So you want to purchase some jewelry? Looking online you will find there is a wide variety and combination of metals to choose from. In this blog, we will cover the common metal types and why you might want to steer clear from some or pull the trigger and make your purchase.

Introducing Base Metals

When we think of jewelry we instantly think the glitz, the glam the fashion! Many stores offer affordable fashion jewelry right on the countertop. Upon first glance you may think, "I must have this! This would go perfect for a night out." But, there's a reason the jewelry is on the counter and not beneath it. The price tag may be affordable but the price your body may pay might not be worth it. A lot, if not all, affordable fashion jewelry is made of the cheapest metals available also known as base metals. And while this is cost effective, it could be harmful for people with allergies and sensitive skin.

The Breakdown of Base Metals

The most common base metals found in fashion jewelry are nickel, copper, tin, aluminum and brass. These metals will tarnish and over time when exposed to oxygen in the air (with the exception of copper)! Have you ever worn jewelry and noticed a green stain on your skin under the jewelry? This is a classic example of our base metal culprits primarily used for the cost friendly fashion jewelry you see in the stores. Unfortunately, that icky green stain might not only be the only reaction for the consumer. In modern times, allergies to these base metals are increasingly common. People who suffer from these allergies can develop painful itchy rashes that can be quite the nuisance. In my personal experience, it's why I have ultimately avoided the fashion jewelry on top of those popular retail counter tops. 


But wait a minute, just because we can't wear the cheap stuff doesn't mean we need to go broke buying a cute statement ring for girls night out! You will notice a lot of body jewelry is made of stainless or surgical steel. These are great cost friendly alternatives to their distant base metal cousins. Another benefit of this metal is that it does not chip away or corrode. And heck, if surgical steel is safe enough for surgery you can bet its a durable safe choice for fashion jewelry.


Now we can get to one of my favorites, silver! Silver is a top choice for safe fashion jewelry that is also affordable. You will often see this advertised as fine silver or 99.9% pure silver. Unlike the base metals, fine silver is a precious metal that is known for its quality and beauty. This is a safe choice for people with sensitive skin. But wait a second, silver in its pure form is soft and will bend or break if not mixed with another stronger metal. Thus, silver is commonly mixed with stronger alloys such as copper and zinc to give it the strength we need for day to day wear.

Sterling Silver

So now we get to the good stuff, sterling silver! Sterling silver is my personal favorite. You will often see it advertised as 925 sterling silver. So, what does this actually mean? Well, this comes down to the ratio of the amount of actual silver present in the jewelry that is mixed with its stronger alloy counterpart, most commonly copper. So, in 925 sterling silver you can gather that it is 92.5% pure silver with the remaining 7.5% metal composition being made of copper or another alloy metal. 


The final metal used in jewelry is the all beloved gold. Pure gold is 24k (karat) gold. This type of gold is the real deal. You can guarantee with this purchase that it is 100% pure gold. While this may seem like the most sought after metal type, it is actually quite soft and malleable. This makes jewelry made from 24k gold less durable and more prone to breakage. That is why gold is often mixed with an alloy counterpart to increase the strength of the jewelry. Just below 24k gold is 18k gold. This type of gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloy, giving a total of 24 parts. This equates to 75% gold composition and 15% its alloy counterpart. The third and cheapest type of gold is 14k gold. This type of gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy, thus equating to 58.3% gold and 41.7% metal alloy. This is our favorite gold option as you can attain durability at an affordable price!

Wrapping It Up

Fashion jewelry is a fun luxury we use to express ourselves. Finding the right type of jewelry to ensure it will last long enough for what we want it for without risking allergic reactions is key. We hope this breakdown of fashion jewelry has helped you in choosing the right jewelry metal type for you!