Most craft jewelry is made from silver, which is at its best when it is used with other metals, particularly small amounts of a high carat gold. When they are combined, the two metals seem to bring out the best qualities of each other. Because it is so popular, jewelry designers are always looking for new ways of working with silver to produce interesting surfaces and finishes, neat ways of combining different techniques and original ways of introducing color. Some of the designs illustrated in this section are so successful that it is almost impossible to discern where one technique overlaps with another and where different materials have been used.
The amazingly subtle colors that can be achieved by anodizing titanium, niobium, or aluminum are enhanced by the exciting designs that explore the full potential of the metals. Although these metals have little intrinsic value, the ways in which they can be used to create striking pieces show that value is not always monetary. Chemical treatments — patina ting copper, for example — can be used to produce some wonderfully attractive yet inexpensive pieces, but remember always to take care with potentially dangerous chemicals and acids.
Gold has unrivalled qualities. Its luster, color and sheen make it one of the most desirable metals, but its cost does mean that most of us can use it only occasionally. As you look at the pieces in these illustrations, I hope you will feel inspired to consider using the kind of metals to make a special piece for yourself, so you can discover the pleasure of working with such a responsive material.
Writer -JINKS McGRATH