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A Closer Look at the Metals: A Comprehensive Guide to Jewellery Making

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Jewellery making is an art that encompasses various metals, each possessing its unique characteristics and allure. In this blog, we will delve into the world of metals used in jewellery making, highlighting their pros and cons, and shedding light on the use of alloys, stainless steel, sterling silver, and precious metals. So, let's explore the fascinating realm of metals and discover the perfect material for your next jewellery creation.

Crystal Bracelet with Spacer Beads

Alloys: Alloys are created by combining two or more metals to enhance specific properties. Common alloys used in jewellery making include:


Pros: Affordable, malleable, and lends a warm golden hue to jewellery.

Cons: Prone to tarnishing and may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.


Pros: Durable, corrosion-resistant, and provides a vintage appeal.

Cons: May cause skin discoloration in some wearers and requires periodic cleaning.


Pros: Affordable, versatile, and offers a distinctive antique look.

Cons: Prone to tarnishing, soft, and may contain traces of lead.

Zinc Alloy:

Pros: Zinc alloy is relatively inexpensive compared to precious metals, making it a cost-effective option for jewellery makers on a budget.

Cons: Zinc alloy is prone to tarnishing over time, especially when exposed to moisture, air, or certain chemicals. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to preserve its appearance.

Our crystal bracelet making kit includes 100 zinc alloy snow flower space beads. Our snow flower spacer beads are lead and nickel free, in an effort to reduce allergic reactions in some individuals.

Snow flower Spacer Beads
Hessle Cliff Snow Flower Spacer Beads

2. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is a popular choice in jewellery making due to its unique combination of durability, affordability, and modern aesthetic. Here are the detailed pros and cons of using stainless steel in your jewellery creations:


  1. Durability: Stainless steel is highly durable and resistant to tarnish, corrosion, and scratches. It can withstand daily wear and tear without losing its shine or structural integrity, making it ideal for long-lasting jewellery pieces.

  2. Affordability: Compared to precious metals, stainless steel is a more cost-effective option, allowing jewellery makers to create stylish and high-quality pieces without breaking the bank.

  3. Hypoallergenic: Stainless steel is hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for individuals with sensitive skin or metal allergies. It is unlikely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, ensuring comfortable wear for a wide range of people.

  4. Versatility: Stainless steel offers versatility in design. It can be easily shaped, allowing for intricate detailing and complex patterns. Additionally, it can be combined with other materials like gemstones, wood, or leather to create unique and eye-catching jewellery designs.

  5. Low Maintenance: Stainless steel requires minimal maintenance. It does not tarnish or require regular polishing like other metals. Simply cleaning it with mild soap and water or a polishing cloth will help keep it looking shiny and new.

  6. Wide Range of Finishes: Stainless steel can be finished in various ways, including high polish, brushed, or matte, providing options for different aesthetics and styles. It can also be plated with other metals like gold or rose gold to achieve a luxurious look at a fraction of the cost.


  1. Difficult to Resize or Repair: Stainless steel jewellery can be challenging to resize or repair, as it is a hard metal. Unlike precious metals, it requires specialized tools and expertise, making alterations more complicated and costly.

  2. Limited Colour Range: While stainless steel offers various finishes, it is primarily known for its silver-like appearance. If you prefer a broader range of colours or a specific metal tone, stainless steel might not be the best choice.

  3. Weight: Stainless steel jewellery tends to be heavier than other materials like silver or titanium. While some individuals appreciate the weightier feel, others may find it less comfortable, particularly for delicate or everyday pieces.

  4. Less Valuable: Stainless steel does not carry the same inherent value as precious metals like gold or platinum. It may not have the same investment potential or sentimental value for some individuals.

We include 50 stainless steel (304L) 4mm spacer beads, along with 10 (304L) charms in our crystal bracelet making kit. 304L stainless steel offers corrosion resistance, hypoallergenic properties, durability, versatility, and a silver-like appearance, making it a practical and cost-effective choice for jewellery making. Its combination of strength, low maintenance, and affordability makes it suitable for a wide range of designs and styles.

Hessle Cliff Spacer Beads
Hessle Cliff Spacer Beads

3. Sterling Silver: has been cherished for centuries as a versatile and timeless metal for jewellery making. Here is a more in-depth exploration of the pros and cons of using sterling silver in your jewellery creations:


  1. Beauty and Elegance: Sterling silver possesses a natural and classic beauty, offering a lustrous shine that enhances any jewellery piece. It exudes elegance and sophistication, making it a popular choice for both traditional and contemporary designs.

  2. Versatility: Sterling silver is highly versatile, accommodating a wide range of jewellery styles and designs. It can be crafted into intricate and delicate pieces or bold and statement-making jewellery. It serves as an excellent backdrop for gemstones, pearls, and other embellishments.

  3. Availability: Sterling silver is readily available, making it accessible for jewellery makers. It can be found in various forms, such as sheets, wires, beads, and findings, providing flexibility in the creative process.

  4. Affordability: Compared to precious metals like gold or platinum, sterling silver is more affordable. It offers an excellent option for individuals seeking high-quality jewellery without the higher price tag, making it accessible to a broader range of customers.

  5. Hypoallergenic: Sterling silver is generally hypoallergenic, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or metal allergies. It contains a minimal amount of other metals, such as copper, reducing the risk of adverse reactions.

  6. Durability: Sterling silver is a durable metal, allowing for long-lasting jewellery pieces. When properly cared for, it can withstand daily wear and resist tarnishing, maintaining its beauty over time.

  7. Ageing and Patina: Sterling silver develops a natural patina over time, giving it a vintage and unique character. Many people appreciate this aged appearance, but if desired, it can be easily restored to its original shine through cleaning and polishing.


  1. Tarnishing: One of the main challenges with sterling silver is its tendency to tarnish. When exposed to air and certain chemicals, it can darken and develop a patina. Regular cleaning and maintenance, such as using silver polishing cloths or solutions, are necessary to prevent or remove tarnish.

  2. Softness: Sterling silver is relatively soft compared to other metals, making it susceptible to scratches and dents. Care must be taken to avoid excessive contact with hard surfaces or other abrasive materials to preserve the integrity of the jewellery.

  3. Care and Maintenance: Sterling silver requires regular care and maintenance to keep it looking its best. It should be stored in a dry, tarnish-resistant cloth or container when not being worn, and it is advisable to remove sterling silver jewellery before engaging in activities that may subject it to excessive moisture or chemicals.

  4. Allergies: Although rare, some individuals may still experience allergic reactions to sterling silver due to the presence of trace amounts of other metals. If allergies or sensitivities are a concern, it is recommended to choose hypoallergenic alternatives or test the wearer's reaction beforehand.

Sterling silver offers a balance of beauty, affordability, and durability in jewellery making. Its versatility, accessibility, and hypoallergenic properties make it a beloved choice for both designers and wearers. However, the need for regular cleaning and maintenance, as well as its tendency to tarnish and softness, are factors to consider. With proper care, sterling silver jewellery can be enjoyed and cherished for years, allowing its timeless elegance to shine through.


4. Precious Metals: Precious metals hold a special place in the world of jewellery, characterized by their rarity, beauty, and enduring value.

a. Gold:

Pros: Symbolizes luxury and wealth. Comes in various colours (yellow, white, rose). Highly malleable for intricate designs.

Cons: Expensive, may scratch or deform easily (particularly in higher karat weights).

Gold Bracelet

b. Platinum:

Pros: Dense, durable, and naturally white, offering a lustrous appearance. Resistant to tarnish and hypoallergenic.

Cons: Expensive, heavy, and requires specialized tools for working.

Platinum rings

c. Palladium:

Pros: Lightweight, hypoallergenic, and resistant to tarnish. Similar appearance to platinum at a more affordable price.

Cons: Less readily available, limited design options due to its hardness.

Conclusion: Understanding the different metals used in jewellery making is essential to create pieces that align with your vision, budget, and wearer's preferences. From versatile alloys to enduring precious metals like gold and platinum, each material carries its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Consider the desired aesthetics, durability, and maintenance requirements when selecting the perfect metal for your next jewellery creation. Happy crafting!

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