Why CQ Jewellery will never contain nickel!

What is CQJ made of?

I recently got asked if I use silver with nickel in it? Great question! The short answer is ‘no’, but why is nickel so bad anyway?

Nickel is a metal that is added to gold and silver to make it stronger and cheaper along with other metals such as copper and zinc. Once upon a time the metal added was lead, however the health implications with lead are well known and this is no longer a common option.

People also often have allergic reactions to nickel, which can irritate skin and cause it to turn red, forming rashes or blisters. So, there is now a move away from using nickel. Jewellers and Jewellery manufacturers must indicate whether the jewellery contains nickel or not because of the possible allergies people can have.

Why mix?

Fine silver, like fine gold, or pure is very soft. So it wears and gets scratches and dings much more easily that sterling silver. Hence the reason for adding the nickel in the first place.

Here at CQ Jewellery I use sterling silver, argentium and fine silver. Sterling silver and argentium are alloys – or a mix – of copper and fine silver, with a different amount of silver in each. The copper is the reason sterling silver tarnishes over time and if it’s not worn. The copper reacts with the air causing the jewellery to tarnish.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper – hence the 925 stamp on jewellery to identify the material.

Argentium Silver

Argentium Silver 93.5% silver and 6.5% copper, its identifying stamp is 935. With the lower content of copper, Argentium is more tarnish resistant, whilst looking the same as sterling silver.

I often use Argentium for earring posts and hooks to make them even more sensitive friendly.

Fine Silver

I also use fine silver or 999, 99.9% silver for making the bezel cups for the gems. As it is softer it is easier to work with when pushing it around the stone and securing them in place.


Other Materials

Other metals I use are brass and copper for embellishments and to add colour variation to designs. I also try to use as much recycled sterling silver as I can, helping to reduce our carbon footprint.


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