Materials Guide

We at Foxwise believe that you want to make informed decisions, and we want to provide you all the tools to do so.  That's why, among other things, we have information about all the materials in our products collected here.


1100 Pure Aluminum - This hypoallergenic, food-grade aluminum is what we use for (almost) all of our aluminum products.  It's super lightweight, and won't stain the skin, so you can wear it all the time and not have to worry about your skin turning funny colors.  Because it's soft, it's easily bent, so heavy use, and especially bending it repeatedly in the same spot will cause it to break given enough time.  It will dull if given enough time, but a little buffing will shine it up quite easily.

3003 Aluminum - This is an alloy of aluminum and manganese, making it simultaneously stronger and more flexible than pure aluminum.  We use this only on bookmarks, money clips, tie bars and the like, which benefit from the added strength.

Brass - We use red brass, also known as jeweler's brass, which is high in copper, leading to a more reddish hue that's closer to that of pure gold.

Non-trivial Trivia : Brass can be cleaned and burnished with brass cleaner.  And by brass cleaner, I mean ketchup.  No joke, the stuff you dip your fries in can clean brass.  Just smear it on, rinse it off and buff a bit. (Or you could be boring and just use white vinegar, which is the magic ingredient in ketchup that helps it polish brass. But where's the fun in that?)

Copper - This bright copper will tarnish eventually unless polished regularly.  All our antiqued copper pieces are oxidized with liver of sulfur to give an aged patina.  All copper pieces are sealed with archival wax, as most people have a sensitivity to copper, but the wax will wear off given time.

14k Gold Filled - This is genuine 14 karat gold bonded to a core of copper or brass.  Gold filled jewelry lasts MUCH longer than gold plated pieces, which often have a layer of gold so thin it can wear away after only a year or two.  Gold filled, if proper care is taken care, can keep its shine for 30 years or more.

Sterling Silver - 92.5% silver, mixed with copper because pure silver ("fine silver", .999 silver, is used in a few of our pieces that are made from silver metal clay) is fairly soft and will not always hold up to regular wear.  Silver itself is hypoallergenic, but the copper content of the alloy is such that it can react with very sensitive skin.  

We do not stamp our items with "925" as proof of silver content, simply because it doesn't prove a blessed thing about the metal (it proves only that we own a ".925" metal stamp, which you can buy for about nine bucks on eBay), and it takes up space.  We also feel that the stamp gives buyers a false sense of security.  Many unscrupulous sellers on Etsy and eBay sell silver-plated jewelry with the .925 stamp; we hope that by leaving it off our genuine sterling silver jewelry, and by climbing onto our little soapbox every time some unsuspecting customer says "Hey, where's the .925 stamp?", we're helping to educate the buying public so that consumers can make more informed choices.  Or maybe we're just offering further proof that we're kind of nerdy.  Either way, if you would like us to stamp your sterling piece because it's a gift and your mother in law is sure to get one of those knowing looks on her face when she turns it over/looks inside, we'll happily oblige.

Argentium Silver - This form of sterling allows for a higher silver content by replacing some of the copper with germanium.  This silver will not tarnish (well, not for a long time, anyway), and because the germanium oxide forms a self-repairing skin that limits skin contact with the copper in the alloy, it's better for sensitive skin. You can google germanium for more information (or you can ask us, in which case we'll google germanium and then pretend we knew everything else about it all along).