Silver jewelry, most commonly uses an alloy to make jewelry which is know as Sterling Silver, or .925 Silver. The reason for this is that natural silver is considered too soft for most applications. Silverware, and most silver jewelry contains 92.5% silver, and 7.5% of an additional metal. This additional metal gives the object or jewelry additional strength to hold its form. In our studio, we use sterling silver (92.5% silver, and 7.5% copper) in our jewelry.
Duality in Finish: matte exterior and mirror interior. Our ZigZag Series Ring in Matte Finish.
Silver by itself is tarnish resistant unless exposed to certain chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide. It has many amazing applications because of it's properties and is ideal for jewelry because of its malleability and because it is the most reflective metal and can accept a high degree of polishing.
Copper is another amazing metal. It is highly malleable and was the first metal that was widely used by humans as early as 8000 B.C. Copper does tarnish however, so the tarnish that you get on your sterling silver jewelry is a reaction with the copper in the metal not the silver, and is completely natural. Alloying copper with silver helps to give our jewelry extra strength so that our geometries can hold their shape and resist denting and damage.
Copper in Modern Architecture: Fujitsubo Beauty Parlour | Yoshihiro Hirotani and Yusaku Ishida (Archivision)
All of our sterling silver jewelry is stamped .925 Japan hk+np studio. This indicates the purity of the silver, where the jewelry is made, as well as our company Trademark. Having this information on each piece of jewelry abides by the Government of Canada's Competition Bureau's Precious Metals Marking Act and the Precious Metals Marking Regulations.
The Stamp on our Twist Series Bangle
Our jewelry is inherently geometric and because of this it can be quite difficult to polish some of our pieces. We also use Akoya Natural Pearls on a number of pieces, and because of this a chemical solution can not be used to clean those pieces of jewelry. In order to overcome this so that the jewelry you purchase always looks great, we have applied a rhodium plating to some our pieces. All of the Q series, Petal Series, Spiral Series, Clover Series, ZigZag Series, as well as the Infinity Series Earrings, and Infinity Series Pendant with Pearl are all rhodium plated.
The Infinity Series Pendant with a natural Akoya Pearl
Rhodium is the second most rare element in the earths crust, and resistant to both corrosion and aggressive chemicals. Because of it's rarity it is also a very expensive metal and mostly used as an alloy to other metals for it's anti-corrosive properties. By plating rhodium to our sterling silver jewelry we can provide a tarnish resistant finish and keep our jewelry looking great!
So to sum up: 92.5% Ag + 7.5% Cu + a thin coating of Rh = hk+np studio tarnish free silver jewelry!
So far we haven't received a commission for our jewelry in Gold, Platinum, or Palladium, but we can also produce all of our work in those metals as well.
For more on metals in jewelry making, this site is also really good.