What is Nickel Silver?

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Nickel silver is a metal sometimes used in the making of costume jewelry. Although it is called silver, it doesn’t actually contain any silver in its composition. The word ‘silver’ in this case refers to the color of the metal rather than the content. Because of this, nickel silver often causes confusion to buyers, who may think that it’s a silver alloy.

Here’s a quick guide
outlining what nickel silver is, as well as its pros and cons.

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  • Nickel Silver
  • Nickel Silver Advantages
  • Nickel Silver Disadvantages
  • Nickel Silver

    Nickel silver is
    typically made using 60% copper,
    20% nickel and 20% zinc. The metal has many names and is also known as German silver,
    Alpaca silver, Argentan silver or nickel brass. Nickel silver has many uses,
    including in the making of musical instruments, art and sculptures and costume
    jewelry.

    While there isn’t any
    real silver in this metal, it is sometimes silver-plated in which case its
    silver content lies in the thin plating on its external surface. This is
    usually identified with the stamp EPNS, which stands for Electro Plate Nickel
    Silver.

    Nickel Silver Advantages

    Nickel silver is ideal
    to use in making costume jewelry as it is durable yet malleable and easy to
    craft into intricate designs. It can be hammered, textured, cut and soldered
    and used in a number of ways to create interesting textures and patterns.

    Ethnic German (nickel) silver pendant. See it here.

    Nickel silver is also inexpensive,
    which is perfect not only for the buyer but also for jewelers looking to
    practice jewelry-making. Rather than practice on sterling silver, which is more
    expensive, they can utilize this inexpensive metal that looks exactly like
    silver.  For buyers, it’s a cheap
    alternative to sterling
    silver.

    Nickel silver earrings

    Nickel silver earrings. See them here.

    Nickel Silver Disadvantages

    There’s nothing wrong
    with nickel silver unless you have metal allergies, in which case it’s best to
    avoid it altogether.

    Something to watch out
    for is the labelling of nickel silver. It’s common for nickel silver to be sold
    under one of its many other names (German silver seems to be the favorite),
    without indication that the metal contains nickel. Jewelers need to clearly
    identify that the metal contains nickel and that it is a nickel alloy as opposed to a silver alloy.

    Another thing to watch
    out for is unscrupulous sellers passing off nickel silver as sterling silver. Unsuspecting
    buyers may be fooled by the metal’s appearance and similarity to the more
    valuable metal. Buyers may just accept the name nickel silver on face value and think that it is actual silver. Note
    that sterling silver is much more valuable.

    While nickel silver
    has its advantages, you shouldn’t be ripped off paying higher prices. When in
    doubt, always ask the jeweler about the specifics of the metal and if they tell
    you that ‘nickel silver’ is a form of true silver, you’ll know that they’re
    either mistaken or outright lying to you.

    So, to wrap up…

    Nickel silver is a
    good metal choice for costume jewelry. Just ensure that you know what the metal
    is when you purchase it and avoid it if you have nickel allergies.

    If you’re looking for nickel silver jewelry,
    check Amazon’s collection
    for the best range.

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