Tip : Click on a name for a list of jewelry pieces made with this material!
The metals mostly used at Mademoiselle M are sterling & fine silver, 14k gold-filled, and copper. We also sometimes use vermeil, bronze, stainless steel, brass, and aluminium.
Sterling silver is the most common alloy of this bright white metal. It contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, making it harder and usable in more objects. When oxydised, it becomes coppery, blue, pink, and then black.
Fine silver is, as its name implies, 99.9% pure silver. It is much more softer than sterling but can also be used in jewellery if it goes through a process to harden it. Bali or Thai silver is a derivative that containt betwen 94-98% silver.
Silver Filled is a layer of .925 or better silver which is mechanically bonded to a brass core. Our Supplierís Silver Filled is 1/10 or 10% by weight (.925 or better) silver. It is hundreds of times thicker than silver plating and has the same properties as Sterling Silver.
Jewellery gold is a gold alloy containing any number of metals to harden it and modify its color. For example:
Gold-filled comes from a process of high temperature and pressure that permanently bonds a thick layer of gold to a base metal piece. The resulting piece has the same brilliance and hypoallergenicity than pure gold, but it's price is much more affordable. The fraction of gold in the piece must be at least 1/20, and the gold used is often 14k (hence the name, 14k gold-filled). The gold layer will degrade, but at a much slower rate (30 years) than gold plate, which is anywahere from 50 to 100 000 times thinner, depending on the type of piece and fabricant.
Vermeil gold is a silver piece plated with gold, often 18 or 24k, hence the deep yellow gold tone. The gold layer is more fragile and can eventually be rubbed off, depending on the fabrication process and quality.
Abalone shells have an iridescent interior, which can be all sorts of colours.
Agates are stone aggregates made from various silica phases. It can be found in a range of earthy colours.
Amazonite is a variety of feldspath, semi-opaque, and ranging from verdigris to blue-green. Often mistaken for jade.
Amber is petrified resin coming from ancient pine trees. It can vary from bright lemon yellow to deep brown.
Amethyst is February's birthstone. It's a mystifying stone in it's deep purple version, while it looks more romantic when a paler lilac hue. When heated, it transforms into yellow citrine, Novemberís birthstone.
Aquamarine is March's birthstone. This beautiful stone is usually pale blue, but is also found in shades of green and yellow. It's also the 19th anniversary stone. It is part of the beryl family, the same as emerald. Aquamarine is supposed to bring peace and serenity, and to calm nerves. In ancient times, it also served as an antipoison and lucky charm to sailors.
Aventurine is often green, blue or orange, and sometimes brown, yellow, grey. It is from the quartz family.
Carnelian is orange to red, often transparent.
Chalcedony is a milky stone, present in all shades. Often tinted or colour-enhanced.
Cinnabar is usually red or black, and often sold as a carved stone. It was used in traditional Chinese medicine and has been found in Maya sarcophages.
Citrine is yellow, ranging from bright lemon yellow to deep caramel brown. It is often sold as heated amethyst. Part of the quartz family.
Natural coral is white, pink, red, black, blue, or beige, but it is often dyed. It is now illegal to harvest coral from the sea. Symbol for the 11th or 35th anniversary.
Crystal is sold in all colours because it is man-made. Rock crystal is not leaded crystal, it is actually another name for clear quartz.
Often imitated, never surpassed, the diamond is Aprilís birthstone. The hardest of all stones, and a member of the small tribe of precious stones, can you imagine that in ancient times, it was not cut for fear of affecting itís magical properties? That was before the year 1300. Nowadays, it is synthetized industrially because itís properties are useful in a lot of fields. In jewellery making, the most popular diamond is the clear one, but other beautiful shades exist : chocolate brown, canary yellow, even sky blue!
Being another of the precious stones, the emerald is Mayís birthstone. But beware : it is often synthesized, or treated with oils and resins, so it is fragile. Itís also the 40th anniversary stone.
Formerly called fluorspar, fluorite has a wide range of colors including yellow, blue, pink purple and green. It is an interesting and beautiful stone because often more than one color occurs in a single stone. The ancient Egyptians used flourite to carve statues and scarabs, the Chinese have used it in carvings for over 300 years. In the 18th century, fluorite was powdered in water to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease. Fluorite is known as the "Genius Stone".
Garnet is usually deep red but can vary from purplish to brown. The hessonite variety is honey to orange to brown, and there exists also a green variety.
Hematite is metallic black and sometimes red. It is fragile and it's name comes from the Greek, meaning blood.
Iolite is deep blue to purplish-blue.
Jade is green, ranging from lime to forest. Often dyed in bright candy colours.
Jasper is present in all earthy shades, and shows specific spots. There are a couple hundred varieties!
Kyanite is green or blue, and is very shimmering.
Labradorite is grey to blue, and presents iridescent lines and a blue to green to gold reflection.
Lapis Lazuli is royal blue, and often shows golden pyrite inclusions.
Malachite is deep green, with lighter green to black stripes.
Moonstone is an iridescent white stone, sometimes with rainbow radiance. It also exists in peach, grey, and black.
Opalite is the glass imitation of moonstone.
Mother of pearl is more often than not white, because it comes from the interior of the shells that produce pearls. It is often sold dyed.
Obsidian is deep black, often mingled with black onyx.
Onyx is black, but sometimes green, grey, or blue.
Opal is another earthy stone, but is found mostly in white, yellow, pink, black, green, and brown.
June's birthstone if the pearl. It's also the 3rd anniversary symbol. To those born in June : you are lucky because almost every jewel at Mademoiselle M has some pearls in it! The pearl is also attributed to the goddess Venus as the symbol of innocence.
Imitation pearls are much less valuable: they are made by repeated dipping of a plastic bead into a coating made of glue ans ground sardine scales. But that's not all! The best true imitation pearls are Swarovski crystal pearls. The center of the "pearl" is a crystal, giving it a much more realistic weight, which is then coated with a massive and glossy material than won't rub off. Also, they are resistant to sun, scratches, perfumes, and sweat. And they are made in a lot of colours! Click here for a complete colour chart.
Peridot is grass green, and is the symbol for August.
Quartz exists in all colours, as it is the most common mineral on Earth. We like it most as clear, pink, smoky brown, and lemon yellow.
Rhodocrosite is a soft pink stone, with white inclusions.
Rhodonite is a dusty pink stone with black or brown matrix.
Rhyolite is green with brown or yellow spots.
Ruby is the red/pink variety of sapphire, thus making it a precious stone.
Sardonyx is a striped stone, often in black, white, orange.
Serpentine is lime green to forest green, often with darker spots.
Sodalite is denim blue, often mingled with lapis lazuli, but it's white spots differientate the two.
Sunstone is orange to brownish pink, and is very shimmery.
Tiger's Eye is brown with yellow striped reflections. It can also be found as red or black.
Tourmaline is pink, green, and black. It is often cut as a watermelon-like slice!
Turquoise is bright blue to aquatic green. It's black or brown matrix can be seen both as a defect and a plus.
Unakite is forest green with peachy inclusions.
Zirconia (cubic zirconium) is more often than not a synthetic stone, as is crystal, but it was created to replace diamond, so it is much more heavy and exudes more brilliance. There is also a natural zircon which is aquatic blue.