Overused and Never Explained
sterling silver | gold plate | gold fill | gold tone
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is fine silver mixed with another harder metal to make it more durable and not tarnish as quickly. Sterling silver is almost always stamped with the word ‘sterling’ or with the numbers ‘925’. This signifies that the silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another, harder, tarnish resistant metal. While fine silver (99% pure silver) is more valuable at a pawn shop, when buying handmade fine jewelry, sterling silver is a more durable choice that is designed to shine for much longer.
What is gold plated?
Gold pated jewelry will not be gold plated for long. Common wear and tear (especially exposure to water) causes plating to flake off and leave a the base metal underneath exposed (usually nickel) which can agitate the skin of those with metal allergies. Gold fill is a much cheaper alternative to solid gold but is just as durable and very tarnish resistant.
Gold Tone / Color : gold
These are descriptions usually reserved for cheap costume jewelry. However, you could even see verbiage like this on high end designer jewelry descriptions. What does it mean? It means there is likely no gold at all in the jewelry. Same goes for silver. So if you’re ordering a ring, it will definitely turn your finger green so stock up on clear nail polish.
As a jewelry designer, I get questions every day about everything from personal style to metal properties. I have been a goldsmith for 7 years and have studied and worked under some very accomplished and diverse metalworkers, gemologists, and metallurgists. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about Clutch Jewelry or any other jewelry. Thank you for reading and I look forward to your questions and feedback.