Can you assure me that your plated components will not tarnish?

No, we can't offer that assurance, but if you experience problems with surface tarnish, it will only be on the silver and copper plated parts and can be corrected. By their nature both gold and rhodium will not tarnish under most ordinary conditions.

TierraCast uses fine silver on its plated parts. The composition of the silver plate provides the warm white color that is a good match with other silver components. Just like its cousin sterling silver, fine silver will tarnish during common use and will readily do so if subjected to harsh conditions, like water in a high sulfur hot springs. Tarnish is thin layer of oxidized metal on the surface and does not penetrate the item. On sterling silver this layer is usually grey to bluish black in color; on fine silver the color is a lighter tan color; both can be removed by various means.

Unlike sterling silver, the fine silver plated components should not be polished on a motorized wheel to remove the surface tarnish, but handled more gently. Both sterling and silver plate can be brightened by softly rubbing with a jeweler's polishing cloth. Abrasive silver paste polishes should not be used.

The recessed black areas on our silver plated parts are water resistant and the parts may also benefit from a brief soak in a warm, dilute cleaning solution. There are several pre-formulated types available from jewelry and craft supply outlets, but we have found a dip in a mild Simple Green solution (followed by a rub with a soft cotton cloth) will often remove tarnish readily. If possible, always test the solution on either a small spot of your assembled piece or by soaking one part before cleaning a larger quantity.

The tarnish on copper parts presents somewhat different issues. Our parts are plated with pure copper so that their final appearance closely matches the natural tarnish of other solid copper components. As copper readily oxidizes toward a deep brown color, the question is usually whether to allow the item to "go its natural course" or to periodically brighten the highlighted surfaces. Only hand rubbing with a soft jeweler's polishing cloth should be used on copper plated parts, as cleaning solutions may also brighten the recessed "antiqued" areas and ruin the overall appearance of the part.

TierraCast does not use "anti tarnish" coatings on its parts, as we have found these to be of dubious effectiveness. We do not use them in our manufacturing process so we can be sure that our cast components accept "antiquing" in a uniform manner. Nor do we apply them as a final coating, as we have found that they often age poorly and if their protective coating is scratched in use, the surface of part is hard to bring back to a uniform appearance.

However, we do have a few customers who have reported good results using Krylon spray to protect silver plated parts. This product is available in spray cans from art supply and craft stores. It forms a clear protective coating on the parts, greatly reducing their exposure to the air. If you think this approach might work for you, we suggest that you first test the process with a few small parts of various sizes and type of surface detail. If at all possible, suspend the items from a fine wire and spray evenly on all surfaces and allow to dry well before using.

Help? I can't find any pricing for your parts on the website.

There are no prices available on the "public" portion of our website. Pricing is only available behind the scenes to our registered customers. If you are a bead store, distributor or jewelry manufacturer and are interested in handling our product, please complete and submit the New Client Application. An account representative will contact you to discuss your needs.

I like the Nisshu and Maldive Larin coin drops. Do you have any information on the coins themselves?

Both of these parts are copies of actual antique coins that were chosen for their interesting appearance, not for any special significance.

The Larin is actually a 1/4 Larin denomination coin from the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean and was minted in the years just before 1900 AD under the rule of Ibrahim Nur Al-Din Iskandar. The population of the Maldives was converted to Islam in 1153 AD, hence the inscriptions on the coin are in Arabic.

The Nisshu coin, originally minted in an alloy of 70.2% silver and 298% gold, was used in Japan around the Meiji period of the mid 1800s. Its full name is Tempo Nishu Kin. These coins were some of the few rectangular coins to be issued in history.

Why is TierraCast so aggressive about copyright?

We put considerable effort into developing new designs, creating original masters of those designs and producing a high quality final product. Copyright law allows us to protect specific designs from being "knocked off" by competitors who gain from our hard work. We recognize that illegal copies of our parts are sometimes sold innocently; without knowledge that they are protected by copyright. Our initial approach to those handling illegal copies is always friendly and informative and usually brings immediate results. Unfortunately, we have also encountered situations over the years were we must involve attorneys. In the worst of those cases we have had to go to federal court to protect our rights.

We also firmly believe that our aggressive stance helps our customers fight unfair competition from companies who are offering parts that look like TierraCast designs, but are usually of inferior quality and questionable metal content.

Hello, Can you tell me if your pewter items are lead free?

Yes, TierraCast cast pewter products are lead free. You can find extensive information about lead content in jewelry, including test results perform on our products, in the Safety Compliance portion of our website.

What glue do you recommend for your parts that accept "glue ins"?

We found that G-S Hypo Cement, available in a small 1/3 oz tube and a needle point tip is easy to use and provides good long term adhesion to glue in flat back crystals. You can find it sold at many bead and craft stores or you can find it at the Tools GS web site.

To glue in Bails and End Caps for glass and other large hole beads, we recommend a two part epoxy. It takes a bit more time to mix and apply, but the epoxy provides the best long lasting solution in this application.

How can I be sure some other parts I purchased do not contain lead? Is there a simple test?

There are simple tests for lead available, though you should approach the whole issue with a bit of care. If you suspect that you have purchased items that contain lead (especially if you plan to resell them), one of the best initial steps is to ask the supplier to certify the composition of the product. In a product sales cycle, all parts of the supply chain are responsible for notice of lead content in jewelry components; especially those marketed to children.

We have a section on Lead Testing available that will give you details of the three most common approaches, swab testing, XRF Analysis and ICPMS. These tests range from those able to done in your home for $4 each, to those requiring extremely sophisticated laboratory equipment and may cost over $250 for each test performed.

While this information should answer most questions about the testing procedures themselves, you should first ask yourself, "Why (and for whom) do I want to test the item?" If you have questions about the possible lead content of a single personal item you don't plan to sell, using the basic swab test is a good fit, but if your question about lead testing comes in response to a need to comply with the recent California (and soon to be effect Federal standards), you’ll find that the swab tests are not acceptable.

I have some Briolette Bails. Is it OK to bend them?

These bails were designed to be "press fit" into the holes in the sides of Swarovski ® #6012 crystal components. Bending the sides in so that the part fits snugly into the side of the crystal should be no problem, but the parts were not designed to be repeatedly flexed open and closed. You should not plan to use the same bail in on several parts in succession.