Base metal is a common and inexpensive metal, as opposed to a precious metals such as gold, gold fill, or sterling silver. Examples of base metals include iron, steel, copper, brass, nickel, lead and zinc; however, most base metal items at Country Beads are lead- and nickel-free. The outer appearance of base metal items varies greatly, and this is because the inexpensive metal is plated with some other metal to give it the desired finish. Common finishes are gold, silver, copper, brass, and gunmetal.
It is important to know that there is no standardization of the amount of gold or silver plated onto base metals, and that the finish can wear off or tarnish. Discoloration of base metal products can be reduced by avoiding wearing the items in water, contact with skin when sweating and storing the item in a dry place.
Most base metal items are available in a variety of finishes, at a good price point and are useful for people as an economical option who have no metal sensitivities.
Base metal tolerance is completely individual and can vary greatly depending on a person’s own chemical makeup. Should you find you are having a reaction, we recommend trying other metals such as stainless steel, titanium, or precious metal (such as sterling silver or gold fill).« Back to Glossary Index