Today we’re going to talk metal. Jewelry is an investment and the materials used often are one of the biggest determining factors in the end price. With so many options out there and many jewelers offering a variety of choices, myself included, it can definitely get overwhelming. But, I’m going to break it down for you, between silver, golds and other plated and filled options so you can make the best decision for your lifestyle and budget.
Sterling silver is a very commonly used material in the jewelry world because of it’s color and price point, no matter how many new metals appear on the market, silver will always remain a favorite. Sterling silver is not pure silver, instead it is alloyed with copper. The kind I use here at Lacee Alexandra is .925 silver, this means that is at least 92.5 percent silver. Silver in it’s pure state is far too soft a material so it must be mixed with another material to make it stronger and more durable for wear.
We all love gold, it has long been one of the most sought after and treasured materials all throughout history. Have you ever been to a museum and seen all the cases of gold treasures? It’s easy to see why gold is so loved, it doesn’t tarnish easily its luster and color are beautiful. Gold’s malleability also makes it one of the easiest metal to work with, but pure gold, like silver is too soft for most jewelry and distort easily, especially in the form of rings. This is why you often see jewelers using the term “karat” to describe the percentage of pure gold in the alloy. The higher the karat, the higher the percentage of gold. I work with 18k, 14k and 10k gold here at Lacee Alexandra.
Gold vermeil is a great option for a fun piece that you don’t plan to wear every single day, but want the the look of gold without the higher investment. Gold vermeil is a plating of heavy gold, of at least 100 micro inches over sterling silver. Gold vermeil jewelry is much more durable than regular gold-plated jewelry, but not suitable for everyday wear. Eventually the top plating will wear off exposing the silver underneath. The rate at which this wears depends on the person wearing it, how rough they are with their jewelry, as well as their own chemical makeup, as some people tarnish jewelry faster than others.
As most of my pieces are individually cast using ancient techniques, I do not work with a lot of gold fill jewelry. I do however, use gold fill chains on my gold vermeil components. In gold filled jewelry the gold is mechanically bonded to the base metal, making it far more durable than any plated pieces. This makes it an election option for a chain, with care gold fill chains can last years.
Depending on the type of piece you are getting and the lifestyle you live will determine what metal choice is right for you. With any ceremonial wedding pieces I would recommend solid gold, 14k or 18k preferably. If you are wanting something precious at more of an entry price point, such as a dainty ring you plan to wear frequently or birthstone earrings 10k gold is a great option. Sterling silver and gold vermeil are the perfect choice for a costume or art style jewelry, something you don't plan to wear every single day for hours on end. Sterling silver with care, will last longer than gold vermeil but will scratch and dull quite a bit overtime. Gold vermeil is an excellent option if you love gold and are wanting a bolder piece such as a statement necklace or drop earrings and don’t have the budget for something solid gold. I personally wear a combination of all metals, I think each type serves their own purpose and the choice is really up to you.
With all that being said if you are still unsure and have any questions about a specific piece and/or what metal is right for you please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am available via email firstname.lastname@example.org and am happy to help guide you towards the piece that will best fit your lifestyle and budget so you can treasure it for years to come.