Jewellery may be made from a wide range of jewellery materials, organic as well as inorganic.
Organic jewellery materials are of plant or animal origin. They include amber, bone, coral, horn, ivory, leather, plants, pearls/shells and wood.
Inorganic jewellery materials are: clay (including polymer clay), glass, gemstones, precious metals (and alloys) such as gold, platinum, palladium, silver and titanium, other metals such as bronze, copper or surgical steel. Beads are frequently used in jewellery. These may be made of glass, gemstones, metal, wood, shells, clay and polymer clay.
In my jewellery I use the following materials: sterling silver, fine silver based on precious metal clay, gemstones, gold, brass, bronze, copper, crystal glass, leather, pearls, shells and amber.
My choice of jewellery materials depends on factors such as
- processing tools en techniques available
- the jewellery materials are preferably pure and natural
- they are sustainable – of sound quality and absolutely non-harmful for the wearer
- the price is reasonable, and
- they are beautiful – to my taste.
Of course tastes differ. I just prefer quality materials even if it makes my jewellery more costly and more difficult to sell. And working with a valuable material is more challenging, because you have to add real value to the piece of silver. On the other hand being a hobbyist I know my limits: I am not working with gold (on large scale), platina and diamonds.