Alloy - noun - A metal made by combining two or more metallic elements.
Jewellery is often made using a combination of metals. This is done to increase the strength and durability of the metal and it often comes with the added benefit of the finished jewellery being more resistant to tarnish.
Listed below are the metals I work with and their composition
Sterling Silver and Fine Silver
- Sterling silver .925 - 92.5% Silver and 7.5% something else, generally copper or zinc.
- Fine silver .999 - 99.9% Silver and .01% copper.
- 18k gold - 75% gold, 25% other
- 14k gold - 58.3% gold, 41.7% other
10k gold - 41.6% gold, 58.4% other
bonus fact. The metals that are alloyed with gold are what determines the colours of the gold alloy. Ie ‘rose gold’ is gold mixed with copper, ‘yellow gold’ is mixed with copper/zinc and ‘white gold’ is a mix of silver/palladium.
Gold filled is made using a process of heat and pressure to bond a thick layer of solid gold onto a base core, usually brass.
Because the metal is bonded to the base, it doesn't flake off or chip away like plated jewellery does. If your gold filled jewellery is well cared for you'll have it for years to come.
The visual below is to give you an idea of the comparison between solid gold, gold filled and gold plated.
Choosing between sterling silver or white gold
White gold is what we would recommend in this situation.
Rhodium plating - What is it?
The natural colour of white gold is actually a light grey colour. Rhodium however is naturally white, so you’ll often find that white gold pieces are plated in rhodium to give them the appearance it's so commonly known for.
The plating does eventually wear away and because of this the jewellery does require maintenance. To keep a white gold ring looking its best it should be replated approximately every 12 to 18 months.
Will it tarnish?
Under the right conditions any jewellery can tarnish. Yes, even gold.
Whilst gold itself is highly resistant to tarnish it’s the other metals in the alloy that are less resistant and are the culprits to it.
Quote from our ‘Jewellery Care’ page