Black Metal Jewelry
Jewelry with a dark or ‘antiqued’ finish is slowly gaining popularity. Shiny jewels have been there for ages and there is a need to flaunt something different, something that every other person doesn’t wear. One of the most compelling reasons for the preference of black jewelry is that it allows for the details in the design to be highlighted. Shadows and light are soul mates and one compliments the other.
Metals over a period of time tend to tarnish and the reason being is their exposure to the ever-present oxygen in the air. The dark oxidized look on jewelry has been there for ages and has come into its own recently. Most metal can be oxidized with the exception of stainless steel, titanium, niobium and tantalum which are highly resistant to it. So also craft wire, plated wire and coated wires will resist being oxidized. 24 carat gold does not tarnish, merely develops a dull look over time if not maintained well. The most favored metals to be used for creating these beautiful pieces are silver, titanium; gold mixed with copper, silver or nickel and turned into an alloy and oxidized look on white gold.
Jewelry with a black finish has an irresistible charm and be it a brooch, pendant, bangle, bracelet, jewel box, earrings, metals beads on a gold necklace, link chains, belt buckles, copper and black metal cuffs, waist belts for ladies, religious crosses, letter openers and decorative pieces; the list goes on. Patterns from different eras; exquisitely crafted, exotic, and regal vie for attention with each having a story of its own. The black metal jewelry starts from Rs.500/- and may go up to Rs.3000/- and upwards for pieces in gold and of items in interior décor by reputed designers. These are available online, local stores, boutiques and branded showrooms across the country. Mostly sold on street shops of Rajasthan, these could be an excellent buy for those looking for a contemporary look.
Stamped metal jewelry is made by using a permanent marker to create a dark effect on the metal. After the metal is marked, excess ink can be wiped away with a polishing cloth.
A metal stainer, which is available in the market can do the trick. The stainer can be applied with gloves and a mask in place as it has toxic fumes. Proper ventilation is a must. The work place on which the item is to be coated should have plastic or foil beneath so as to avoid staining it. Paper towels can be used over the plastic to keep the piece to be stained with the black color. Once the stainer is applied to the piece covering the areas to be stained, it can be kept aside to dry. This procedure takes around thirty minutes. Once the stained piece is dry it has to be polished with steel wool. To do this you need a super fine steel wool and a trash can into which the steel shavings can be discarded. After the piece is thoroughly polished, it is ready for use and even stones or beads can be attached to it. This keeps the stones, beads or any other accessories from being stained.
A sealant is also available to coat the piece to prevent scratches on the color. A word of advice is that the black metal jewelry should not be cleaned with commercial jewelry cleaners as they contain alcohol which would damage the look. There are other products available in the market for creating a dark patina over jewelry such as Liver of Sulphur and Silver Black.
Tarnishing of silver has been done using boiled eggs which contain Sulphur. The piece to be stained is put in an airtight container and hard boiled eggs, while they are still hot, are cut up into pieces and left inside to create the dark finish on the piece. Left in the open the process takes up to a couple of hours.
Silver is the favorite metal for black metal jewelry though metals such as gold (alloyed with silver, copper and nickel), titanium, palladium and tin based alloys.
Present Day Scenario
Gifting jewelry boxes to dear ones or for corporate purposes is a great idea as these boxes come in a varied price range. Right from colorful Meenakari work on the boxes and semi-precious stone settings to intricate engravings, the black metal jewel boxes suit every occasion. These stylish and elegant pieces are available in black metal, gold, silver, platinum and more.
The use of black metal in home décor for instance, black designer multi- purpose racks, photo frames, jackets for men with oxidized mesh on them, footwear. There has been an interest in grooms for wedding bands with the black engraved look as it has a macho appeal.
Black metal jewelry can be combined with formal and casual wear. Heavy ornate pieces are worn for festive or special occasions. Bridal couture has black metal jewelry created for high lighting the wedding attire. These pieces fit into festive occasions, evening soirees and casual outings too. Black metal used on bags, shoes or as jewelry compliments almost all kinds of outfits.
Jewelry in gold and silver are safe unless they are a mix of nickel or copper to which some skins are sensitive. A warning is usually given with the product about the same.
The black metal jewelry can be polished and maintained with a soft cloth. The pieces can be stored away from sunlight and moisture to keep the color as good as new.