When selecting gold jewelry, it’s important to know your materials. You may see different terms — Solid Gold, Gold Filled, and Gold Plated. Solid gold (as the name implies) is the purest form of gold for jewelry. Gold filled is the next highest quality, and is an amazing, quality alternative to solid gold. You can expect gold filled jewelry to last a lifetime, only losing a little luster after 25 years. Gold plating is the lowest level of quality and over time these items will tarnish, and can often turn the skin green.

Gold filled is made by adhering solid gold to a base metal in a mechanical bonding process. Not to be confused with gold plating which has a very thin layer of gold, gold filled items have 100% more gold than plating. Gold filled is much more valuable, tarnish resistant and is hard wearing. It won’t flake, rub off or turn colors, and with reasonable care will last a lifetime. It is safe for people with sensitive skin.

Government regulation

Gold filled is regulated by the government and the quantity of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the total product. Gold plating has no government regulation.

Care for your gold filled jewelry the same as solid gold. Keep the jewelry away from chemicals and out of pools. Clean regularly with a mildly sudsy water, rinse well, and pat dry with a non-scratching cloth. You can polish it with a jewelry polishing cloth.

Sterling silver is also called 925 silver because it is made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Fine Silver (which is 99.9% pure silver) is too soft and easily damaged to be used in functional objects like jewelry, so it’s usually alloyed with copper to give it strength. The copper alloy improves the durability, without affecting the silver color. With proper care, sterling silver will last a lifetime.

Sterling silver is the standard for high-quality silver jewelry, made with over 90% pure silver. Silver plating has an extremely thin layer of silver bonded to a base metal. Sterling silver won’t chip, flake or wear down like silver plating.

Keep the jewelry away from chemicals and out of pools. Since sterling silver naturally tarnishes (a dulling that occurs when it reacts with the air), you can polish it with a silver polishing cloth or solution. Also, wearing your jewelry is the best way to prevent tarnish!