Last updated on December 27, 2022
Applying jewellery finishes is a metalsmithing technique to give the same piece of jewellery a different appearance. This guide explains the most common jewellery finishes you will come across and help you decide which is the best for you.
What Are Jewellery Finishes?
Jewellery finish is a term describing the techniques of adding final touches to the outer surface of the metal. It includes different jewellery polishing techniques and chemical applications used to give the finished piece an ultimate look and feel.
There are many jewellery finishes, among which polished, satin, brushed, wire brushed, sandblasted, bead blasted, stone, hammered, and florentine finishes are the most popular. Each finish creates a unique look and shows off precious metals differently. Some of them highlight the radiance of the metal, and others add a texture, giving a unique design, meaning the choice of a particular jewellery finish is a matter of style and personal preference.
Types of Popular Jewellery Finishes
The polished jewellery finish is the most common and popular among consumers as this technique provides a shiny appearance to the metal and is known as a classic option for any type of jewellery. It is achieved by using progressively finer abrasives on the surface of the metal to remove irregularities and scratches. The final step to achieving a reflective shine is using finishing buffs with polishing compounds.
The polished finish is favoured for its mirror-like look. However, over time, this jewellery finish picks up knicks and scratches on its surface, which can easily be removed by repolishing.
The satin finish is the second most popular technique. It features a smooth surface, yet it lacks the highly reflective quality of the polished finish, making it a great choice for those looking for smoothness without high shine, much like a fogged-up mirror.
The satin jewellery finish is still somewhat reflective. It emits a gentle glow with a satiny look, hence the name. Due to its fine brushed lines, this technique has the advantage of hiding slight scratches in the metal caused by regular wear.
Brushed and Wire Brushed Finishes
The brushed finish gives the metal a non-reflective surface with a delicate shimmer and is quite similar to the satin finish in terms of shine but different in the fine shimmering texture. This finish is created with the texturing method by applying minuscule lines onto the surface of the jewellery piece using a brush made of wire, hence the name.
The wire brushed finish is similar to the brushed technique but with deeper and clearer brushstrokes to the texture.
Both brushed and wire brushed finishes are popular on men’s wedding bands due to their non-reflective surfaces and ability to hide scratches easily, making them a great choice for daily wear.
Sandblasted and Bead Blasted Finishes
The sandblasted finish features a non-reflective, grainy texture as if the jewellery has been rolled in sand. The matte finish is achieved either by a chemical process or by using abrasive materials to scratch the metal surface.
The bead blasted finish is similar to the sandblasted, but it has a more noticeable texture, making it feel slightly more grainy. To keep such finishes matte, expect to have your jeweller touch them up once a year.
The stone finish, also known as the stippled finish, has a matte surface that resembles the appearance of a stone. This look is achieved by tiny pins repeatedly hitting the metal surface to get an even texture.
The stone finish is the most durable of all matte finishes as it leaves a deeper impression on the metal surface, meaning it is the best at hiding scratches.
The hammered finish is a popular choice for textured finishes as it gives a unique appearance. The unusual texture is achieved by using a light hummer to pound each dimple on the surface of the jewellery, thus the name of the finish.
It is worth mentioning that there are different hammered finishes, such as classic, vertically and horizontally hammered, and all hammered finishes vary from jeweller to jeweller. Also, the hammered finish combines two finishes in one. First, the jewellery is hammered, then it is either polished to give a glossy look, or the matte finish is applied to make the surface non-reflective.
The Florentine finish is probably the fanciest style. It features delicate criss-cross patterns usually done by hand. This finish was created to add a touch of romance to a piece of jewellery. The contours and lines on the metal surface were meant to complement the brilliance of the centre diamond and reflect light back to the stone.
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