This page is under construction.
If the material you are looking for is not yet on this page, please try the:
- Gemstones Category - Nearly every gemstone category in the Gemstones & Pearls section of our website includes information about the stone. This is generally at the top of each gemstone category page, but sometimes overflows to the bottom of the page.
- "About Metals" Page - The "About Metals" page includes details about precious metals, base metals, alloys and platings. We are in the process of moving or copying that info to this page.
At Rings & Things, we strive to provide you with clear, honest information, to help you choose the perfect items for your needs. Our products are made of over 500 different materials
(counting all gemstone beads
as just one material: gemstone), and our website has been growing and changing since 1996, so it can be a challenge to keep this all updated and easy to find! Although we only have the top 20 (or so) materials currently listed on this page, just 12
of these materials account for 2/3 of the items in our website: the majority of our items are copper, brass, steel, sterling silver, Brittania pewter, zinc, gemstone, crystal or a combination of these items.
Since 2012, all Swarovski crystal
beads, crystal pendants and other crystal jewelry components, as well as Swarovski Strass 8000-series prisms are produced using Advanced Crystal, an innovative lead-free formula (containing .009% lead or less). Special polishing, perfect cut, exact geometry and precise angles from over a century of experience, draw out maximum brilliance. Advanced Crystal offers discerning customers crystal of the highest quality, while ensuring that Swarovski products meet and surpass legislation, regulations and industry standards. As a result of Advanced Crystal, Swarovski continues to be the benchmark for safe, beautiful crystal beads, crystal pendants, and other crystal jewelry components.
Rings & Things is a Swarovski Authorized Reseller. See Certificate
Brass is an alloy of copper, zinc and sometimes other metals. Our brass is typically 70% copper
and 30% zinc
, but may vary between 70% and 90% copper (with zinc as the remainder).
- Our red brass wire is 90% copper and 10% zinc, giving it a slightly warmer color than standard brass.
- Raw (unplated) brass components are usually a good match for yellow (plated) findings, although they will vary in color and may also work with gold plate. The surfaces of raw brass items may be imperfect, and require polishing, and their finish may change with age.
- Anti-tarnish brass (a proprietary alloy) looks very close to the color of 14kt gold. Another name for anti-tarnish brass is tarnish-resistant brass.
Britannia is a pewter alloy with a silvery appearance and smooth surface. It is an alloy of tin, antimony, and copper. Most TierraCast Britannia pewter beads and jewelry findings have a surface finish (plating) of a different color over the pewter base. TierraCast Safety Compliance Info.Britannia Pewter/ Crystal:
As you might expect, these items are made of lead-free Britannia Pewter
by TierraCast, and are set with Swarovski's
sparkling Advanced Crystal
definition coming soonCarbon Steel:
Carbon Steel is an alloy of steel with carbon content up to 2.1%. Carbon steel has the ability to become harder and stronger through heat treating, but it also becomes less ductile (i.e., less malleable). In other words, you would not want to use carbon steel for wire-wrapping, but it's great for metal stamps, and for springy coils of memory wire. One downside to carbon steel, is it lacks the rust-resistance of stainless steels
Copper (Cu) is an elemental metal that is bright reddish-orange in color, and has the atomic number 29. It's a very reactive metal, meaning over time, it will darken and gain a patina, sometimes with a greenish hue. Copper can also discolor skin, most commonly when it is worn snugly like a ring or tight-fitting bracelet. Copper is a soft metal, which makes it great for wire wrapping. Because of copper's softness, solid copper components may bend easier than copper-plated beads and findings. Unplated copper is usually called raw copper
or bare copper.Crystal:
See Advanced Crystal
(Swarovski crystal), Lead Crystal
(rhinestones), Lead-Free Crystal
(Spectra) and Rock Crystal Quartz
Our items with this material name are created by Swarovski, using Advanced Crystal
and a Brass
base with gleaming Rhodium Plate or Gold Plate
Czech Glass is simply the Material name we've given to our glass beads that are made in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. Faceted firepolish beads
have been under production for centuries (they were formerly called Bohemian glass beads), and Czech pressed-glass beads
are well-known around the world.Gemstone:
Our gemstone beads, pendants and findings are cut from a wide variety of semiprecious stones (mineral crystals) including agates and jaspers, and occasionally lower-quality "bead quality" precious gemstones such as sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Nearly every gemstone category in the Gemstones & Pearls
section of our website includes physical properties of the stone, historical and metaphysical information if possible, and any special care instructions that may be necessary for some types of gemstones. This information is usually at the top of the page, but sometimes flows to the bottom of the category.Glass:
Glass is a non-crystalline amorphous solid. It's usually based on the chemical compound silica (quartz), with many other "ingredients" depending on the desired properties and color. Traditionally, most brilliant true reds contained gold, making good red glass more expensive than other colors of glass.Lead-Free Crystal:
Swarovski Spectra lead-free rainbow crystal offers above-average results regarding light reflection and brilliance while delivering excellent value for money. While It makes beautiful jewelry centerpieces as well as sun-catchers to display in your business, home or car. It is the perfect choice for the price-conscious consumer.Lead Crystal:
Glass with lead oxide (PbO) has a higher density, giving it a high refractive index, which makes it extra brilliant. It's a bit more fragile that other types of glass, and easier to cut than many other types of glass. Lead Glass with between 24% and 32% lead oxide, and the proper faceting, produces brilliant rainbows, sparkling rhinestones and beautiful cutware. However, it's not safe to store wine or other acidic beverages in lead-crystal decanters, and due to the hazards of working with lead, and concerns about infants and children swallowing lead-based beads, it is no longer as popular in jewelry and cutware, stemware and decanters as it was in previous centuries.Pewter:
Pewter includes any of the numerous silver-gray alloys of tin with various amounts of antimony and copper. Old/vintage pewter components frequently contain lead
, because it lowers the alloy's melting temperature. Now, you rarely find pewter that contains lead unless you buy it from a clueless or unscrupulous supplier. (Beware of prices that seem too good to be true! Avoid cheap pewter when making jewelry that might be worn by children or otherwise teethed on or ingested.)
Some of our base-metal items that were made of pewter in previous decades are now made of a brass
alloy base (the "Material" on the Details page of an item), with an antiqued pewter plating (the "Color" on the Details page of an item).Plastic:
definition coming soonStainless Steel:
Stainless Steel (also known as corrosion-resistant steel) is a generic name for any steel alloy with a minimum of 11.5 wt% chromium. The chromium creates a very thin chromium-oxide layer on the surface of the metal, which prevents it from rusting. The advantage of stainless steels over plated steels is that, if scratched or damaged, the stainless steel 'self-repairs' as a new chromium-oxide layer is formed. In plated steels, scratches in the plating can lead to corrosion of the steel underneath. In general, the higher percentage of chromium, the stronger the corrosion resistance of the steel. Other metals are added to the alloy to give the steel other properties, such as strength and malleability. Nickel is added to strengthen the protective oxide layer.
Stainless steel findings are slightly more gray than white findings, but the difference is barely noticeable, especially on finished jewelry. Stainless steels do not match sterling or silver plate well. For more details about specific alloys of steel, also see: About MetalsSteel:
Steel is a blanket term for a wide variety of iron-based alloys
that are very tough and hard. When our item material simply says "Steel", it is generally a tool made of a basic, strong tool steel, or it's the strong base material under a plating
. Many plated chains and findings are made with steel, because it is strong: it doesn't bend out of shape easily, and links don't open on accident (but you may be able to open them with 2 pairs of pliers). Most alloys of steel contain nickel
-- especially if the specific alloy of steel isn't listed -- so raw, unplated steel does NOT match the EU Nickel Directive, unless the item specifically states that it is an acceptable nickel-free alloy. It is possible that some of our plated steel chains are suitable for sale in Europe, but we do not guarantee them. If you would like to give it a try, we suggest you try the platings other than -9 Gunmetal and -1 White. (Gunmetal and White platings occasionally contain nickel.) For more details about specific alloys of steel, also see: About MetalsSterling Silver:
Sterling silver, sometimes stamped .925 or simply 925, is an alloy of at least 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper. All of our sterling silver is nickel-free, cadmium-free, lead-free, and meets the EU Nickel Directive. Sterling silver is a soft, easy to work with metal, which can be antiqued to a dark black or polished to a bright shine. More information about sterling silverZinc:
Zinc (Zn) is an elemental metal with atomic number 30. It is silvery in color, and relatively abundant in the earth's crust. It's been used in brass
alloys as early as 2,000 BCE (or even earlier).