gold-filled than ever before. Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. Gold-filled is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal is usually jewelers' brass; though in the past, sterling silver was sometimes used instead. Single clad gold-filled has all the gold content in a single layer on one side. Double clad gold-filled splits the gold content into surface layers on both sides of the material. The gold alloy is then bonded to one or both surfaces of the brass core with heat and pressure.
Most gold-filled findings are stamped or die struck. Gold-filled components can be soldered (very carefully) but the resulting piece must be plated. It cannot be cast or the layers would melt together. Gold-filled is only popular in a few countries and its properties limit how it can be used. Therefore, both variety and availability are significantly less than sterling silver. For more information about gold-filled, read our blog What Does Gold-Filled Mean - 6 Things You May Not Know.
Rose gold-filled jewelry making supplies are created with a 14kt rose gold alloy surface layer, which is 58% gold, 36% copper, 5% silver and 1% zinc. It is constructed in the same manner as gold-filled jewelry supplies and has the same limitations. Although it has become relatively popular in the last few years, it is even less widely produced than yellow gold-filled components.
Finding Products In All 3 Metals
1. Stock Code Prefix. This is a chart of 10+ top selling items in all three metals. You'll notice that there are a few cues to the numbering system. Silver chains start with 2, gold-filled chains start with 3 and rose gold-filled chains start with 3RG. In general for findings, silver starts with S, gold-filled starts with G or GF and rose gold-filled starts with GFR. Use these same prefixes to help you navigate the website and search for similar items. However, please note that stock codes are not always consistent across metals. There are exceptions that will make it more difficult to find items with just a stock number search.
2. Manufacturing Method. Now that you understand the differences between the properties of these three metals, you can look at our product detail pages to determine if availability in another metal is even possible. For example, if you see a sterling silver charm you would like to get in gold-filled, first visit the detail page to see the manufacturing method. If it is cast, you know the product will not be possible in gold filled. If it is stamped or die struck, you may find the equivalent gold-filled item on our website. Or, contact customer service. Our representatives know the line very well and may be able to help you either locate what your looking for or discuss the possibility of custom orders if you can meet minimum quantities.
3. Nation of Origin. Most gold-filled jewelry components are made in the USA, but a few small product lines also come from Italy or Israel and some Asian countries now import gold-filled raw material for component manufacturing. Nonetheless, you are most likely to find products in the Halstead collection in all three metals if you search for US-made items.
4. Website Navigation Using Facets. In summary, items available in all three metals are most likely to be both made in the USA and stamped or die struck. You can specify these criteria when navigating our website by choosing the appropriate nation of origin and manufacturing method facets that appear in the left-hand column of the screen.
There are some items that just aren't available in multiple metals. Reasons vary. A lot of it comes down to demand. Manufacturers cannot justify broad selections in materials that do not sell at a sufficient volume. The surge in popularity of yellow and rose gold-filled has spurred an increase in options during recent years. However, as that trend recedes, we are likely to see those options decline.
Ask Us for Help
Sometimes the stock codes are not the same across different metal types, so it can be challenging to find what you need. You are always welcome to call, text 800.528.0535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for help from a customer service representative. They're very familiar with the product line and will do their best to help you locate identical or similar items in a different metal. Custom orders may be available, depending on the quantity you need.