About the Materials
Many people I come in contact with have not been properly educated in the difference between the types of metals they can purchase. Some may have even been sold these products with unrealistic promises of use and wear. Read on below to learn about the differences.
Samantha Dulay Designs consist of pieces made of sterling silver, 14K gold filled, and solid 14K gold.
Sterling silver is the industry standard for silver. Pure 100% silver is very malleable and soft to work with and does not hold up well. Because of this, in 1851, Tiffany was the first American company to institute the 925/1000 sterling silver standard which was later adopted by the United States. The alloy that was created consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. You can confirm that the piece you are purchasing is sterling silver by looking for a small "925" stamp somewhere hidden on the piece.
What is the difference between gold plated, vermeil, gold filled, and gold?
Gold-plated jewelry is created using an electro-chemical process that places a very thin layer of Gold onto copper or nickel. The thickness of the Gold used in the plating process consists of 1/2000 or less of gold on the outside. Over time this thin layer will wear off exposing the base metal underneath and causing various skin reactions (turning green, or an allergy reaction).
Vermeil (ver-may) is made in the exact same way as something that is plated, but the metal underneath is sterling silver. Over time however this thin layer will also wear off and your beautiful gold piece you purchased will eventually turn completely silver.
Gold-filled is made from solid gold and "filled" with other metals. Gold-filled wears like solid Gold because its outer surface IS solid gold. Electroplating is not a part of this process. The gold content is 1/20. Gold-filled is created by using heat and pressure to fuse a layer of karat gold to a metal (in our case, brass). The bond produced is a permanent one, and does not wear off over time. This means that even people who have sensitive metal allergies can wear gold-filled. Gold-filled offers all the same physical characteristics as solid gold such as beauty, durability, and strength, but at a fraction of the cost. With proper care, your gold filled jewelry will give you years of wear, just like solid gold. You can confirm that the piece you are purchasing is gold filled by looking for a small "GF" or "14K GF" stamp somewhere hidden on the piece.
Gold is displayed as karats, (14K, 18K, 22K) which expresses karatage. The karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold 100% gold. 18k gold is composed of 75% gold, while 14k gold is composed of 58.3% gold (the remaining 41.7% is an alloy of other metals). The higher percentage other metals (alloy) is what makes it strong and durable enough for everyday wear. Higher karat pieces will be significantly softer, and the difference in color is another big factor when deciding which material to use.