One of our most frequently asked questions in relation to our jewellery is “is it silver?” Let’s clear up the confusion and give you some detailed information about the materials our jewellery is made from.
Simply Zuri jewellery is base metal (brass) plated with precious metals (rhodium and yellow gold). Continue reading so we can break this down for you and tell you exactly what it means.
Base Metal – Brass
Base metals are generally more affordable than precious metals since they are more easily found and extracted. Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, and is particularly popular in jewellery since it is very strong and durable. It has useful working properties which makes it ideal for casting and is the method used in making our charms. Good quality brass is lead-free and does not contain nickel, making it a safe option for people with metal allergies.
To give our jewellery a more opulent finish and to provide you with a choice of colour finishes, we plate our brass jewellery with precious metals. Plating is the process by which a metal is applied to the surface of a base metal.
Metals we use to plate our jewellery
14 Karat Gold: 14 karat (14K) gold constitutes of 14 out of 24 parts of pure gold, with the other 10 parts comprise other metals such as silver, copper and zinc. Gold is one of the most precious and expensive metals available, however 14K gold is relatively easy to work with and affordable, whilst still giving our jewellery a luxurious warm yellow tone.
Rhodium: Rhodium is an expensive metal that is not an ideal for making jewellery owing to its brittle nature and high cost, but is excellent for jewellery plating purposes. Rhodium is white, glittery, mirror-like, and absolutely gorgeous. Unless otherwise indicated, the “silver” coloured jewellery that we sell is rhodium plated brass. The other advantage with rhodium is that it does not tarnish like silver does; however, it wears off over time and requires re-plating.
Why don’t we use silver?
Firstly, pure silver is too soft to make jewellery, so jewellery that is marketed as “silver” is usually sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Sterling silver jewellery is more expensive than base metal plated jewellery, and also tarnishes quite easily, so requires a lot of care.
Some people have an allergy to nickel, however our gold and rhodium plated jewellery is nickel free and is compliant with the EU Nickel Directive which limits the amount of nickel that may be released on to the skin from jewellery.
Skin Chemistry Disclaimer
A few people may experience a reaction to certain alloys (combination of metals), even if no nickel is present, due to your personal skin chemistry. If you have extremely sensitive skin and you are unsure about whether your skin may react to our plated jewellery, feel free to get in touch with us and we will do our best to answer your questions and guide you.
Now that you’ve understood the types of metals we use, let’s give you a run down on the terminology you might be unfamiliar with when it comes to certain jewellery components and styles.
Unless otherwise indicated, our chains are made from strong brass and are plated with yellow gold and rhodium to match the pendants. The most popular length for necklaces varies between 16 inches to 18 inches. 16 inches is a very flattering length for a pendant as it beautifully rests on the collarbone and it allows the pendant to stand out more, however if you have a slightly larger neck or prefer it a little longer, then 18 inches is a great alternative.
Lobster Clasp: Shaped like a lobster claw, this is a pinching clasp. Use the lever to open the clasp and release to close.
Pendant: Designed to hang from a necklace chain, a pendant can easily slide on the chain using the help of a bail.
Charm: Compact and versatile, charms are hung on a bracelet around your wrist.
Bangles: Bangles should slide on without the help of any clasps or hooks. Expandable bangles are a great option if you’re buying a gift and are not sure of the person’s wrist size as they can be gently pulled open to expand in size to glide over the wrist, and then pushed back into its original form so that it remains secure.
Chain Bracelet: These include different sizes and designs of chain links held in place using a hook or clasp. These can be adorned with single or multiple charms, according to your preference.
Dangle: These hang below the earlobe and move with motion.
Stud: Every minimalist’s favourite, these are small pieces worn directly through the ear piercing.
Drop: These simple ornaments drop just below the earlobe and exhibit minimal movement.
As our collections and processes evolve, we may introduce other materials, but we’ll be sure to tell you about them and we always indicate what materials are used in our product descriptions. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch so we can answer them for you.
Interested in learning more words relating to jewellery? Check out this handy glossary of jewellery terms here.