Monday, September 12, 2011

Alternative Metals and Mixed Metal Jewelry

 Stainless steel heart pendant with stainless steel chain
On Friday I wrote about the gold buying frenzy and its effect on alternative metals. The use of alternative metals is on the rise and this practice is becoming more acceptable to the average consumer who has less disposable income in these hard economic times. Most consumers still want to buy, for themselves or as gifts for others, but are adjusting their spending according to their economic environment. The wonderful thing is the influx of alternative metals and the mixing of metals in jewelry designs because of high gold pricing.

Many years ago it was a fashion faux pas if you mixed silver with yellow gold. A woman would have her colors done and if she was a winter/spring she wore silver and if she was a summer/autumn she wore yellow gold. Not only has this fashion dictate been semi-tossed, the idea that a woman can only wear one color or type of metal in her ensemble is also gone. Thank goodness.
Blue topaz necklace with 14k gold accents & sterling silver chain
I’ve always been one of those borderline people who are neither a winter nor a summer, but I personally lean towards winter because I love black and gray. I’ve always worn a lot of silver, partially because of price, but also because I love the color with my wardrobe. But I’ve secretly admired those women who can wear yellow gold and they look stunning. The yellow gold brings out a light in their complexion that makes them look radiant. They are obviously summer people.

The high price of gold has recently made the use of gold as an accent more acceptable. This is a great look for those of us who look best in silver or have a beer pocketbook but have admired the look of yellow gold. 
Smokey quartz pendant with antiqued sterling silver & 14k gold accents
There is also an increased usage of alternative metals which include stainless steel, tungsten, and titanium. These are materials being used more often in jewelry designs today. The designs themselves are more contemporary, modern and edgy. The use of non-standard design elements such as skulls, elaborate crosses and Celtic symbols are very popular. Jewelry that was once considered Goth is now being sold in main stream mall kiosks. 
Sterling silver eternity band studded with cubic zirconia
Alternative metals are not only used in contemporary designs but also in some traditional pendants and rings. B. Tiff of New York has beautiful rings made of stainless steel and set with Swarovski crystals and cubic zirconia. The eternity band they’ve designed is not only comfortable but can be worn with an existing ring sandwiched between two bands to add a little sparkle. It’s a fabulous look that anyone can achieve without breaking the bank. In this era of dramatic swings in precious metal prices the door has been opened to alternative and mixed metals which has increased design choices for consumers. Why not get the look you’ve always loved without breaking the bank, go for an alternative or mixed metal jewelry piece.

Stainless steel ring with tension held cubic zirconia solitaire

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