Musings of an Obsessed Jeweler and Former Mermaid

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vermeil is a base of sterling silver that has been gold plated. It is a more expensive option than gold plated, with better quality. Vermeil will not tarnish as fast as the plated, because it has a thicker layer of gold on it. The gold will still wear and eventually the silver will show through.
Gold plated has a thin layer of 10K gold electroplated onto a base metal surface. The base is usually zinc, nickel and copper. The gold layer is much thinner than gold filled wire or Vermeil, and tarnishes much faster than both. If shaped and hammered, it loses its gold color and the base metal will show itself. It is better not to wear your plated jewelry every day, because polishing and exposure to skin salts will wear the gold film off.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gold filled or sometimes called rolled gold wire, gold overlay or rolled gold plated. This is an affordable alternative to solid gold wire. Gold filled jewelry consists of several mechanically bonded layers. A non-precious base, usually jeweler's brass, is covered with the outside layer of at least 10 Karat gold, usually a 5% gold content. Manufacturers usually mark their gold filled jewelry with fractions that show the relative amount of gold in proportion to base metal in a given piece, so you know what you buy. It comes in many shapes, gauges, tempers and colors(white, yellow and rose. Can be hammered and shaped without issue, just do not scratch it. Gold filled if handled with care will last a lifetime without flaking or color change. It is usually safe for people who have sensitive skin.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Metals-Help! What does it all mean?!?

Have you ever gone online and saw the term Alpaca silver used? What the heck does that mean? Was silver carried on the back of an Alpaca? How about Sterling plated? What in blazing tar-nations does gold filled mean and how is it different from gold plated? It can be quite confusing! If you buy online these phases are being used all the time. People use these catch phrases to pull you in, when in fact there are no such words. It is embellished. Sterling plated sounds more expensive than silver plated! In the next posts I will be explaining different metals starting with gold. So you can become a savvy shopper!
Gold is, of course, the most expensive of all the metals I will write about in these posts. It does go a long way though. An ounce of gold, or the size of a sugar cube, can be hammered into 108 square feet of gold leaf or pulled into a thread fifty miles long.
Gold is measured in karats. That indicates its purity. So, 24 karat or fine gold is 100% gold, 22 karat is 91.7% gold and so on down to 10 karat which is 41.7% gold.
Gold is almost always stamped unless you have gold that is an antique, then it may not be stamped.