Quality, Quality, Quality… OK but what does that mean?
We all hear the word ‘quality’ when buying jewelry, but what does it actually mean, and how do we identify a quality piece? we’ll try our best to explain here in more detail so that you become a pro in understanding quality in jewelry.
Understanding the quality of fine metals
For Jewelry to be classified as fine, it must be made of either Gold, Sterling Silver or Platinum.
In general, sterling silver jewelry and gift items are stamped 925 - the standard hallmark for Sterling Silver. The 925 stamp confirms that the silver content is indeed 92.5% which is the minimum accepted standard for Sterling Silver in North America.
[925 = 92.5% or 925/1000 SILVER]
The minimum standard in North America for gold is 10 karats to be classified as fine jewelry.
14k jewelry is stamped either 14K or 585 which is the European (Italian) standard hallmark for 14k jewelry. The stamp confirms that the gold content is indeed 14K Gold or 58.5% pure gold.
The same goes for 10k Gold or 18k Gold, see below.
[10k = 41.6% GOLD – Stamp 10K or 416]
[14k = 58.5% GOLD -Stamp 14K or 585]
[18k = 75% GOLD - Stamp 18K or 750]
[24k = 100% GOLD]
Not all fine gold or sterling silver is created equal
As you may already know, gold as well as silver is alloyed with a mixture of metals like, copper and zinc to give it strength and durability for everyday wear. An expertly measured mixture of selected metals makes the difference in quality fineness and will differ from one jewelry manufacturer to another. Quality jewelry is made with a perfect blend of only the finest alloys that are allergy free and safe for sensitive skin.
Why is sterling silver or gold jewelry sometimes rhodium plated - Jewelers choose to plate sterling silver to eliminate tarnish and to enhance the longevity of the jewelry. White gold is plated with rhodium to give it a sleek and shiny look. Rhodium is one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals. It is included in the platinum-group metals and is considered the most tarnish resistant. Additionally, rhodium is hypoallergenic. For this reason, Rhodium is preferred when plating jewelry.
Gold Plated - Sterling Silver is sometimes plated with yellow or rose gold as a finishing for aesthetic purposes. The gold color provides a charming effect to the jewelry and adds pleasant alternatives for design.
Plating Process - The Plating is applied as a thin coat through a process of electroplating.
The FINE Details - Recognize that every element is important and for that reason it is important to pay attention to fine details such as clasps on bracelets and closures for earrings. Quality jewelry will be fully functional and 100% secure.
Made in Italy - It is well known and widely accepted that jewelry made in Italy has an inherent level of quality in design and production. The combination of artistry and craftsmanship is unparalleled.
Now you know what they mean when they say QUALITY?