Metal Beads. These beads are lovely — with a variety of metal colours, are reasonably priced, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes that enhance and personalize your designs.
Silvertone and silver-plated are a thin coating of silver over a "white metal" or brass base. Similarly, gold and gold-tone (which are usually over brass) are also plated. Where we know that an item has nickel in it, we do tell you, but sometimes, we just don't know. Pewter is an alloy with tin in it — pewter as it is made today is not made with lead and we do not buy beads or findings with a lead content. Brass is brass and is usually all brass. Copper beads may be copper plated or copper all the way through. Brass Ox is an oxidized brass.
Rhodium is metal that is actually in the platinum family, although much more affordable, and is also used as a plating metal — it often substitutes for a bright, shiny silver. It does not tarnish and seldom creates a reaction. Zinc is a relative new comer to jewelry, that is also a shiny silver.
Some metals are presented as "Antiqued" - they have a special finish that adds dark shadows, which makes the patterns show better due to more contrast. These antiqued effects are quite permanent.
Gunmetal is a dark grey finish, also referred to sometimes as "Hematite" although we reserve that name for glass and stone beads.
Sterling Silver is a traditional silver alloy used in jewellery, and is usually hallmarked "925." Vermeil is Gold plated over Sterling Silver. Gold-Filled is the best quality - having the highest gold content and most durable finish, short of being pure gold. Fine Silver is pure silver. Another new comer is Sterling Silver Filled - which is a layer of Sterling Silver bonded over a less expensive metal - and is a result of the increases in the price of silver over the past few years.