Committed to sustainable innovation, Legor transforms metals into best-in-class alloys, powders and plating solutions to shape your ideas into fascinating creations.
Interview with Fabio Di Falco, Marketing and Customer Support Manager at Legor.
Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.
Fabio Di Falco: Our history is synonymous with Transformation. For over 40 years, we have been transforming metals into alloys, powders and plating solutions of excellence for the production of jewellery and fashion accessories, guaranteeing our customers reliability, safety and high performance. It was the spring of 1979 when a tireless middle school teacher, then forty years old, decided to help a friend in difficulty, supporting him in the craft production of master alloys for the goldsmith sector, and, above all, in sales and the analysis of market needs. The pioneering entrepreneurial work that resulted from this came at just the right moment for goldsmith industry in Vicenza, and, driven by the desire to help, gave rise to a success story enshrined in genuine values and authentic principles.
The middle school teacher at the time was Gianni Poliero, today Honorary President of Legor Group.
Responsibility, as a global concern for our planet, is what guides Legor, every day, in its choices: from the gradual reduction in waste and emissions -by measuring its carbon footprint –to using recycled and certified raw materials, caring about the well-being of its employees, as well as taking action to support the local community and environmental, social and sports associations in the local area and beyond. In 2023, Legor is proud to announce its change in status to a Benefit Company, by including a public and official commitment to having a positive impact on society and the biosphere, in addition to the purpose of pursuing profit.
E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
F.D.F: Legor manufactures high quality alloys, plating solutions and powders for the production of jewellery and fashion accessories and it is today among the few companies able to certify that its products are made exclusively with precious metals (Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium) from 100% recycled sources, with a fully documented Chain of Custody. In addition, Legor is now able to guarantee that certain non-precious metals (Silicon, Tin, Indium, Cobalt, Gallium, Germanium and Copper) come 100% from recycled sources for products pertaining to the UNI EN ISO 14021:2021 certification obtained in October 2022.
What is more, progress, innovation and sustainability meld to give life to the Legor 3D Metal Hub: an innovative centre whose scope is to experiment and produce jewellery and fashion accessories starting from metal powders, and employing revolutionary Binder Jet technology. Through collaborations with leading players in the sector and thanks also to a partnership deal with HP, Legor is the first company to introduce this new technology, and is working to make the advantages of additive manufacturing available for developing new solutions in the jewellery and fashion accessories industry, pairing flexibility and creativity with productivity optimization.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
F.D.F: At Legor, we prefer to talk about processes and services offered rather than just products. While the quality of our product is certainly vital – it must ensure high mechanical and aesthetic performance, comply with industry regulations, and prioritize the well-being of workers involved in production as well as the end consumer –, what matters even more is the company’s level of expertise and its ability to address any issues during the application and processing of the products we offer. This is made possible by the proximity service we provide to our customers, assisting them in every stage of the process.
Another crucial concept associated with our products is the capacity to innovate and customize the product to meet the specific needs of each customer, as well as the demands of the market.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
F.D.F: Master alloys for gold, silver alloys, Platinoid alloys, precious raw materials, alloys for the fashion industry, alloys for brazing and soldering, semifinished products and raw materials.
Master alloys offer a combination of mechanical, aesthetic, and practical properties that make them essential in the creation of high-quality and valuable jewellery.
Rhodium, Palladium, Gold, Ruthenium and Silver based plating solutions; passivation and coating; pre-treatments.
Plating solutions are essential for decorating jewellery and fashion accessories because they offer benefits such as aesthetic variety, corrosion protection, customization, adaptability to different materials, response to design trends, and the creation of special effects. These thin coatings of precious and non-precious metals enhance the appearance, durability, and value of pieces, allowing designers to create unique and appealing items at a reasonable cost.
Metallic powders for additive manufacturing
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
F.D.F: In terms of sustainability, the metals sector and its applications in the Fashion & Luxury industry are rapidly adapting through virtuous approaches and models of responsibility, particularly concerning the use of recycled precious and non-precious metals in their products. The entire process must be sustainable, circular, and, most importantly, certified. To ensure ethical and sustainable production, Legor has chosen to exclusively use 100% recycled precious metals for its products and is able to declare this thanks to certifications issued by third parties. Legor is at the forefront when it comes to using precious metals from various recycling sources. Primarily, these are industrial processing scraps, jewellery/silversmithing, electronics, but they also come from the recovery of electroplating solutions or divestment.
The precious metals we use can come from different countries, mainly Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia, depending on availability and provided that traceability is guaranteed as stated within the Code of Practices. Thanks to the CoC certification, which stands for Chain of Custody, Legor is able to ensure the integrity of the production chain and document every single step. The CoC standard defines the requirements for establishing the chain of custody of precious metals, ensuring that all stages, from processing to commercialization, take place responsibly. Every entity adhering to CoC applies the principles and requirements of the standard, which are regularly verified by independent audit companies accredited by the RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council). Every step of the chain is tracked through the Transfer Document, and thanks to the CoC certification, Legor can trace every single step of precious metals within the production chain.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
F.D.F: The trend of tomorrow is linked to responsible supply. Historically, the world of precious metals has never been considered ethical, as the extraction activity has a significant environmental impact, and deposits are located in areas of the world where labor conditions are not in line with human rights. The future, therefore, relies on a global supply chain that is increasingly responsible and certified. There is still much room for improvement, but the path is set for us.
But that’s not all. Through the innovative 3D Metal Hub, Legor offers its customers the opportunity to experiment with and produce jewellery and fashion accessories using metal powders, introducing the market to the new and revolutionary Binder Jet 3D Metal Printing technology, partnering with HP for their printers. This technology represents an alternative method to traditional casting, which requires the combustion of waxes or resins and the use of gypsum (calcium sulfate) as a casting material, containing free respirable silica. This is our way of promoting the sustainability of production processes even further. In the near future, we aim to print precious metals as well, demonstrating that innovation, along with responsibility, is one of the foundational pillars of our group.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
F.D.F: About master alloys these are the latest launches:
Andromeda: 950‰ Platinum alloys in ready-to-use drops for perfect, bright white jewellery
Easier to weigh and use
+25% load volume for increased productivity
20% reduction in casting time
Less alloy pollution after casting
High performance in terms of hardness and colour
With precious metals from 100% recycled sources
Antares: the new family of red alloys for timeless jewellery of refined elegance
Created using precious metals from 100% recycled sources
Intense lustrous red colour
Enhanced durability, meaning less prone to breaking
Improved production process ensures a more stable end product
Suitable for investment casting (without stones) and mechanical working processes
Polaris: the new and shiny ready to use silver family
Made with precious metal coming from 100% recycled sources
Higher toughness to prevent cracking
Stable and effective deoxidation for any need
Easy to use since the first cast
About plating solutions
Galvanic coating serves a dual purpose for fashion accessories: it enhances their aesthetic appeal (considering that the most commonly used materials in this industry are non-precious metals like brass and zinc), but more importantly, it improves their durability and resistance to corrosion over time.
To achieve this, it is necessary to apply a series of metallic depositions to the accessories, which can be grouped into two types of processes: with nickel or without (nickel-free). Historically, there has been widespread use of nickel-based processes, but in recent years, the use of this metal has steadily decreased due to the introduction of European regulations (such as UNI-EN 1811 and EN 16128) that limit the quantity of nickel that can be applied to articles. Legor’s strong commitment to sustainable solutions has led them not only to develop processes that ensure compliance with these limits (nickel-safe) but also to create galvanic solutions and entire galvanic cycles that are completely nickel-free. All of this while maintaining the aesthetic and technical characteristics required by current quality standards.
This is because the Vicenza-based company, in addition to complying with nickel release regulations, aims to produce products that are environmentally friendly and promote the health of the galvanic operators directly involved in the manufacturing of accessories.
Furthermore, even when it comes to ensuring high performance in terms of tarnish resistance (oxidation) and abrasion resistance, fashion accessories must adhere to specific standards governed by precise regulations. Examples of these standards include resistance to synthetic sweat (NF S 80-772), humid heat (UNI EN ISO 4611), and the Turbula abrasion test (ISO 23160), which require sequences of galvanic coatings that contain layers of precious metal. To meet these standards, it is possible to use thick deposits of precious metal or resort to varnishing while keeping the thickness of precious metal lower. In both cases, Legor has developed plating cycles with reduced amounts of precious metal, optimized to maintain the performance of the produced items and pass the required tests. An example? Galvanic cycles have been created that achieved a 30% reduction in precious metal thickness.
Finally, with a focus on the durability and corrosion resistance of accessories, it is necessary to verify that the various metallic depositions adhere correctly to each other and to the base metal of the object. The assessment of proper coating adhesion is determined by the cross-cut adhesion test, regulated by various standards such as ISO 2819:2017 and ISO 27874:2008, which provides a method for evaluating the resistance of galvanic deposits to detachment. Thanks to continuous study and analysis, Legor’s R&D team is now capable of providing customized galvanic cycles that ensure maximum adhesion and, consequently, the longevity of the created accessories.
Other specific products:
FLASHGOLD-EVO: The new nickel-free flash gold process with cyanide-free binding metals
Improved uniformity in color deposition over a wider current density range
Easy-to-use also with barrel application system
Total absence of cyanides in the binding metals
Constant volume of the bath
24-karat color more similar to pure gold color
Three times more concentrated make-up
Suitable for frame and barrel applications
VEGA: White and nickel free bronzing for your fashion accessories
Ready to use
Easy to use
Process reliability for a quality white color without spots
Continuity guarantee (5 million Amin)
1000 kg guaranteed by the process
Quality white color
High deposit rate
Compliant with regulations on harmful chemicals
JETBLACK: The ruthenium-based solution for titanium grey to extra black jewellery
Color range from titanium grey to extra black color
Excellent color stability
Made with Ruthenium coming from 100% recycled sources
Easy to use
E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?
F.D.F: After a slight dip in the second quarter, we expect to see a positive trend for the second half of the year, in line with the beginning of the year when the gold and silver jewellery sector exhibited excellent growth rates compared to the previous year.
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