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Different Metals Found In Brooches

Throughout history, quality brooches are made of #precious and #semi-precious metals. Precious metals consist of #gold, #silver, and #platinum ... whereas semi-precious metals include stainless steel and other plaited metals. What is the difference you may wonder? As with fashion, the popularity of certain metals follows trends ... in addition the malleability of metal must meet the practicality of a specific design.


Precious Metals

Known as noble metals, and are considered rare in nature and attractive when made into ornaments as they retain a certain value. These materials have a high surface luster in its purest form and do not tarnish. However noble metals in this form are extremely soft and are seldom made into brooches, instead they are combined with other metals or alloys.

  • 18K and 14K Gold: #18K gold is 75% gold and 25% alloy. It is typically brighter and has a more golden hue compared to #14K gold. As the gold content is higher, the cost is also higher. 14K gold is composed of 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy. This is the most commonly used gold for jewelry setting. Rose gold hue is created by combining gold with copper instead of alloy.
  • Sterling Silver: this is 92.5% pure silver combined with 7.5% other material (usually copper). The addition of other metal reacts to the environment and causes sterling silver to tarnish.


Semi Precious Metals

Brooches made in these metals are often plated in 24K,18K,14K or 10K gold, platinum, rhodium ... to create the effect of the precious metal without the cost and to prevent oxidization. The base metals are usually copper, brass or an alloy. Semi precious metals are more durable and stronger materials. They are plated by either electroplating or an electroless plating process where a thin layer of precious metal usually 0.5 microns thick is deposited on the surface.  Antique gold and antique silver finishes involve an additional process to create the desirable hue.


Our Sakura brooch is made of gold plated brass with hand-set crystals.