Friday, May 14, 2010

How Much Gold is in Your Gold Jewelry?

I'm getting ready to restock my chains and have been searching for some new suppliers. I only have a couple of chain styles available in gold vermeil, and haven't been interested in adding gold-plated or gold-filled pieces, but I do want to add more vermeil. Mr. LuckyGirl and I ended up having a huge discussion about the differences between plated, filled, and vermeil jewelry, and to settle things I did a bit of research. I thought I'd share my findings with you (while sparing you a recap of the bickering).
  • Gold plated jewelry has a fine layer of gold coated to the outside of a metal base (often nickel). The gold layer must have a minimum thickness of .5 microns.
  • Gold electroplated jewelry has a fine layer of gold coated to the outside of a metal base (often nickel). The gold layer must have a minimum thickness of .175 microns.
  • Gold filled jewelry is created by using heat and pressure to permanently fuse a layer of gold over a metal base. The minimum layer of gold must equal 1/20th of the total weight of the finished item. An item stamped with "1/20 14k GF" means 1/20th of its total weight is 14 karat gold.
  • Rolled gold plate is similar to gold filled, but the quantity of karat gold is less than 1/20th of the total weight of the finished metal piece. An item stamped with "1/40 14k R.G.P." means 1/40th of its total weight is 14 karat gold.
  • Heavy gold electroplated jewelry has a thick layer of gold coated to the outside of a metal base (often nickel). The gold layer must have a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns (100 millionths of an inch).
  • Gold vermeil jewelry has a thick gold layer over sterling silver with a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns (100 millionths of an inch).

I prefer vermeil: it's much more affordable than solid gold made completely with precious metals.

What about those karats and colors?

24 karat gold is solid gold, with no added metals. It's too soft for most jewelry, so the gold is mixed with other metals like nickel or zinc for hardness. The number of karats tells you what fraction of gold was used in creating the metal of your piece. For example, 14 karat gold is made of 14 parts of gold and 10 parts other metals. Copper is added to create rose gold, silver to create green gold, and nickel or palladium are added to create white gold. Much of the white gold being produced in the U.S. is also plated with a thin layer of rhodium to give a brighter white color.


Domartello said...

I gopstei much of your palavras.Eu also like gold, is really a Metalco nobre.Gostaria to read your words also on steel inoxidavel.Um big hug.

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Lenox Knits said...

That was a great post. Thanks for sharing. I've often wonderered the difference between the different types of chains but never bothered to research it.

Sharon said...

great post - there is far too much jargon to confuse customers but this really clears things up :)

Lorena said...

Mmmm this is interesting.
I had no clue....

imelda said...

never knew about this but now, thanks for the info

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Thanks for such an informative article.

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