Jewelry Materials Guide

explanation of gold filled, solid gold, and gold plated jewelry

There is a myriad of choices in jewelry these days from vermeil, gold plated, gold filled, silver filled and sterling silver. It can be confusing navigating a purchase when faced with all these options. Most of us are simply looking for pieces that are high quality, won’t tarnish or rub off, and won’t break the bank.

ADORNED genuinely cares about how much our customers love our pieces and we want them to love them for a lifetime! So, before we launched our brand we kept three main goals in mind:

  • affordability – can we offer pieces that are accessible?
  • quality – will our pieces last?
  • craftmanship – can we be proud of how our jewelry is crafted?

After researching the different types of jewelry our decision became very clear.

Our Metals

What is Gold Filled Metal?

14k gold filled is a beautiful, more affordable alternative to solid gold. It is a genuine layer of gold permanently bonded with jeweler’s brass with heat and pressure.  Gold Filled components are legally required to be 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. That means they have 100 times more gold than gold plated! For a more complete explanation, read this.

What if I Have Sensitive Skin?

Gold Filled jewelry can be worn by most people with sensitive skin. Chances are, if you can wear solid gold, you’ll be able to wear Gold Filled.

Will Gold Filled Lose its Color or Shine?

Since the layer of gold in Gold Filled is so thick and because it is fused to the core metal inside, it won’t chip or rub off for a very long time. However, after time, your jewelry may start to have a dull appearance due to an accumulation of grime. Good thing Gold Filled is so easy to clean! Please read our guides on jewelry care and cleaning to keep your pieces looking great.

Freshwater Pearls

Although freshwater pearls are the most commonly produced pearls, their unique shapes and wide range of colors and sizes make them a favorite among jewelry designers and consumers.  ADORNED By Ruth designs include baroque, biwa, flake, and coin shaped pearls. If you love pearls too and want to know more, read about baroque pearl types.

Sterling Silver

What is 925 sterling silver? Pure silver is much too soft to be used in jewelry so it is combined with another metal such as copper to give it strength and durability.   Sterling Silver, also referred to as 925 silver,  the most common metal used for jewelry, is made from 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent alloy – a mixture of two or more metals such as zinc, copper or nickel.

Why Does Silver Tarnish, Anyway?

When the molecules from the copper present in 925 silver combine with Sulphur molecules in the air, the silver tarnishes.  It is a natural occurrence and does not indicate the quality of the silver.

Solid Gold

What are Karats?

Karats are a measure of gold purity out of 24 parts.  24 karat gold is literally taken out of the ground and is pure gold.  Pure gold jewelry would not be practical because it would be too soft.  So other metals are mixed in with pure gold to create a strong or solid gold.  The amount of other metals added are reflected in the number of karats or parts out of 24.  For example, 10K solid gold is 10 parts pure gold out of 24 parts, 18K gold is 18 parts pure gold out of 24, and so on.  Solid gold is considered 10 parts out of 24 or higher.  That said, 10k, 14k, and 18k, are all equally solid in durability. We think 10K is a great choice for rings and bracelets that you will want to wear daily.