To create our jewelry, we use 14k gold filled, sterling silver, and plated materials. Each will be described below for better understanding of your jewelry.
WHAT IS GOLD FILLED? IS IT THE SAME AS GOLD PLATING?
Gold plating is a thin layer of gold electrically attached to base metal, such as brass and copper. The weight of gold accounts for only 0.05% of the jewelry’s total weight. Gold plating is inexpensive, but it wears off relatively quickly and does not withstand repeated wear and water well.
Gold filled is made by heat-bonding a layer of 14k gold on base metal. The amount of gold should be 5% of the total weight of the jewelry for it to qualify as gold filled (you should see an inscription like "1/20" and "GF" on gold filled jewelry). Thus, gold filled contains 100 times more gold than gold plating.
WILL GOLD FILLED TARNISH OR CAUSE SKIN TO TURN GREEN?
When gold plating rubs off, base metals like copper and brass are exposed. Exposed base metals may cause some people's skin to turn green. Tarnished plated jewelry may show a mixture of black and dull gold colors.
Gold filled will not rub off and tarnish like gold plating. However, the gold color can mature into a deep gold color. This is because of the metal mixed into pure 24k gold. Because 24k gold is too soft to make jewelry, another metal is mixed in to pure gold to give it strength. The purity of the gold is indicated by karats, like 24k (pure), 22k, 18k, 14k, 10k, etc. 14k is the standard karat for gold filled in the US market. Because 14k gold includes other metals, this will cause its color to darken over time. But this oxidization is a natural process of any metal (except for pure gold and stainless steel), and is different from the rusting of gold plating.
The vast majority of people do not experience allergic reactions, such as green skins, to 14k gold, but a small percentage of people do because of the other metals contained in 14k gold. Those people will have a problem with both 14k gold filled or 14k gold plating (however, probably more so with gold plating as its gold layer wears off quickly, and the base metal is exposed). The only solution for them is to choose a higher karat (i.e., lower percentage of other metal in gold).
14k gold filled is much more affordable than solid 14k gold, and is the next best thing to solid gold. It is not as robust as solid gold, but with proper case, gold filled can last a lifetime.
HOW DO I CLEAN GOLD FILLED JEWELRY?
NEVER use a polishing cloth or jewelry cleaning solution made for sterling silver because it will damage the gold layer and could expose the base metal. Clean jewelry with mild soap and gently dry with a soft cloth. You can also use a cleaning cloth specifically made for gold filled.
Gold filled can take more abuse than gold plating, but it is not as robust as solid gold. We recommend that you not wear gold filled when swimming, bathing, or taking a shower because chemicals in the pool water and in beauty products can damage the gold layer over time. Also, avoid wearing it day and night - just like clothes, wearing the same thing 24/7 will shorten its life.
HOW DO I CARE FOR PLATED ITEMS?
The same jewelry care tips apply for plated items, except that plated items require more gentle care. You are probably wondering how our plated charms may hold up. We use plated charms in lieu of sterling silver when producing certain designs with sterling makes the product cost prohibitive. However, we are fully aware of the limitations of plating, and mainly use rhodium plating. Rhodium is a family of platinum, and is highly tarnish resistant.
We also use gold plating. Because gold plating is delicate, we coat all gold plated charms with a clear coating. Considering that we offer mother's jewelry, we chose food safe coating in the event that little ones accidentally put mommy's jewelry in their mouth. The coating is thick and long lasting. However, because our clear coating dissolves when exposed to alcohol, please avoid alcohol, and allow cosmetics, perfumes, and hair sprays to dry completely BEFORE wearing them.
WHAT IS STERLING SILVER?
Sterling silver is precious metal consisting of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metal. Pure silver is too soft to make jewelry, therefore other metal (typically copper) is mixed in to strengthen the silver. Jewelry made of only sterling silver (vs. silver plating over another metal) will last a lifetime.
Sterling silver will tarnish over time because of the copper it contains. If your sterling jewelry does not tarnish, it is either fake or has received some type of anti-tarnishing treatment, such as rhodium plating over sterling. The beauty of sterling jewelry is that you can polish it over and over to bring back its shininess. You can polish it with a polishing cloth or simply dip it into a chemical cleaning solution. To delay the process of tarnishing, we recommend that sterling jewelry be kept in an air-tight bag when not worn.
Some of our jewelry uses more than one type of material (e.g., plated charms on a sterling chain). Please refer to the item description of your jewelry to learn about materials used in your jewelry. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how to care for your jewelry.