Christofle Silver and metals
Noble or not, metal has been at the heart of the Maison Christofle's business since its foundation.
Gold, the definition of noble metal, is almost unalterable. Relatively soft, it is almost never used pure. The alloy with other metals gives it the necessary resistance and the desired color.
Maison Christofle uses it for its goldsmithery, its jewelry and the decoration of some porcelain and crystal models.
For jewelry, the alloy used is 75% gold mixed with copper and silver, called 750 thousandths (18 carats). The higher the proportion of copper, the more pronounced the pink tint of the gold. White gold, on the other hand, is an alloy of gold and silver. To avoid tarnishing, Christofle's white gold is rhodium-plated.
Malleable, ductile, shiny, silver is the goldsmith's favorite noble metal. Maison Christofle uses it to produce usual and decorative items as well as jewelry.
As gold, silver is too soft to be used pure. For solid silver, Maison Christofle uses an alloy with a minimum of 93% silver and copper, which guarantees the title of 925 thousandths. However, to silver items, silver is used 99.9% pure.
Steel. This alloy of grey iron and carbon is used for tools. Easily sharpened, it was once used for all cutlery blades. It's only after the Second World War that stainless steel became widespread.
Adding chromium (10%) and nickel (18%) to the alloy makes this new steel less susceptible to corrosion. Today, all blades are made of stainless steel.
Maison Christofle offers collections of cutlery and tableware in steel called 18/10 steel or 304 stainless steel. Today the blades are made of 13/0 steel, an alloy with 13% chromium, nickel free.
These metals are used most of the time in the creation of the various alloys that the goldsmith uses. Since its creation, Maison Christofle has demonstrated that the brilliance of its know-how is only matched by the brilliance of the metals that it never ceases to shape.
Tin, grey and soft, is mainly used as an alloy for weldings and for some high-relief elements of silver items.
This metal, combined with copper and antimony, was used by Maison Christofle for two historical collections: Gallia (1898-1974) and Etains de Carville (1926-1937).
The copper is red, ductile and malleable. It is used for certain moldings.
Its high electrical conductivity made it the favourite metal for the massive electroplating the House carried out until the Second World War.
Brass, sometimes called yellow copper, is an alloy of yellow copper and zinc alloy.
It is widely used for flat and hollow items which will then be silvered. It gets deformed, becomes silvered and gilds easily.
Bronze, mixing copper and tin in varying proportions, is a flowing alloy. It is used for high relief elements such as feet, buttons, items handles or sculptures. Its finish is patinated, silvered or goldened.
Nickel silver is a white copper, zinc and nickel alloy, more resistant than brass. It is mainly used for silver metal cutlery. Maison Christofle used to employ it for its hotel collections under the name of White Metal.