2015 - Considerations for Copper Additions to Silver and Gold Alloys during Alloy Development

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2015 - Considerations for Copper Additions to Silver and Gold Alloys during Alloy Development

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Copper is an element commonly mixed into silver and gold alloys used for jewelry items. In many such alloy systems, its presence is benign with respect to interaction with human skin. However, there are some silver and gold alloy systems alloyed with copper where the copper will leach from a jewelry item and react with human skin. The reaction product has been a darkened discoloration of the skin where the jewelry item contacted the body. This paper will present metallurgical findings of investigations of silver and gold alloy systems that caused this issue; discussions describing primary reasons for the occurrence of this reaction; conclusions recounting a root cause analysis that facilitated remediation of the issue through science-based alloy development; and the adaptation and application of EN1811 as a screening tool to mitigate the skin discoloration issue in alternate silver and gold alloy systems.

Author: Dr. Joel Flumerfelt

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