What is white bronze?
Q. What is white bronze and how is it used? –N.P.
A. White bronze is also called tri-alloy or tri-metal. It is an alloy of copper, tin and zinc. It is used as a replacement for nickel in the manufacturing of jewelry and items that require a barrier layer between a base metal and a gold layer. It is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of people are allergic to nickel when in contact with the skin, hence the need to replace nickel in jewelry and other items that might come in contact with skin.
The white bronze alloys that contain between 40 to 60 percent tin are, as the name implies, white in color, tarnish-resistant and are moderately hard. Because of the concerns about nickel in the environment, this material will no doubt see greater use in the future.
There is an excellent article available on PF Online titled “White Bronze, Copper-Tin-Zinc Tri-Metal: Expanding Applications and New Developments in a Changing Landscape,” (short.pfonline.com/NASF13June) giving a very complete discussion of the latest developments with white bronze.
Our expert, Art Kushner, says yes, you can color stainless steel, but it is not a process that is typically performed in a plating shop. Read more about his answer.
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