What is vermeil? How is it different from gold-plated or gold-filled jewellery?
Vermeil (pronounced "ver-MAY") is sterling silver that has been heavily plated with gold - usually 22K or 24K gold. The thickness of the gold layer is much greater than in ordinary plating. The difference between vermeil and gold-plated or gold-filled is the thickness of the gold, the number of karats of the gold and the base metals that are used.
Gold-filled (also sometimes called rolled gold) components are made of a non-precious base metal - usually copper or brass - covered by sheets of gold using a mechanical bonding process. The thick gold covering results in gold content of about 5% of the total weight of the item. Gold-filled items are usually made with 14K gold, and are hard wearing.
Gold-plated refers to relatively inexpensive base metal, such as steel or brass, that is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution with a piece of solid gold. An electric current is applied, causing a thin layer of gold to be deposited on the base metal. The plating is quite thin and can wear off.
Gold purity - Karats
The karat is a measure of how much gold is in an alloy. A measure of 1 karat means there is 1 part of pure gold and 23 parts of metal alloy.
24K gold is 100% gold. 18K is 75% gold. 14K is 58% gold.
What is sterling silver? How is it different from fine silver and silver-plated jewellery?
Sterling silver is an alloy of pure silver and another metal - usually copper. The standard proportions are 92.5% silver to 7.5% alloy. Sterling silver items are usually stamped "925" to represent this standard. Sterling silver is stronger than pure silver, which is very soft, but the alloy makes it more prone to tarnishing.
Fine silver is approximately 99.5% silver, or almost pure silver. It is used in certain beads, and is less likely to tarnish than sterling silver or silver-plate.
Silver-plated refers to relatively inexpensive base metal, such as steel or brass, that is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution with a piece of solid silver. An electric current is applied, causing a thin layer of silver to be deposited on the base metal. The plating is quite thin and can wear off. "Premium silver-plated" items have a thicker layer of silver.
Caring for your jewellery
Congratulations on your purchase of RubyCat jewellery. Your jewellery has been carefully designed and created to provide many years of enjoyment.
Fine jewellery is delicate, and should be treated with care to ensure that it remains beautiful for many years. Here are some tips to help you care for your jewellery.
As your mother may have told you, your jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. This will avoid accidental damage from entanglement with clothing or reaction with chemicals, such as makeup, moisturizer, hairspray or perfume. Chemical reactions can cause discolouration, cracking, loss of sheen or damage to finishes of metals, pearls and gemstones.
Do not wear your jewellery to bed or during activities that may cause loss or damage, such as sports, gardening or housework.
Avoid getting your jewellery wet. You should always remove your jewellery before bathing, swimming or washing dishes.
Silver will darken (tarnish) over time. Gold-fill, vermeil and gold-plated may also change colour over time. Storing your jewellery in airtight containers or small ziplock bags will help preserve the original colour of your jewellery. You can also obtain anti-tarnish paper to put in the container/ziplock with your jewellery.
Polishing cloths can be used to gently clean and polish your jewellery from time to time.