Here are some of my most frequently asked questions from my customers.
I've also thrown in a few questions that I think are important to know.
What metals do you use?
The metals I feature in my designs include 14 Karat Gold-Filled, Sterling Silver, Rose Gold-Filled and in some instances Copper. I use these metals because they provide the highest quality at the most affordable price.
Gold Filled vs. Gold Plate?
14K Gold-filled is a durable gold product affording the look of solid gold at a fraction of the cost. It is made by bonding a layer of 14K Gold to a base metal, usually brass, through heat and pressure. (Think of the base metal as a sponge and the layer of gold filling in the holes when heated.) It is sturdier than gold plate — which has an ultra-thin coating and can turn colors and eventually chip off — or vermeil, which can rub off through normal wear.
14/20 Gold-Filled materials are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and must contain 1/20th of 14K Gold.
Rose Gold-Filled is the same as above, with the addition of the alloy copper to give it the pink tone.
What is Sterling Silver and what does .925 mean?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.
To make silver durable enough for use in jewelry, pure silver, which has a .999 fineness (99.9%), is often alloyed with small quantities of copper (7.5%). The copper is added to strengthen the silver and the resulting product is .925 sterling silver (92.5%).
Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver include: sterling, sterling silver, ster, and .925.
Sterling Silver vs. Silver Plated?
Sterling silver items contain a minimum of 92.5% pure silver. Silver-plated items are made of a lesser quality metal and then covered with a thin layer of silver, making them less valuable than objects made of sterling silver. Sterling silver will last for a long time if cared for properly.
How do I clean Sterling Silver?
The best way to keep your silver jewelry clean is by wearing it often. However, humidity and storing the silver (in the open) can tarnish the piece, also known as oxidation, which will give the silver a darkish black color. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible.
There are several methods to clean your tarnished silver. A popular method is to use a liquid silver cleaner (which smells like rotten eggs) that you can purchase at a jewelry store or a Walmart or Target. Put the piece of silver in the little tray, swish it around, and the original beautiful silver shine is restored.
You can also purchase a polishing cloth at Michaels, JoAnne and wherever fine jewelry is sold.
What is an Alloy?
An alloy is a metal made by combining two or more metals to give it greater strength. Pure gold, like 24K gold, is too soft to be used in jewelry, so it must be combined with another metal to give it strength.
The most common metals alloyed with gold are silver, copper, and zinc to strengthen the gold. Copper turns the alloy pink and creates rose gold. Silver or palladium added to gold creates white gold. The percent of gold used in the alloy determines the karat value.
Is Copper okay for me?
The healing properties of copper are an enzymatic chemical reaction positively involving the body’s own chemistry. For this to happen, copper must come into contact with the body’s skin oils and acids, so coated copper will not work. When copper is in direct contact with the skin, the micro-nutrient properties of copper enter the bloodstream through the skin as a copper salt, resulting from a mix of body oils and acids, and the chelated copper picked up from the copper source.
It is very important to use pure copper, which is defined as 99.9% copper with trace elements of tin and zinc, which are also beneficial metals.
What are the Benefits of Copper?
People who are deficient in copper may benefit from wearing copper jewelry, since it can be absorbed through the skin. Jewelry is a good way of taking in the small amount of the mineral needed. The healing properties of copper, in the form of bracelets, necklaces, rings, or earrings, can allow a minimal amount of the mineral into the body without overwhelming it. Some wearers of copper jewelry find it relieves the symptoms of arthritis and circulation problems.