How Well Do You Know Your Jewelry?
The Different Types of Gold!
Just how well do you know your jewelry? You may think pretty well, especially if the pieces have been passed down to you. However, more times than not; this is not the case. When you pick out a shiny new accessory, we’re all sometimes guilty of not reading it’s label to determine what it’s made out of, or even go the extra mile to understand what the material means. A label of “gold” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an authentic gold piece. While there’s totally nothing wrong with that, it helps to know the difference between the main types of materials used today in your golden accessories. Read on to make yourself more versed on the topic.
Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold plating is actually a method, not so much a material. You see, a thin layer of gold gets deposited onto the surface of another metal. These metals are shiny and strong, and are usually copper or silver. With the use of special chemicals, the layer stays put and the process results in a super lustrous, luxurious looking accessory for a dramatically discounted price. Perfect for those on a budget, a gold plated accessory allows you access to the look of gold without paying for it!
Pronounced “vermay” this type of material is sterling silver that has been plated or lined with a thin layer of actual gold. The 14-karat gold that it’s plated with is a nice alternative for you if you want to save some money and don’t want to splurge on a high karat count. It’s easy to see why vermeil is a popular choice among jewelers and artisans during the design process. While it’s plated, it is more expensive than traditional gold plating because the gold used is thicker and a higher quality. Its mid-price point still helps you save oodles and gives you the desired shine and style you’re searching for!
Gold Filled Jewelry
Some of your jewelry may be gold filled. If this is the case, your accessory has a solid layer of usually 14 karats of gold, that make up at least 5% of your item’s total weight. Using a special process, the layer of gold is bonded to sterling silver or another strong and shiny metal. Long lasting and thicker than some gold-plated jewelry, gold filled accessories are a lovely alternative to pure gold items. They are higher in value, tend to last longer (10-30 years) before exposing the metal base through wear; and it’s a tad bit heavier than vermeil or gold-plated pieces. Gold filled accessories are also very affordable for those on a budget and they make a great gift to give if you have an accessory lover in your life but aren’t able to spend lots of money.
A real gold piece of jewelry is defined as 10 karats or more. When moving up on karats, such as 14 or 22 for that matter; the piece is still made of gold but its purity increases. So, the higher the karats, the higher the quality of gold you have on your hands. You will pay much more for read gold items because you’re getting the authentic thing. While it’s often hard to tell the difference between real gold and gold plating at first glance, real gold items don’t tarnish easily and are extremely strong and valuable.
It’s great to keep this in mind when ring shopping or picking up a new, lavish piece to add to your collection. If you’ve inherited gold items, in order to tell if they are truly gold, you can conduct a simple test at home. Just drag your gold item across an unglazed ceramic tile, applying a small amount of pressure (to be sure not to damage the item). If you can see a faint, gold mark left behind, you have a real piece of gold. If there is a black streak that shows up, you have a fake gold accessory.
While beautiful jewelry is designed at every price point and in many different materials, it never hurts to build up your background knowledge about what you choose to wear around your neck or finger. Consider some of the options above to get to know your pieces and to be more mindful when you’re out and about shopping for a new, golden accessory!