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Alternative to sterling silver?

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  • Alternative to sterling silver?

    Hi, I tinker about with jewellery making for fun (i.e. just for myself) and was wondering if someone might be able to recommend a cheaper alternative to sterling silver wire. I love silver, but obviously the price can be a problem. I am not fond of plated copper or brass as I find that the plating wears off with use, revealing the copper/brass tone which I don't think looks very good on me. I was thinking of aluminium wire - does anybody have any experience using aluminium and if so, how does it compare to sterling silver?

    Thank you
    http://thestitchandfold.etsy.com

  • #2
    I've never used aluminium wire so can't really help. I don't use it cos it looks cheap (sorry) BUT you've got me wondering if it would be affected by Liver of Sulphur and so take on a more aged appearance....... I shall Google that later once the kids are in bed......

    I'm sure that aluminium wire is a great alternative, and certainly much cheaper than sterling silver for playing around.
    Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

    Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

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    • #3
      Aluminium doesn't really work as an alternative for wire pieces. It's too soft, too light and can become brittle quite easily. It doesn't take on a patina, so will always look slightly grey and cheap.

      I don't like it (because I don't like anything pretending to be something it isn't) but the alternative might be silver-filled wire, which has a much stronger bond than plated, and is quite a lot cheaper. It's not available everywhere here yet, but I know there are some suppliers now.
      george
      www.mizgeorge.co.uk
      www.etsy.com/shop/mizgeorge
      www.flickr.com/mizgeorge

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      • #4
        Thanks for that MizGeorge....now the kids are in bed I was about to go hunting but I think i knew somewhere in the back of my mind that aluminium wouldn't take a patina well.

        Maybe aluminium wire works for someone who is trying out techniques though? Just buy one pack, play with winding and stuff and then invest in something that is better.
        Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

        Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

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        • #5
          Thank you for your advice blackwillow and mizgeorge. I have a small project in mind for the time being that should not take up more than about a foot of wire, and after having had a look at ebay I think the best option for this time is just solid sterling silver, I'll just be careful with it to avoid messing up lol. But I will probably consider silver filled for larger projects - it certainly seems economical for amateurs like me.
          http://thestitchandfold.etsy.com

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          • #6
            I use aluminium only for experimental work because it's so cheap and easy to work with but yes, I don't think it could ever be an alternative to silver.
            I think silver filled wire is the best option. You can get different quality silver filled 1/40 means that one 40th of the wire is .925 silver 1/10 means one tenth of it's weight is .925. Obviously the price tag changes.
            It should act like sterling and last a very long time, unlike plated wire. I love workig with it!

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            • #7
              There are several alternatives for a cheaper jewellery. I am also fond of plated copper or brass material. It really loks fine in several aspects. Thanks for sharing the details.

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