At Silver Street Jewellers, we want to make sure you are making informed decisions when purchasing jewellery. It is important to know what you are getting whether it is from us or anyone else! There are many different processes and treatments applied to shaping metals into beautiful jewellery. I am going to go through the metals and processes we use below.
.925 Sterling Silver
This is the primary metal used in all of our jewellery, as you can tell from our name! .925 Sterling Silver is the highest quality Silver that can be used in jewellery. Every item on our website features .925 stamped directly into the metal. This stamp guarantees it is actually what is claimed! Artists often try to hide the stamps as they can mess with the aesthetic of the piece, but it is always there, tucked in the band of a ring or along the edge of a pendant. These are the main features of .925 Sterling Silver:
- Metal is 92.5% pure silver. Why isn’t it 100% pure? Because silver is an incredibly soft metal. Without adding another metal silver will not hold forms and would be unwearable.
- Guaranteed to not include Nickle or Lead as alloys (the other 7.5% of the metal) This is done because Nickle is one of the leading metal allergies in the world, and Lead, well, we all know it is terrible for us.
- .925 Sterling Silver WILL tarnish. Silver tarnishes, it is a fact of the metal. If your silver jewellery is ever sold with a promise of never tarnishing, it is not .925 Sterling Silver. There are many ways to prevent or remove tarnish, all of which are very simple, and will be discussed in another blog entry!
The majority of our .925 Sterling Silver jewellery comes with a Rhodium Coating applied. This is an incredibly thin coating of Rhodium applied to your jewellery. Rhodium is a very rare and expensive metal that is silver in colour. The coating is applied for these reasons:
- Rhodium is a very strong and brittle metal that protects your Silver. However, due to the brittle nature, it can never be used to form jewellery on its own, it can only be used as a covering
- Rhodium does not tarnish like silver. The coating prevents the silver from tarnishing by sealing it off from outside elements.
The Rhodium Coating gives your jewellery extra durability and shine upon purchase, and is a fantastic added value. However, as it is a very thin coating, the Rhodium Coating can wear off eventually. You will not notice any change to the appearance of your jewellery, but this is the point at which .925 Sterling Silver will begin tarnishing.
Oxidization is a process of creating a chemical reaction with .925 Sterling Silver to tarnish it, on purpose! It ends up giving silver a blackened look, and is often used to highlight details in intricate pieces. And, as the jewellery comes pre-tarnished, you do not have to clean it!
Our Gold Vermeil jewellery is made of 14K Gold or Rose Gold overtop of .925 Sterling Silver. A Vermeil is a premium covering process that involves binding the materials together with electric currents. The gold must be over 10K to qualify as a Vermeil. It arrives at a regulated thickness of 2.5 microns of gold. It is important to note the distinction between Plating and Vermeil, plating involves only dipping or painting gold onto a base metal, and has no guarantee of thickness or regulation of the quality of the gold.
As a Vermeil is a coating, we are unable to guarantee it will stay on forever, it may wear down with use as all metal does. However, anecdotally, we have been selling these items to for over 10 years and have many customers who have told us it still looks exactly the same!
Vermeil is a fantastic way to get beautiful Gold jewellery for a fraction of the cost, in fact, many experts in the jewellery industry struggle to differentiate between solid Gold and the Gold Vermeil sold at Silver Street Jewellers!
I hope this post has left you feeling much more informed about the metals used at Silver Street Jewellers, and gives you confidence in your purchase! Now go out and explain all of the amazing things about our metals to everyone you know!