Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mixed feelings about mixed metals...

To date, this is the only mixed metals piece I have made.  Well, the only one that has considerable work in it...

I really have mixed feelings about mixed metals.  Especially mixing Sterling or Fine silver with copper or brass.  Copper oxidizes soooo quickly.  And brass, I'm really not sure how I feel about brass.  I like the look of brass, but only if it's been oxidized.  

This ring for example has quite a bit of silver in it, and only the heart is copper.  Being a metalsmith, I know how to take care of it, or how to clean it up when it gets ugly.  But what about the average customer?

Of course I'll do my best to educate my customers on proper storage, cleaning etc...but how often have you left a piece of jewelry laying around, forgotten about it and then discovered it was an oxidized mess?

Some may think it's beyond repair...

I don't know.  Maybe I'm over thinking it.  Maybe it's the jewelry snob in me.  But I am seeing a lot of mixed metals lately.  I know it's the price of silver that is fueling this trend.  I'm just not certain if I want to embrace it or not....

What do you guys think?  Mixed metals or no?  


  1. Your ring is amazing!

    I've been wondering the same thing. I had a lovely customer ask for me to use brass with sterling and it was something I had not done before.

    In the end I really like how it turned out (it was oxidized) and I think I'll start to incorporate more brass into my pieces. Although, fine and sterling silver have always been (and probably always will be) my favorite metal.

  2. I don't like the colors gold and silver together, so for me it is more about the colors than the metals

  3. I love mixed metals. I know that some of my customers don't. Some of them see something that has copper elements in it and automatically think it is 'cheap'. But I don't. I think it brings some interest to a piece. It is not always about the metals but about the overall look and feel.

    I do believe there are some kind of treatments you can do to copper to make them last longer without tarnishing. I don't know what they are though.

  4. I personally like mixed metals - favorite being silver & copper together and especially when you can get copper to do that wonderful color-change it does. Your ring is gorgeous as is; I guess you could have made the heart out of rose gold but who can afford that :-).

  5. Everyone has a different, unique aesthetic preference.

    I love mixed metals together. Perhaps the fact is that you're just not into it and that is totally okay.

    For me, the cost of silver does not fuel my motivation to use copper or brass - it fan a creative spark and if that spark is an idea using mixed metals, so be it.

  6. I hear ya. I like some mixed metals. I do agree that the average person doesn't know how to care for handmades like we would...I worry every time I send something off that someone will cast the product off when it just needs a good cleaning or something. All we can do is send a care label. I'd do it anyway...it does look good after all.

  7. Thank you all so much for your insights! I think Michelle is right. I may just not be that into it. Now if I could afford gold and silver...that would be something! We shall see....:)