Held every March, MJSA Expo New York is the show dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, and it never gets old. There are always news ideas, innovations, and creations that inspire attendees. As the show website reads: “It’s chock full of the latest bench tools, laser welders, casting machines, alloys, CAD/CAM systems, gemstones and beads, component parts, stamping equipment—whatever you need to make and sell exceptional jewelry.”
Thousands of attendees will look to the exhibitors to help facilitate taking their ideas from concept to completion, and help ensure their finished pieces are true to design. Producing outstanding precious metal creations can sometimes be difficult. In order for artists and manufacturers to make exceptional jewelry, they have to make sure they are using the precise raw materials needed for their designs. That means using silver without contaminants, knowing the accurate karat (K) weight of gold, and being certain the metal is not plated with an unknown substance beneath the surface.
Many manufacturers incorporate recycled metals into the making of jewelry, which may bring with it an unknown, in the form of contaminants. The possible origins of recycled silver could be photographic wastes, films, dental alloys, spent catalysts, and electronics. Depending on the origin of the recycled silver, these contaminants may affect not only the properties of the melt itself (such as its melting temperature) and the solidification process, but also the properties of the end-product, the jewelry item. The recycled metals could contain elements such as indium (In), antimony (Sb), gallium (Ga), lead (Pb), tin (Sn), aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and others. Besides the fact that some of these elements are considered toxic, they are most likely going to influence the end-product’s properties, such as appearance, mechanical-strength, and chemical resistance, in an uncontrolled manner, as well as impact its monetary value.
Silver is not the only precious metal that can be compromised. When alloys are introduced into a jewelry piece, the combination of elements can be critical to ‘joining’ integrity and welding technologies — which is a focus of this year’s MJSA show. That concern hit home for one jeweler who works on platinum jewelry, and explained that the alloys don’t mix right if they are different. “There are four or five different choices for platinum additives. For example, if you have iridium platinum and you try and repair it with cobalt platinum, it’s not going to work. [So our bench jewelers have to identify] the kind of additive it has so that they can size a ring or add a setting using the appropriate alloys.”
If you hold any of the same concerns and are going to MJSA, stop by Booth 1402. You can have any metal analyzed for free. We will have both a countertop precious metal analyzer and a handheld analyzer available – the same types used by the reality stars at American Jewelry and Loan. You can see for yourself how with one push of a button, you can get an accurate purity analysis within seconds, right on the spot. See if that 18K gold is really 18K… or something less, even gold-plated. Or find out in seconds just what combination of precious metals creates white gold, just by analyzing a piece.
Knowing what’s in your metal is the key to producing exceptional jewelry, and MJSA is an exceptional show to find what you need to do just that.
MJSA Expo New York
March 8-10, 2015
Hilton New York USA