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Silver Copper and More - Learn About the Metals


HPSilver has been working with mixed metals for over a decade.  This adding to our very unique texture style, has helped us lead in the creation of unique hand made artistic jewelry.  Because we work with such diverse materials we felt that it would be important to answer a few common questions and to help clarify a few things.




Pure silver, in its natural state .999 fine silver (Au),  is too soft of an element for practical jewelry making, but it is where we start.  We purchase our fine virgin silver, from the Peñoles Granalla, the leading silver producer in Mexico / the world.  We purchase our virgin granular silver from them because of their quality and integrity.  

Silver: A Comprehensive Description

**Silver** is a precious metal celebrated for its lustrous beauty, high conductivity, and versatile applications. It has been prized since ancient times and continues to play a vital role in various industries and cultures.

Physical Properties

1. **Color and Appearance**: Silver has a brilliant, white metallic luster that reflects light exceptionally well. It is one of the most reflective metals known.
2. **Conductivity**: Silver is the best conductor of electricity and heat among all metals, making it indispensable in electrical and electronic applications.
3. **Malleability and Ductility**: Silver is both malleable and ductile, allowing it to be easily shaped into thin sheets or drawn into fine wires without breaking.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Silver has been used for thousands of years for currency, jewelry, and ornamental objects. Its historical significance is evident in its use in ancient coins, religious artifacts, and royal regalia. Silver has also been associated with various cultural meanings, symbolizing purity, protection, and moon energy.

Health Benefits

Silver has been recognized for its antimicrobial properties. It is used in various medical applications to prevent infection and promote healing. Silver ions and compounds are known to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Metaphysical Properties

In metaphysical traditions, silver is believed to have numerous beneficial properties:
- **Balance and Clarity**: Silver is thought to promote emotional and mental balance, providing clarity of thought and purpose.
- **Enhancing Intuition**: It is often associated with enhancing intuition and psychic abilities, linking the conscious mind with the subconscious.
- **Protection and Healing**: Silver is believed to offer protection from negative energies and promote healing and harmony in the body.

Care and Maintenance

To maintain the beauty and integrity of silver items:
- **Cleaning**: Use a soft cloth and a mild cleaner specifically designed for silver to remove tarnish.
- **Storage**: Store silver in a dry, cool place, preferably in a tarnish-resistant cloth or bag to prevent oxidation.
- **Polishing**: Regular polishing can help keep silver items looking their best and prevent tarnish from building up.


Silver is a remarkable metal with a rich history and a wide range of applications. Its unique physical properties, combined with its cultural and historical significance, make it a metal of enduring value and appeal. Whether in fine jewelry, advanced electronics, or holistic practices, silver continues to shine brightly as a symbol of beauty, purity, and utility.



Copper is a highly versatile and historically significant metal known for its distinctive reddish-brown color, excellent conductivity, and wide range of applications. Here's a comprehensive description of copper:

Physical Properties

1. **Color and Appearance**: Copper has a characteristic reddish-brown hue that can develop a green patina over time due to oxidation, which is often seen on historic buildings and statues.
2. **Conductivity**: Copper is one of the best conductors of electricity and heat, surpassed only by silver. This makes it essential in electrical wiring and electronic components.
3. **Malleability and Ductility**: Copper is highly malleable and ductile, meaning it can be easily shaped and stretched into wires without breaking. This property is crucial for its use in manufacturing and construction.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Copper has been used by humans for over 10,000 years, with evidence of copper smelting dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Sumerians. Its use spans from coinage and tools in antiquity to modern applications in electrical engineering and plumbing.


1. **Electrical Wiring and Electronics**: Due to its excellent conductivity, copper is a primary material for electrical wiring, motor windings, and printed circuit boards.
2. **Construction**: Copper is used in roofing, plumbing, and industrial machinery because of its durability and resistance to corrosion.
3. **Alloys**: Copper is a key component in various alloys such as brass (copper and zinc) and bronze (copper and tin), which have distinct properties and uses in musical instruments, decorative arts, and industrial applications.
4. **Coinage**: Historically, copper has been used to mint coins, owing to its durability and resistance to wear.

Health Benefits

Copper plays an essential role in human health, being a crucial trace mineral necessary for the proper function of organs and metabolic processes. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, the absorption of iron, and the maintenance of healthy bones, blood vessels, and immune function.

Metaphysical Properties

In metaphysical traditions, copper is believed to have numerous healing properties. It is thought to:
- Enhance energy flow and amplify thoughts.
- Aid in channeling and communication with higher-dimensional beings.
- Support the healing of wounds and relieve pain.
- Promote balance and harmony within the body and mind.

Care and Maintenance

To maintain the luster and appearance of copper items:
- **Cleaning**: Use a mixture of lemon juice and salt or a commercial copper cleaner to remove tarnish.
- **Polishing**: Regular polishing with a soft cloth helps to maintain its shine.
- **Storage**: Store copper items in a dry place to prevent oxidation and tarnish.


Copper is a remarkable metal with a rich history and extensive applications across various fields due to its unique physical properties. Its role in human civilization, health benefits, and metaphysical significance further highlight its value and enduring appeal. Whether in ancient artifacts or modern technology, copper continues to be a metal of immense importance and utility.



Sterling silver is an alloy used for jewelry making, since as stated above pure silver is too soft.  Traditionally it is usually alloyed with copper to enhance its durability.  Typically, sterling silver consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.  You should find a .925 or Sterling Silver mark on any jewelry that is Sterling.  When purchasing silver jewelry, always look for these marks.  In today's jewelry productions, many manufactures have changed the alloy mix.  This mix could have copper, zinc, nickel, rhodium, or other minerals.  The mix levels are the same though, 92.5% silver to 7.5% Other.  Reasons for this change has been contributed to cost, and oxidation rates. 

Now this being said, HPSilver has stuck to the more traditional method, and uses only high quality copper to mix with our pure silver when making our .925 Sterling Silver. 



A copper alloy we make to use in place of Sterling for a more economical and durable replacement.  This alloy consists of: Copper (Cu) 68%, Zinc (Zn) 21%, and Nickel (Ni) 10%. 



Brass is a versatile and historically significant alloy, renowned for its unique blend of durability, workability, and aesthetic appeal. Composed primarily of copper and zinc, our brass contains about 72% copper and 28% zinc, although the specific proportions can vary to achieve different properties and appearances.

Physical Characteristics
Brass is distinguished by its bright, golden-yellow color, which can range from a pale yellow to a deep, rich golden hue depending on its zinc content. This visual appeal, combined with its excellent resistance to tarnishing, makes brass a popular choice for many of the items we make.

Workability and Durability
One of the standout features of brass is its malleability. It can be easily shaped, molded, and machined into intricate designs, making it a favorite material for artisans and manufacturers alike. Despite its workability, brass is also incredibly durable and corrosion-resistant, capable of withstanding environmental stressors that would degrade other metals. This balance of strength and flexibility lends itself to a wide range of applications, from plumbing fittings to marine hardware.

Historical and Cultural Significance
Historically, brass has been valued for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations. Its use in art, weaponry, and currency reflects its long-standing importance. In various cultures, brass is also believed to have metaphysical properties, often associated with healing, protection, and enhancing creativity.

Metaphysical Properties
In metaphysical traditions, brass is believed to possess properties that can influence personal energy and wellbeing. It is said to promote healing, balance, and protection. The alloy’s connection to both copper and zinc, metals known for their therapeutic properties, is thought to enhance its ability to conduct spiritual energy and promote harmony.

Brass is a remarkable alloy that combines beauty, strength, and versatility. Its rich history, coupled with its wide range of applications, underscores its enduring significance. Whether in the form of a finely crafted bracelet, or a beautiful decorative object, brass continues to be a material of choice for its reliability and timeless appeal.



Jewelry plating is a process that involves coating a piece of jewelry with a thin layer of metal to enhance its appearance, durability, and value. This technique is widely used to give jewelry pieces a shiny, attractive finish and to provide additional protection against tarnish and wear. Here is a detailed description of the jewelry plating process:

1. Preparation
**Cleaning:** The jewelry piece must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt, oils, or residues. This is typically done using ultrasonic cleaners, chemical baths, or steam cleaning. Proper cleaning ensures that the plating will adhere uniformly to the surface.

**Surface Smoothing:** Any imperfections on the jewelry’s surface are polished out. This step may involve manual polishing with abrasive materials or using mechanical polishers to achieve a smooth, even surface.

2. Base Layer Application
**Pre-Plating:** For some pieces, a base layer of a different metal, such as nickel or copper, is applied first. This base layer helps improve the adhesion of the final plating metal and can enhance the durability of the plating.

3. Electroplating Process
**Electrolyte Solution Preparation:** The plating metal is dissolved in an electrolyte solution, creating a bath in which the jewelry piece will be submerged.

**Setting Up the Electroplating Cell:** The cleaned and prepared jewelry piece is attached to a cathode (negative electrode), and a piece of the plating metal, such as gold, silver, or rhodium, is attached to an anode (positive electrode).

**Submersion and Plating:** The jewelry piece and the anode are submerged in the electrolyte solution. When an electric current is passed through the solution, metal ions from the anode are deposited onto the jewelry piece. The duration of this process and the current used will determine the thickness of the plating.

4. Rinsing and Drying
**Rinsing:** After plating, the jewelry piece is rinsed in distilled water to remove any remaining electrolyte solution and prevent contamination.

**Drying:** The piece is then carefully dried, often using air drying methods or specialized equipment to ensure no water spots or residues are left.

5. Post-Plating Finishing
**Inspection:** The plated jewelry piece is inspected for any defects or uneven coating. Any necessary touch-ups are made to ensure a high-quality finish.

**Polishing:** The plated piece may undergo a final polishing to enhance its shine and luster. This step can involve buffing wheels and polishing compounds to achieve the desired brilliance.

6. Quality Control
**Thickness Testing:** The thickness of the plating is measured using specialized tools to ensure it meets the required standards.

**Durability Testing:** Some pieces may undergo additional tests to ensure the durability and adhesion of the plating, including scratch tests and wear simulations.

Benefits of Jewelry Plating
- **Enhanced Appearance:** Plating can give jewelry a luxurious and attractive finish, making it look more expensive and visually appealing.
- **Improved Durability:** Plating metals like rhodium can protect against scratches and tarnish, extending the life of the jewelry.
- **Allergy Protection:** Some base metals can cause allergic reactions, and plating with hypoallergenic metals can provide a protective barrier.

Jewelry plating is a meticulous process that combines art and science to enhance the beauty and durability of jewelry pieces. From thorough cleaning and preparation to the precise application of the plating metal and final finishing touches, each step is crucial to achieving a high-quality plated piece that shines with brilliance and elegance. Whether it's a cherished family heirloom or a contemporary fashion accessory, plated jewelry continues to be a popular choice for its aesthetic appeal and practical benefits.



Vermeil (pronounced vehr-MAY) is a term used to describe a specific type of gold plating over sterling silver. It combines the luxurious appeal of gold with the durability and cost-effectiveness of silver, making it a popular choice for high-quality, yet affordable, jewelry.

Characteristics of Vermeil

1. **Base Metal**: The core of a vermeil piece is always sterling silver, which is a high-quality alloy composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper.

2. **Gold Layer**: The gold layer in vermeil must be at least 10 karats, although 14k, 18k, and even 24k gold are commonly used for higher-quality pieces. This gold layer must also be at least 2.5 microns thick (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter). This thickness requirement is what sets vermeil apart from other gold-plated items, ensuring durability and longevity.

3. **Plating Process**: The process used to create vermeil is electroplating, where the sterling silver base is submerged in a solution containing gold and an electric current is applied. This causes the gold to bond to the silver, creating a durable and beautiful gold coating.

Benefits of Vermeil

- **Affordability**: Vermeil offers the appearance and feel of solid gold jewelry at a fraction of the cost. This makes it an accessible option for those looking to enjoy the beauty of gold without the hefty price tag.

- **Durability**: The substantial thickness of the gold layer on vermeil ensures that it is more durable than other types of gold plating, which often have thinner layers that wear off quickly.

- **Hypoallergenic**: Since vermeil uses sterling silver as the base, it is generally hypoallergenic and safe for people with sensitive skin, unlike other base metals that can cause allergic reactions.

Care and Maintenance

To maintain the beauty of vermeil jewelry, it is important to care for it properly:
- **Avoid Exposure**: Keep vermeil jewelry away from chemicals, perfumes, and lotions, which can cause the gold layer to wear off more quickly.
- **Clean Gently**: Clean vermeil jewelry with a soft, damp cloth and avoid abrasive materials that could scratch the surface.
- **Store Carefully**: Store each piece separately to prevent scratches and tarnishing, ideally in a soft pouch or lined jewelry box.


Vermeil jewelry is an excellent choice for those seeking the luxurious look of gold combined with the affordability and hypoallergenic properties of sterling silver. Its durability and aesthetic appeal make it a favorite among jewelry lovers who want high-quality pieces without breaking the bank. Proper care will ensure that vermeil jewelry remains beautiful and lustrous for years to come.

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