Materials

As well as genuine 925 Sterling Silver, the Silver Shop range includes metals such as gold, brass, aluminium, copper, stainless steel and other non-metals such as resin and enamel.

925 is the percentage (92.5%) of pure silver used in an allow that uses other metals such as copper, zinc or platinum to make up the remaining 7.5%.  Pure silver, which is very soft, is mixed with these other metals to increase strength, malleability and durability.

Many Silver Shop pieces also include stones, some of which are natural, such as black agate, carnelian, lapis etc, and other that are mane-made such as cubic zirconia and stabilised turquoise.

Below is a glossary of materials commonly found in Silver Shop jewellery.

Agate
A stone that comes in a range of colours, natural and dyed, it often features 'bands' of colour.

Amazonite
Found naturally as a yellow-green or blue-green stone which may have fine white streaks.

Amber
A fossilised or hardened natural tree resin, amber has a natural burnt yellow-orange colour and is mostly clear in opacity.

Amethyst
A form of quartz which can range in colour from light mauve to deep violet.

Base Metal
A metal that is not a precious metal (such as silver or gold) - usually steel, brass, copper, aluminium etc.

Carnelian
Carnelian is a form of chalcedony that gets its orange colour from iron.

Ceramica
A high-tech, scratch-resistant ceramic.

Citrine
A variety of quartz, which ranges in colour from pale yellow to brown (caused by impurities).

Coral
Formed from the skeleton of marine plants, natural red coral is extremely rare so most red coral is actually dyed white coral.

Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconias are a synthetic man-made stone created by treating minerals, including calcium oxide, under extremely high temperatures in a device called a skull crucible.  By adding oxides of copper, titanium, iron and nickel etc different colour cubic zirconias can be created.

Enamel
The enamel used in our NAJO jewellery is usually 'cold enamel', which is a type of epoxy resin applied to silver jewellery by hand and then warmed over a period of time to make the enamel set.

Freshwater Pearl
Formed by inserting a plastic or shell nucleus inside a mollusc.  The mollusc secretes a solution which forms around the nucleus and eventually develops into a pearl.

Garnet
A gemstone that can come in many colours but is most commonly a darkish red colour. It is usually transparent.

Gamuza
Synthetic suede cord - comes in various colours.

Haematite
The mineral form of iron oxide.  It can vary in colour from black to red but most commonly seen as a steel grey colour.

Howlite
Usually a whitish stone.  Because of its porous nature it is very often dyed, so can be found in any colour.

Hydrothermal Quartz
Grown in a special pressure chamber called an autoclave, seed crystals are suspended in a water solution with a nutrient at the bottom (i.e. chipped crystal).  When superheated, the water vaporises causing the nutrient to dissolve and the seed to grow into quartz.  For coloured stones, oxides are added to the solution.

Korean Wire
Very fine nylon covered metal wire, used to make multi-strand necklets.

Lapis
Also known as lapis lazuli, this stone is a deep blue colour with varying amounts of calcite (white) and pyrite (yellow) content.

Mabe Pearl
Like freshwater pearls, created by inserting a nucleus into a mollusc. Because the nucleus is flat the secretion from the mollusc forms over the nucleus and the mollusc shell forms on the mabe's base.  The mabe, still including its nucleus, is cut out from the mollusc shell.

Malachite
Is a naturally green coloured crystalised mineral.  It ranges from bright to blackish green and contains lighter green streaks.

Marcasite
The name given to jewellery that combines sterling silver and a mineral known as white iron pyrite or iron sulfide.  Made popular during the Victorian era.

Nitrile
A synthetic rubber extruded in a tubular form.

Onyx
A form of quartz, often with bands of colour.  White pure black onyx is natural, agate is often dyed black and sold as onyx.

Peridot
One of the few gemstones that occur in only one colour; green.  The shade depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the colour can vary from yellow-green to brownish-green.

Quartz
One of the most abundant minerals on the earth's crust, quartz is usually a clear to milky white stone.  It is part of a large family of semi-precious gemstones.

Resin
A two-part mixed plastic derived from coal tar and petroleum that can be coloured or used clear with object embedded in it.  Resin can easily be poured into a mould, allowing unusual shapes and multiple copies to be made.

Rutilated Quartz
A popular form of quartz containing gold to reddish coloured 'needles' or 'hair like' strands called rutiles.

Stabilised Turquoise, Haematite, Coral etc

A stabilised, or reconstructed, stone is a mixture of crushed natural stone with a strong acrylic resin that creates an inexpensive alternative to its more costly natural stone.

Stainless Steel
Is a rust resistant iron-carbon alloy.  Due to its hard metal state it cannot be resized or engraved on.

Tigers Eye
Tigers Eye is yellowish to red-brown in colour and a member of the quartz family.  It is known for its silky luster and banded colours.

Tourmalinated Quartz
A form of quartz containing inclusions of tourmaline (black coloured specks or needles).  Green in colour.

Turquoise
A blue/green opaque stone - copper contributes to its blue colour and iron for its green colour.