Aluminum, Stainless or Silver?...Oh my...

...they're all so pretty, which one should I choose?

I am going to give you a little information on the 3 types of metals that I use to make my chainmaille, to better help you make an informed and educated decision.

I find that my customers take a few factors into consideration when looking for a collar:

  • Will it fit my budget?- the cost factor
  • How long will it last?- the durability and longevity factor
  • Will it be complicated to clean?-the care and maintenance factor

I will answer those questions as I go along. First, I only use saw cut jump rings. This means that the ring closures will be flush and even. I tumble all of my finished pieces before shipping to ensure the rings are smooth, clean and shiny. The tumbling process varies from 20 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the metal. 

ANODIZED ALUMINUM:

I use jewelry grade anodized aluminum. AA is essentially aluminum that has gone through the anodizing process, where a protective oxide layer is applied through an electrolytic process. Through this process, AA can be made in beautiful colors. In fact, AA is the only metal I offer that is available in a variety of colors. 

  • Cost factor: AA is the least expensive material I work with
  • Durability and longevity factor: AA is a soft metal and is susceptible to scratches from hard or abrasive surfaces. It is extremely light weight, my customers tell me that they hardly even notice it's there. Being a soft metal, it's not the most durable, but will last for years with normal daily wear.
  • Care and maintenance factor: As with all of the metals I use, they will become dull or darken over time. This is a natural occurance as residues (from sweat, oils on the skin, beauty care products, etc..) will build up on the surface of the metal. When this happens to AA, use a grease fighting dish soap (I use Dawn) and some hot water. You can even use a soft bristled brush to get in those nooks and crannies. Voila, good as new!

STAINLESS STEEL:

I use 316L grade stainless steel, which is a shiny gray. This is my personal favorite, and pretty much all I wear. It is HEAVY, especially with some of the bulkier chainmaille weaves. 

  • Cost factor: You get more bang for your buck with SST. It's a bit more expensive than AA, but worth every penny!
  • Durability and longevity factor: Can potentially last a lifetime. SST is strong and durable. It is the hardest and most difficult material I work with...just ask my hands and wrists :) If you are looking for a good solid piece, stainless steel is the way to go.
  • Care and maintenance factor: As with all of the metals I use, they will become dull or darken over time. This is a natural occurance as residues (from sweat, oils on the skin, beauty care products, etc..) will build up on the surface of the metal. When this happens to SST, use a grease fighting dish soap (I use Dawn) and some hot water. You can even use a soft bristled brush to get in those nooks and crannies. Voila, good as new!

STERLING SILVER:

I use 925 SOLID sterling silver jump rings.  Sterling Silver is made from 92.5% silver and adds a touch of class and elegance. It is very bright and shiny, and is HEAVY, especially with some of the bulkier chainmaille weaves. 

  • Cost factor: The most expensive material I work with. It's beauty is worth every penny!
  • Durability and longevity factor: Can potentially last a lifetime with normal daily wear and some maintenance. It is a softer metal and not as strong as stainless steel.
  • Care and maintenance factor: Sterling silver will oxidize (darken) over time, this is to be expected. The oxidation is a welcome attribute for some, as it gives the silver that 'antiqued' appearance. If you prefer your silver bright and shiny, this can be accomplished by using a commercial jewelry cleaner, as long as it is safe for sterling silver. I also include a polishing cloth with all my sterling silver pieces, which can be used to wipe any oxidation from the metal in between cleanings, it works like a charm.

MY COLLARS ARE NOT TUG/BONDAGE PROOF. This is not what they are intended for.

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