Aluminum bracelet blanks by ImpressArt are a great alternative to sterling silver, nickel silver, or silver plated blanks. This soft, inexpensive metal allows intricate and delicate stamping designs to make complete impressions and look great. For most metals, 14-gauge would be too thick for metal stamping, but because aluminum is a soft metal, 14 gauge is a good compromise between stampability and bracelet durability. Customize aluminum blanks with metal stamps, texture hammers, rivets and engravers.
After stamping or otherwise embellishing, these bracelets can easily be bent on an oval bracelet mandrel or using the E-Z Bender tool. They polish up beautifully!
2021 Update: ImpressArt aluminum bracelet blanks are transitioning to a new look and feel. more info
2021 Update: ImpressArt aluminum bracelet blanks are transitioning to a new look and feel. They will be made of the same high quality alloy as ImpressArt's other aluminum blanks, so they will be more malleable, making them easier to stamp and bend. ImpressArt bracelets will also feature new squared ends, providing a more comfortable feel and a sleeker, more timeless look than the current rounded ends. This transition will take some time -- some sizes/shapes will transition sooner than others.
Aluminum does not rust, nor does it take a patina with the standard chemicals normally used to darken jewelry. It oxidizes the moment it comes into contact with oxygen or water! Fortunately this oxidized layer of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) immediately forms a stable layer that protects aluminum from corrosion or further oxidation (as long as it isn't exposed to chlorine or similar substances that are corrosive to aluminum).
So how do you color aluminum?
Bright, permanent colors on aluminum are achieved through anodizing. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a durable, corrosion-resistant oxide finish. Although the color is durable, aluminum is a soft metal. When working with anodized aluminum, take care to avoid scratching or buffing through the anodized layer, unless you are intentionally creating a two-tone look.
Use Ranger alcohol inks, Vintaj faux patinas, or even craft store paints, to add colorful accents to aluminum jewelry.
Avoid traditional jeweler's chemicals, which are intended for other metals. For the most part, they do not work with aluminum, and some even cause a dangerous chemical reaction. (Do not use Win-Ox™ on jewelry that has aluminum components.)
Polishing and/or texturing aluminum jewelry:
Because aluminum is a soft metal, it's very popular for detailed metal stamped designs. However, this softness also makes it vulnerable to scratches.
Texturing your piece with a ball peen hammer gives a nice finish that helps mask scratches and often helps your stamped design stand out even better than on a plain background.
ULTRA polish pads give aluminum an almost mirror-like finish, or you can use steel wool to create a satin finish.
If you sell your jewelry, you may want to let your customers know that aluminum should be treated with care, or be brought back to you periodically for touch-up polishing.