Mixed up About Metal? A guide to metals in jewelry

Are you mixed up about what exactly you’re jewelry is made of when you see various metal terms? Here’s a small guide to help you get the value you are looking for

SILVER:
*Sterling Silver contains a minimum of 92.5% pure silver and usually 7.5%  copper. The silver is  mixed with other metals like copper  to make it harder and more durable.  Sterling silver does require careful storage and occasional cleaning to prevent tarnish.
*Argentium Silver is a sterling silver allow in which some of the copper is replaced with germanium, while still maintaining the 92.5% rate of silver.  It has a higher tarnish resistance.
*Silver plate is when a base metal like nickel or copper has a layer of silver bonded or plated over it. It can be a less expensive alternative to traditional sterling.  The thickness of the plate determines how likely it is for the coating to not wear off.

Sterling Silver Earrings

GOLD:
*24 kt is solid gold, but it is extremely soft and not useful for jewelry. 18K which is 75% gold, 14K which is 58% gold, and 9K which is 37% gold are more commonly used.
*Gold Vermeil consists of sterling silver that has been gold plated.
*Gold-Filled is usually made of a brass or copper base metal covered with sheets of gold bonded to the base metal. The gold content is typically 1/20 or 5% of the total weight. With reasonable care, it’s relatively long lasting.
*Gold Plated has a thin layer of gold over various types of base metal. The gold may wear away if not properly cared for.

Be careful with gold as since it is a softer metal, it can scratch more easily, and is more likely to be harmed with heavy cleaning.

PLATINUM:

Platinum is actually rarer than gold and very durable, it won’t rust and most people find it very hypoallergenic.

BRASS:
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, normally containing 2/3 copper and 1/3 zinc.

Brass Ring

BRONZE:

Bronze is another alloy.  It’s mainly copper, though it often has tin added.  It’s a hard metal often confused with brass.

STAINLESS STEEL
A strong metal, that contains a steel alloy. It usually has chromium to prevent corrosion. Surgical stainless steel is typically considered to be hypoallergenic.

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