Argentium Silver- An amazing silver that is eco friendly. It is made from recycled sterling silver and germanium. The addition of the germanium makes the silver whiter, more tarnish resistant and more pure than sterling silver. It is .935 silver as apposed to the .925 of sterling, making the copper content lower. This makes it even more allergy resistant for those who have them. For the artist the ability to fuse, heat harden and less scaling when torching is certainly wonderful as well. I love the fact that it leaves less impact on the environment.
I purchase all my argentium silver from the US company Rio Grande
Gold and Rose Gold Filled- (information sourced from Lat & Lo company) The product is easy to care for and will usually maintain its golden shine for a lifetime. Gold-filled is constructed in two or three layers. The core metal is jewelers’ brass. A gold alloy is then bonded to one or both surfaces of the brass core with heat and pressure. Unlike plated (aka electroplated or "dipped") metals, Gold-filled is legally required to contain 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This 5% is then described by the karatage of the gold alloy. My Gold-filled items are 14kt gold/rose-filled. 14k Gold-filled products are identified as 14/20 Gold-filled. The advantage is a less expensive material with all the long lasting effects of the more expensive version. Little to no polishing and they keep their gorgeous color and glow for a lifetime.
I purchase all my Gold/Rose gold-fill from the US company Rio Grande
Recycled Copper- I use all locally sourced copper from construction companies here on Cape Cod. I strip, clean and anneal electrical wire, pipe and metal sheeting before using it in my designs. In a few cases I will leave the patina in the pipe and seal in the beautiful green color to add character to a piece. Other wise the metals are use clean and raw with no seal. I do this because it make polishing more consistent and if a person prefers the dark patina they can just leave it and it will happen over time. Another reason I leave the copper unsealed is that it has health properties that will be blocked if coated, such as anti bacterial and energy flow benefits. Copper is lighter and more malleable than other materials so it can be used in more intricate work and larger pieces without becoming heavy.
Indonesian Opal- This gorgeous opal comes from Indonesia and has just amazing variations trapped inside each stone. Opal is created from lava flows trapping other elements inside itself. This particular opal contains petrified wood and a high content of copper. This leads to the shades of brown/black and the blue greens. Many pieces look like landscapes or ocean views when cut purposely. It is a fairly new stone that became available because it comes from a very remote area that had no access for mining until now. It has all the same properties as other Opals and needs to be cared for properly to ensure a long life. I source most of my pieces from Horizon minerals. It is a small company that is in the US and the master lapidary/owner Joe Yelks does amazing work as well as being a terrific person to do business with.