Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy of at least 92.5% pure silver with no more than 7.5% something else. Our sterling (and sterling from any reputable US supplier) is made with copper as the something else. We work primarily in sterling and make rings in a wide range of sizes in seven wire shapes (round, square, diamond, twisted, half round, half flat and multistrand). We make and stock many round ring sizes and the most popular shaped ring sizes and make the other sizes to order.

Argentium Sterling

Argentium sterling is a proprietary sterling alloy in which a small amount of the copper has been replaced with germanium, a member of the silicon family. It's identical to traditional sterling in appearance when polished but Argentium resists tarnish far longer than traditional sterling and will fuse. It has all the desirable properties of fine silver but with the strength and hardness of traditional sterling. Argentium's tarnish resistant properties can be maximized by baking it at a low heat in a home oven and it can be hardened significantly by baking at a high heat, again, in a home oven.

For further information on Argentium, you might want to read:

Road Testing Argentium Sterling by Cynthia Eid

Palladium Sterling

Palladium is a member of the platinum family and 30 times rarer than gold. It's whiter than platinum and is naturally tarnish resistant. When alloyed with sterling, the color has a slight grey cast and is 'richer' than sterling - it almost looks like Mercury. Our Palladium sterling is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver (that percentage is what defines sterling as sterling), 4.5% copper and 3% palladium. Palladium sterling is a little harder and stronger than traditional sterling and because of its finer, harder surface, it shines more brilliantly.

Both Palladium Sterling and Platinum Sterling are an excellent way to increase the value of your work.

Platinum Sterling

Platinum sterling is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver (that percentage is what defines sterling as sterling), 6.5% copper and 1% pure platinum. Our Platinum sterling is a little bit harder and stronger than traditional sterling and Palladium Sterling. While it still has somewhat of grey tint from the Platinum, and because it has a finer, harder surface, it shines more brilliantly than traditional sterling.

Both Palladium Sterling and Platinum Sterling are an excellent way to increase the value of your work.

Gold Filled Yellow, Rose and White

We currently offer Yellow Gold-Filled and Rose Gold-Filled rings. We hope to offer White Gold-Filled in the near future.

Our Gold-Filled rings are 14/20 Gold-Fill, which means that 14k Gold composes 1/20th of the weight of the material. The 14k Gold is bonded to a red brass alloy (CD 220) core. The value of our Gold-Filled materials is greater than plated materials because there is an actual layer of precious metal versus the microscopic layer of plating.

The gold-filled round rings are an almost exact match to our sterling round rings. The gold-filled shaped rings (square, diamond, twisted, half round) are a slightly different shape than our precious metal shaped wire - please contact us for more information if you intend to mix filled and precious metal materials. Gold-filled and silver-filled shaped wire are an exact match.

Our gold-filled material is not guaranteed to be 100% nickel free but the content is very low. Gold-filled, or gold overlay, is made by heat- and pressure-bonding a thin layer of 14K gold to a brass core. This is the global standard practice for the manufacture of gold-filled and silver-filled materials.

The brass core in our material is CDA 220. The Materials Safety Data Sheet for CDA (Copper Development Association) 220 designates that the alloy must contain less than 0.05% (one half of one percent) nickle [Ni][Ni] and is compliant with European Union nickel content laws.


We use pure copper (99.9% which is as pure as copper gets) and we harden it for strength. The finished rings are a little bit softer than our sterling rings, but not much. We make a wide range of sizes (26g/1.0mm to 8g/20.0mm in 1/8mm increments) in seven wire shapes (round, square, diamond, twisted, half round, half flat and multistrand) and keep most cut, polished and in stock at all times.


Now you can test new designs and work out all of your sizing requirements before making an investment in sterling and other precious metals.

Urban Maille's Bronze is a custom alloy that has been specifically designed for color, hardness and ease of processing into wire. There is no industry standard for Bronze alloy composition like there is for Sterling - (i.e. .925). The temper of this wire was custom designed to match the temper of our precious metal rings, which makes them ideal for testing new patterns and designs.

The rings are a tiny bit stiffer, but not any more difficult to close. People who have worked with it say it's equivalent to about 1 gauge difference. i.e. 18g feels like 16g, 20g feels like 18g, etc... But size wise, the round wire rings are very close in measurement (usually within 1/10th of a mm) to our sterling and other precious metal rings.

The shaped wire rings and round rings 22g and smaller have more variance in temper and other characteristics and size adjustments may be required. Please contact us for more information if you intend to mix Bronze with other metals or to verify sizing for shaped rings.

18K Yellow, Red, Pink, Green and Palladium White Gold

We make solid 18K gold rings by custom order and they are priced by the ring, rather than by troy ounces. Minimum order quantities apply to some sizes. In general the order minimums are:

  • 16g: 20 rings
  • 18g: 25 rings
  • 20g: 30 rings
  • 22g: 35 rings
  • 24g: 40 rings 

Our production process, which was specifically developed to harden relatively soft precious metals in order to produce very durable butted maille, hardens gold so much that 14K gold rings and 18K gold rings heavier than 16 gauge are too rigid to work with smooth jawed pliers. For this reason, we currently produce only high karat gold rings no heavier than 16 gauge. If you're interested in a custom order, please click on the "Contact Us" link and request a quote.

Fine Silver and 24K Gold

Fine silver (.999 silver) and 24K gold aren't suitable for butted maille because they're too soft in their unalloyed state. There are people who disagree with that assessment and use fine silver to make butted maille. For us, though, durability is of primary importance and, no matter what you do to it, fine silver won't get harder than half hard sterling. Our sterling rings start out as half hard wire but the process we put it through hardens the finished rings far beyond that point. That same process hardens 18K gold to the point that 16g rings are a workout to close and 14K gold becomes so stiff it's not even workable with smooth jawed pliers. (Which is why we don't make 14K gold rings.) That degree of strength might not be a requirement for every project but as we're making rings, we're well aware that any piece of jewelry made from them could become an heirloom, passed down from generation to generation, and those rings have to be strong. So we make every ring to those standards.

The advantages to using fine silver rather than sterling are the slow tarnish rate and the fact that it can be fused rather than soldered. Argentium provides both of those advantages without any sacrifice of strength so that's what we recommend for those times when fine silver might otherwise be appealing.

Fine silver and 24K gold are perfect for making loop-in-loop chains, however, because not only can the pure metals be fused, as opposed to soldered, which results in closed rings strong enough for stretching, shaping and drawing, but it remains soft and workable which is what's needed for that particular application. So we make those rings by custom order, though we do not yet offer them fused. Request a quote if you'd like some of those rings.

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