Gold:There is a wide variety of color and purity in gold plating such as 14kt,18kt, 24kt, Alacarte Clasps are primarily plated with 24 carat gold (99.9% gold).
Old Copper: To create the effect of old copper, clasps are plated in copper and then oxidized to create a rustic, brownish-black appearance.
Pewter Finish: To create the effect of Pewter, clasps are plated in white bronze and then finished with a special varnish.
Rhodium: Of the platinum group metals, rhodium is the most widely used material when tarnish prevention is of the highest priority. Among rhodium's desirable properties is it's brilliant white color, high reflectivity, and resistance to incidental surface abrasion. It can be used as a final anti-tarnish finish over silver or nickel items to eliminate discoloration.
Ruthenium: A member of the platinum group, ruthenium is an extremely hard metal used as a premier alloy for palladium and platinum to make them more wear resistant. Objects plated with ruthenium have exceptional resistance to scratching and abrasion. Ruthenium plated surfaces offer a very unique finish and can be modified from a light grey to dark brownish-black grey color.
Explanation of Nickel-Free
What is Nickel-Free? Most of us think that Surgical Stainless Steel has no nickel. Surgical Stainless Steel (The most commonly used piercing material in the US), although wearable by the majority of the population, contains a small amount of nickel, usually 8% in jewelry. Jewelry marked "nickel-free" is allowed to contain a very small amount of nickel, but it is such a tiny amount that it takes very sensitive instruments days and sometimes weeks to measure it.
What causes Nickel Allergies? A lot of inexpensive jewelry is made with nickel, and nickel is an increasingly common cause of skin sensitivities called contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a reaction of the skin to a substance, causing redness, rashes, itching or burning Any prolonged exposure to nickel can trigger sensitivity to the metal.
European Standard: In January 2000, the European Union imposed a nickel ban on all jewelry sold there. The European nickel free standard states that items labeled ?nickel free? may contain no more than 0.05% nickel (no more than 1 part in 2000 that is nickel.)? Alacarte Clasps? labeled nickel-free are manufactured in Europe and meet the European Standard.? If you have customers in Europe, or plan to market your jewelry in Europe, you need to be aware of the nickel ban.
United Kingdom Standard: It is a bit more stringent, items may not contain more than 0.01% nickel. Retailers/distributors shipping to the United Kingdom should determine any special requirements for exporting to the United Kingdom.Because of the EU Directive which regulates the amount of nickel released from an item, certain manufacturers and distributors have decided to introduce "nickel free" jewelry, some of which is not completely free of nickel, and therefore does not necessarily meet the requirements of the United Kingdom (UK) trades description law.
This UK law is administered by local Trade Standards officers, and their task is to ensure that the description given to a product is not materially different to the product. When they are in doubt, they have access to the Local Authorities Co-Ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) who will issue their interpretation of the law and suggest guidelines to the Trading Standards officers.
In July of 1994, LACOTS issued guidelines for the use of the term nickel free to describe jewelry. They concluded that use of the term "nickel free" should be limited to items and component parts where nickel is present at a concentration of I 00 parts per million or less - significantly lower than the 0.5% proposed for earring posts by the European Directive on nickel.
Please note that this is a guideline and only when a court case has been completed will they know whether this guideline meets the legal requirements of the Trade Description Act. These guidelines apply to the United Kingdom only and not the entire EU.
Type: Magnets used in Alacarte Clasps are made with rare earth neodymium, providing incredible strength in a small size. They can be heated up to 80 degree Celsius (176 degree Fahrenheit) for short periods of time (under an hour) so will work in polymer clay creations, but may loose strength if higher or prolonged exposure to heat is sustained. Therefore, no kiln or oven over 175 degrees should be used on Alacarte Clasps once the magnets have been glued-in. To minimize chipping or cracking, the magnets are coated in a nickel-copper alloy. Though the finishes used on Alacarte Clasps meet the European standard for nickel-free, the magnets which do not come in direct contact with the skin, have a coating that contains nickel and do not meet the European standard.
Strength: When glued-in properly, the magnets used in the Alacarte Clasps should hold up to 8 ozs (1/2 lb). While the magnets are able to sustain a heavier weight based on a nonmoving connection, since jewelry is made to wear, customers must take into consideration factors such as activity level of the wearer, necklace style, and the like.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR MAGNETIC JEWELRY
An electromagnetic energy field which surrounds magnetic components can affect other types of electronic items such as pacemakers or defibrillators, computers, watches, credit cards, etc. Persons with a pacemaker or pregnant should consult their physician before wearing magnetic jewelry.