March 11, 2009

Bali Silver & Bali Style Silver

Bali Silver is sterling silver made on Bali the Island belonging to Indonesia. Bali Silver is an alloy, but with one different in the making of it. Sterling silver as we know it is made out of two additional metals, copper and either germanium or titanium, but Bali Silver is made out of 92.5% fine silver or pure silver and 7.5% copper. Bali Silver Beads are handcrafted by silversmith's on Bali.

Bali Style Silver however is not made on the Island of Bali. It is an imitation from the original Bali Silver Bead. Bali Style silver is made in India, Turkey and Israel.
Bali Silver beads are handcrafted, where Bali Style Silver beads are mostly casted, which means 92.5% fine silver or pure silver and 7.5% copper are molten down until liquefied and then poured into a mold (held together by clamps) which then makes the cast.

Even for the schooled eye it is very difficult to tell the genuine Bali Bead apart from the Bali Silver Bead when they are held next to each other. The handcrafted Silver Bali beads are just as uniform as the casted Bali Style Beads.

One of the indicator that you do have the real thing is the price tag. The Bali Silver beads are way more expensive than its imitation, because it takes a longer amount of time for Bali silversmith's to handcraft each bead.

A casted bead has a seam around the bead. A Cast mold has two parts or two halves and the seam comes from the minimal space that develops, by clamping the two halves together.

So if you see traces of a seam that goes around a Bali Silver bead, then you know its a Bali Style Silver Bead.

Handcrafted Bali Silver beads are made from the sheets of silver. The silver sheeting is cut to size for making a bead of a particular size, then hammered into semi-circular indentations in a heavy set iron block. Excess silver is sanded away and two halves the bead are soldered with silver solder.
When you see traces of solder around the beads, then you most likely have the real thing in your hand.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Bali Style Silver beads. There are made out of the same sterling silver as Bali Silver Beads but there are more affordable to the various jewelry designer like myself. As a journey man by trade I feel responsible for informing my customers about the materials I use and why I choose to use them for my Beaded Jewels Designs

March 10, 2009

What Is Sterling Silver Exactly ?

As a journeyman by trade of goldsmith and design I would like to tell you some things about this wonderful metal called Sterling Silver and how it is made.

Sterling silver often gets mistaken for pure silver, which is also called fine silver. Fine silver or pure silver is 99.9% silver and therefore too soft for most uses especially in the jewelrymaking industry.

Sterling silver is an alloy which is the process of liquefying two or more metals together. To create sterling silver you need fine silver or pure silver, copper and either germanium or tianium granulats. The fine silver, the copper and germanium or titanium metal granulates are heated with a torch in a ceramic like bowl (with pouring outlet) until all the metals are liquefied. Once all the metals are liquefied there are poured in a hardened steel mold wich is held together by clamps. The inside can have the shape of a rod in order to make sterling silver wire out of it later on. Once the metal in poured into the mold, its needs to be removed quickly, and held under cold water to reconstruct the molecule grit.
The sterling silver is now ready to work with.
I use almost excusively sterling silver or bali silver in my Beaded Jewels Designs.

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