Jewelry for Health and Beauty


Is it Really Silver?

The "K" in Gold

The Colors of Gold

Copper Jewelry and Green Skin

Medicinal Effects of Copper Jewelry

~ Is It Really Silver? ~

One of the comments I hear often when selling my jewelry, is 'Is it really silver?' I believe the reason for this is that for the most part, silver is not an expensive metal when compared to gold or platinum. To see a comparison of today's gold and silver prices, click here .

When I make jewelry from silver, I price it according to what I feel is a fair price for my creativity, time, and materials. This results in very reasonable prices. So much so, that sometimes people question the authenticity of the materials. This questioning is understandable given the fact that there are other items of jewelry available that are 'silver' but not sterling silver.

This brings us to a brief definition guide of the types of silver available.

Sterling Silver: The word "Sterling" represents the best known and most respected quality marking in use today. This is the most common form of silver used in fine jewelry. It consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% pure copper. The reason for adding the 7.5% copper, is to give the silver the strength and wearing quality it should have to hold up as a piece of jewelry.

There is something fascinatingly beautiful about sterling silver, which improves with age and use. No other metal or alloy has ever been found which duplicates its color and luster.

Sterling Silver stands alone in quality, prestige, intrinsic value and beauty.

Fine Silver: This is a very pure form of Silver (99.9% pure). Fine Silver is sometimes used in jewelry to take advantage of it's soft and malleable characteristics. The most common use is a bezel. Bezel is usually the part in jewelry that holds the stones in place. Being softer than Sterling Silver, Fine Silver Bezel can be easily shaped and burnished to conform to the shape of the stone being set.

Silver: This is the term most often used in the jewelry industry to indicate Sterling Silver. The reason for this is that Sterling Silver is the most common form of silver used in fine jewelry. Thus, it has become commonplace to refer to Sterling Silver as Silver.

German Silver: The composition of this alloy is 65% Copper, 23% Zinc, and 12% Nickel. This yellow white alloy is often used for decorative purposed and for optical frames (glasses) and is highly corrosion resistant.

Nickel Silver: The composition of this particular nickel alloy is 65% Copper, 18% Nickel, and 17% Zinc. This is a very popular nickel alloy with a pleasant silvery blue white color. It is the most popular alloy used for costume jewelry and as a base for silver plated items.

Coin Silver: As the term is used in the USA is made up of 90% Silver and 10% other metals. This was the standard for silver coins in the US but is no longer used for this purpose today. The term remains, however, and this alloy is still occasionally used in jewelry.

The old U.S. Nickel coin, by the way, was made not of pure nickel as we would think but 25% nickel and 75% copper.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new.

Until next time,

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~ Is it really Silver? ~ by Isidro Nilsson ~
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Copyright 2001/2006 Nilsson Technologies, Inc.- All Rights Reserved

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We've all heard the terms 14K, 18K, 22K etc., but do we know what it means?
Well, here it is.

When we talk about the K in gold, we are talking about a Karat. A Karat is not that veggie that your mother said you should eat. It is a unit of measure used in the jewelry industry.

Let's start at the top. When we say "pure gold", we usually mean that the gold is 100% gold and nothing else. But the truth of the matter is that the gold industry standard for "pure" is .9995 pure gold. Not quite 100%.

Technically speaking, the term Pure Gold should not be used to indicate this level of purity. So, the gold trade industry has adopted the term Proof Gold to signify this level of purity (.9995)

Proof Gold has become the standard in the gold trade. So now you know that Proof Gold is .9995 pure gold. In percent, it is 99.95% pure gold.

For use in jewelry, gold is refined even further than proof gold. It is refined to .9997 or better. Usually, it is .9999. The term for this very highly refined gold is Fine Gold. So when we talk about Fine Gold, we are talking about the purest form of gold commonly used in the jewelry trade ( 99.97% to 99.99% pure or better).

Here comes the Karat

Fine Gold is too soft to be used for most jewelry. It is subject to rapid abrasion and doesn't hold form well. It is therefore alloyed (mixed) with other metals to make it harder and more suitable for jewelry. This alloy or mixture of gold with other metals is termed Karat Gold and is abbreviated K in the USA.

Detour --->
I say in the USA because in some European countries, the abbreviation can be either K or C. the USA jewelry trade chose to use the K to avoid confusion with another term known as the carat, abbreviated C, which is another unit of measure that is mostly used to indicate the weight of precious stones and sometimes pearls. But that's another story.
<--- End Detour

Fine Gold is expressed as 24 karat: As you recall, Fine Gold has a purity of .9997+. The plus sign (+) means that it can be more than 99.97% pure gold but not less. Qualities below this are divided by 24 to express their proportionate degree of fineness. This means that one karat gold is one part fine gold out of a possible 24 parts.

From this information, you can easily determine how much gold is actually in that ring or pendant of yours. You just take the Karat number and divide it by 24. For example, let's say that your ring has a 14K stamp on it. You just take the 14 and divide it by 24 and VOILA!, your ring is made up of 58.33% pure gold. The rest is other metals that have been added to make it harder and more suitable for a long lasting piece of jewelry.

Here is a table indicating the karat content and the actual percent of gold in some of the commonly used karat golds.

Note ~ 24K is considered 100% gold; even though it can be as low as 99.97% gold!

24K = 100% gold ~ 0% other metals
22K = 91.67% gold
~ 8.33% other metals
18K = 75% gold
~ 25% other metals
14K = 58.33% gold
~ 41.67% other metals
12K = 50% gold
~ 50% other metals
10K = 41.67% gold
~ 58.33% other metals

So, now you may ask- If 18K gold is only 75% pure gold, and 14K gold is only 58.33% pure gold, what is the other 25% and 41.67% (the other metals)?

Good question. We will get into that next time when we discuss the different colors of gold.

Until next time,

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~ The K in Gold ~ by Isidro Nilsson ~
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Most of us think of gold as being a color and we associate that color with the metal we call Gold. For the most part, that is correct. What we don't often think about is the fact that gold in jewelry can be many number of colors.

I'm not talking about Pure Gold known as 24 Karat Gold, I'm talking about the gold most of us see in jewelry. As we learned last month, most gold jewelry is an alloy or mixture of gold and other metals. Lets take 18 karat gold for example.

18 karat gold is made up of 75% pure gold. The other 25% is a mixture of other metals that give the gold its strength and its color.

Many colors of gold have been developed by combining various metals in various proportions to make up the other metals in karat gold. Some of these combinations of metals have yielded some pretty interesting and quite unusual colors.

Though not very popular, Some of these various colors of gold have become standardized. The reason for creating standards or set formulas for some of the colors of gold, is to be able to match or recreate a piece of jewelry in the exact same color.

For the most part, all these gold alloys are subtle in nature. They are all what we would consider primarily gold in color but they have a hue that is definitely pulling towards a different color. This is most noticeable when different colors of gold are seen side by side. A popular occurrence of this is found in what is commonly known as Black Hills Gold where we usually see 2 or 3 colors of gold in a single piece of jewelry.

The following is a sampling of some colors of gold and their composition. I start the list with a key to the symbols used to identify the various metals.

Symbol = Metal
= Gold
      Ag = Silver
      Al = Aluminum
      Cu = Copper
      Cd = Cadmium
      Fe = Iron
      Ni = Nickel
      Pd = Palladium
      Pt = Platinum
      Zn = Zinc

Yellow Gold, 22 Karat
Au 91.67% - Ag 5% - Cu 2% - Zn 1.33%

Yellow Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Ag 10% - Cu 10% - Zn 5%

Red Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 25%

Rose Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 22.25% - Ag 2.75%

Pink Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 20% - Ag 5%

Green Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Ag 20% - Cu 5%

Light Green, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 23% - Cd 2%

Deep Green Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 6% - Ag 15% - Cd 4%

Blue Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Fe 25%

Purple Gold, 18 Karat
Au 80% - Al 20%

White Gold, 14 Karat
Au 58.33% - Ni 15% - Cu 10% - Zn 16.67%

White Gold, 14 Karat
Au 58.33% - Pd 14% - Zn 11% - Ag 16.67%

White Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Pt or Pd 25%

White Gold, 18 Karat (No. 2)
Au 75% - Pd 10% - Ni 10% - Zn 5%

Gray White Gold, 18 Karat
Au 75% - Cu 8% - Fe 17%

Yellow Gold, 14 Karat
Au 58.33% - Cu 31.2% - Ag 4% - Zn 6.47%

Yellow Gold, 12 Karat
Au 50% - Cu 34% - Ag 16%

Green Gold, 12 Karat
Au 50% - Cu 6% - Ag 44%

Dark Green Gold, 12 Karat
Au 50% - Cu 10% - Ag 40%

Red Gold, 12 Karat
Au 50% - Cu 50%

There are many other formulas for making gold in different colors, These are just some of them.

Another method used in coloring gold takes place when gold is plated on the surface of other base metals. This plating process yields a very thin coat of gold and the color is determined by the solution and type of electrode used in the process.

Until next time,

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~ The Colors of Gold ~ by Isidro Nilsson ~
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People often asked: "Will this bracelet or ring turn my skin green?" My answer is: "I don't know". I work with pure copper and the way a person reacts to pure copper is often different. The best way to find out is by trying one.

Most customers who like to wear copper do not care about having an occasional green stain. Other people are very health conscious and, as proof that the copper is working, they expect to see a green mark where copper touches the skin, the same marks that make others feel self-conscious. Ironically, the green copper stains seem to prefer the people who worry the most about getting them. The same bracelet which remains shiny for one person, will turn another person's wrist green, or may acquire multicolored patinas on another. Could these changes be related to a person's metabolism?

The answer is Yes! The green stains are caused by deposits of chelated copper and their presence relates directly to the body chemistry of the wearer. Chelated means they are copper compounds in a soluble form assimilable by our bodies. Copper in its pure metallic form cannot be taken in by our bodies, while chelated copper compounds are easily absorbed by our skin. They become visible when the wearer's body dissolves the copper faster than it absorbs it. This happens when there is profuse perspiration (as when exercising on a hot day), or when our sweat becomes more acidic. The acidity of our sweat increases with physical, emotional or mental stress. It also increases with unhealthy diets. I find that eating junk food and sugar creates the green stain for me.

Green marks are also believed to appear when the body is hungry for copper. The human body needs more minerals when growing, when pregnant, or when recovering from disease or surgery. A body starving for copper will even manage to dissolve the copper contained in gold alloys and leave marks under 14K gold rings. If you suspect having copper deficiency, please consult your holistic doctor, naturopath or dietician, who by ordering a simple blood test will know the mineral supplements you need to regain balance. As prevention, choose to eat organically grown produce whenever possible.

The green stains are normally absorbed overnight, and if needed they wash off with soapy water. If wearers strongly dislike the green marks, they have two choices. They can choose to address the causes and make healthier choices or simply ignore the warning and wear no more copper.

If a customer chooses to wear no copper and wishes to return a newly purchased bracelet or ring, we offer as a courtesy to exchange it for a design in sterling silver or one of our 14K Gold designs. We also suggest people re-shine their old bracelets and rings and give them away as presents.

Copper On Skin - Scientific Facts

- "Copper, when in contact with the skin, form chelates with human sweat (sometimes seen as a green deposit under the bracelet or ring) and is thus absorbed through the skin. Think of a bracelet as a 'time-release' source of copper." Dr. Ray Walker, Univ. of Newcastle, Australia.

- "Copper compounds are more effective and less toxic than drugs being used to treat arthritis." Dr. John Sorenson, Univ. of Arkansas.

Copper On Skin - Historical Data

- "Treat inflammation with pulverized copper." From the Eber Papyrus, one of the world's oldest medical texts.

- In medieval Europe the famous physician Paracelsus prescribed copper and brass bracelets to treat the "bad mixture of bodily humors." They continued to be widely used in Europe until early this century to promote physical and mental health and to increase male potency (coincidentally a relation between copper deficiency and sterility in cattle has been recently reported).

- In 1939, the German physician Werner Hangarter, reported that Finnish copper miners were free of arthritis in spite of rheumatism being a widespread disease in Finland. He proceeded to successfully treat rheumatoid arthritis, neck and back problems with copper compounds. But interest in copper treatments became dormant after WWII, which coincided with the introduction of corticoids, initially hailed as "wonder drugs" until their side effects became better known.

Copper On Skin - Some new questions

- Arthritis is the number one crippling disease in America. The American Arthritis Foundation calls copper bracelets an "unproven remedy." There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence to warrant clinical trials by the Food & Drug Administration to prove or disprove the therapeutic effects of wearing copper. Having at stake the potential discovery of a new treatment for arthritis, why are those tests not being done?

- In the developing world, where people cannot afford expensive drugs, copper bracelets are sold by pharmacists as the treatment of choice for aches and pains. But doctors in the USA are legally prevented from suggesting copper and prescribe drugs instead. As a result of this practice, arthritis sufferers in America often spend more on pain pills than on nutritious food. All those pills have fueled a multi-billion dollar industry for which a copper treatment approved by the FDA would be bad news. Could it be that in their efforts to preserve market share these powerful drug companies are somehow diminishing our resolve to complete the testing of this natural and affordable alternative?

Adapted by Isidro Nilsson with permission from Sergio Lub's article of September 1996 - 360-653-6857

I hope you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new.

Until next time,

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~ COPPER JEWELRY & GREEN SKIN ~ by Isidro Nilsson ~
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~ Best Conductor ~

I often get asked this question about my Energy Rings. "Which metal is the best?"

This is a tricky question in some respects and I don't really have a direct answer. In reference to the Energy Rings and induction coils in general, I would base my answer on the conductivity of the metal. In other words, which metal provides the best conductivity or the least resistance to the flow of electrical energy.

In this case, it is silver. Most people think of gold as being the best conductor but in reality, between copper, silver and gold, silver is the best conductor. Second is copper and gold comes in 3rd place.

The following table was taken from the Radio Amateur's Handbook. It gives the relative resistivity of metals. In other words, the metal's resistance to the flow of electrical energy. The higher the number, the more resistance the metal has to the flow of electrical energy. The lower the number, the less resistance, hence, a better conductor.


When these calculations were made, copper was the most commonly used material for the conduction of electrical energy. Therefore, copper became the standard. It was assigned the value of 'one' in the resistance table and all other metals were measured against this standard.

Another related question that comes up on this topic, is: "If copper is a better conductor than gold, why is gold used in most of today's high end circuit boards and other electronic components?

A little research revealed that gold is used because in most high frequency electrical components, the flow of electrons takes place on the surface of the metal. Silver has a tendency to tarnish. This tarnish in silver is actually an oxide that has resistance to the flow of electrons and so reduces the conductivity. Since gold does not have this tarnishing problem, it is the better choice for long term efficiency of electrical components.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new.

Until next time,

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~ Best Conductor ~ by Isidro Nilsson ~
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~ Medicinal Effects of Copper Jewelry ~

Copper jewelry such as rings and bracelets cause no side effects other than easily reversible discoloration of the skin and occasional skin irritation in people with metal allergies. So, in light of the ease of using these bracelets, their potential for conveying therapeutic effects is deserving of careful investigation.

In fact, the only clinical study of copper bracelets in arthritis reported positive effects in most cases (Walker and Keats, 1976). And the only other serious clinical trial of copper bracelets, by the Mayo Clinic (Bratton et al., 2002), found that they were effective in about three quarters of the cases of musculoskeletal pain, which is roughly equivalent to the rate of effectiveness of standard drugs used to treat arthritis and other musculoskeletal pain disorders. So the only two clinical studies of copper bracelets agree that they are indeed effective in treating arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. Recent cases suggest that, when zinc is added, they can effectively treat arthritic pain in the hands; and in a recent case study involving a 70-year old male engineer with essential tremor in the hands, a copper bracelet with magnets on the inside of the two ends reduced the tremor by an estimated 80%. However, copper and copper-zinc bracelets have one counterindication: Alzheimer's Disease.

Such promising preliminary findings should encourage researchers to test copper bracelets (and copper + zinc bracelets) further to determine their full range of clinical indications as well as their mechanisms of action.

Copper is an important human trace element. Some 75-150 mg are present in healthy adults, with a daily turnover of 2-3 mg. In humans, copper plays a role in some 30 enzymes, including the critical enzymes superoxide dismutase--SOD (a suppressor of the leading reactive oxygen species superoxide) and ceruloplasmin (an antioxidant that keeps copper and iron ions from creating oxygen radicals; ceruloplasmin is also important for the uptake of iron into hemoglobin). In the (blue) blood of some crustaceans, copper substitutes for iron to form cyanoglobin. Aside from the rare genetic disorder of copper overload (Wilson's disease), humans can store and use a rather large amount of copper without any deleterious effects, though oral intake of some copper compounds can cause nausea and vomiting. Obviously, significant overdoses can cause a range of damaging effects, including hepatomegaly and cirrhosis of the liver. Copper is abundant in a variety of foods, including legumes, nuts, seeds, and shellfish.

Available in two main isotopes and two states of oxidation (+ and +2), copper is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract via the same mechanism as zinc, and it readily substitutes for zinc and iron in the body because of its similar location in the periodic table (electronic configuration). In turn, silver (and perhaps gold) can substitute for copper in enzymes like ceruloplasmin. So ion substitution plays a significant and not fully understood role in copper metabolism, and thereby in its medicinal effects.

Copper in the History of Medicine

To those familiar with the long history of copper in medicine (Dollwet and Sorenson, 1985), the notion that copper bracelets can convey beneficial effects should not seem surprising. In ancient Egypt, various copper compounds were used to hasten wound healing, treat headaches and epilepsy, and sterilize water. Copper acetate--known as verdigris--became the antiinfective of choice in Greek medicine, and Roman medical treatises recommended a number of copper compounds for a range of skin, neurological, and inflammatory disorders. Copper was used in ancient India and Persia to treat lung disorders, while the Aztecs used it, perhaps in a gargle, for "heat of the throat". In India copper found extensive use for treatment of skin and internal disorders. In ancient China a law prohibited the use of paper money in bars and prescribed that payment be made with copper coins, for hygienic reasons.

One difficulty in assessing these reports, of course, is that many practitioners simultaneously used a half-dozen other compounds in addition to copper.

The renowned Renaissance physician Paracelsus treated inflammatory and autoimmune diseases with copper, and he held that copper was an effective treatment of parasitical disorders.

During the 19th century, certain French and German physicians used copper compounds extensively and conducted intriguing epidemiological studies. J.G. Rademacher found that copper hammerers were healthier than workers in other industries; but his treatments with oral copper compounds frequently led to nausea and even vomiting, so he had to mix them with cinnamon and wine. Rademacher treated with copper compounds a range of neurological and rheumatic disorders as well as herpes and warts.

In his book Metallotherapie (1871), Victor Burq showed that workers in the copper industry had far lower death rates during the cholera epidemics of 1865 and 1866 than workers in other industries. Burq used both oral copper and copper or copper/zinc (brass) bracelets to treat hysteric paralysis, migraines, and anemia.

Italian physicians also determined that inhaled copper dust swiftly corrected the anemias of chlorotic girls who took jobs in the copper industry.

A copper-based potion of the Swiss physician Koechlin, based on a Chinese original, was widely used in Central Europe to treat a range of skin, neurological, and infectious diseases including tuberculosis. A. Luton conducted clinical studies in which he successfully used copper to treat pulmonary tuberculosis.

For much more detailed information and analysis regarding medicinal bracelets, see Intriguing Anomalies: An Introduction to Scientific Detective Work.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and perhaps learned something new.

Until next time,

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~ Medicinal Effects of Copper Jewelry ~ Published by Scientia Press ~

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