Online shopping is getting more and more popular all over the world. It is now very convenient for people to buy everything online, from daily necessities to items that may have never before imagine buying on the Internet. It makes perfect sense that people purchase their fashion jewelry online, as you don’t need to worry about size the same way as when you buy clothes online. Moreover, there are always tons of different types of fashion accessories online for you to choose from, so you can always find the perfect item to match your personal style/interest.
Unlike buying fashion jewelry in physical stores, when buying online you’ll need to make your purchase decision based on the item photos and description. It’s not hard to see words in online item titles and descriptions like “Gold Plated”, “Gold Filled”, “Silver Plated”, “Silver Filled”, “Sterling Silver”, etc. So what do sellers want to tell you when you see these words? Let me summarize some frequently asked questions that will help you enjoy your online jewelry shopping even more!
Question 1: Is there any reference for purity of gold?
Karat is widely used as a measurement of purity of gold. 1 karat (or 1K gold) means there is 1 part of gold and 23 parts of other metal alloys. So, 24K gold means 100 percent pure gold, 18K gold means 75 percent gold + 25 percent of other metal alloys, etc. Please note that generally pure gold (24K) is too soft for jewelry making; that’s why it is more likely that you will see 18K gold jewelry than 24K gold jewelry.
Question 2: Is there any reference for purity of silver?
In general, there are 2 levels of silver purity you need to know. The first one is fine silver, containing 99.9 percent silver; people call it “999 Fine Silver” or “.999 Fine Silver.” The second one is sterling silver, containing 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other metal alloys (usually copper); people call it “925 Sterling Silver” or “.925 Sterling Silver.”
Similar to gold, pure silver (Fine Silver) is too soft for jewelry making, so you can easily find many 925 sterling silver jewelries but not fine silver jewelries. There should be a “925” stamp on your sterling silver jewelry to help you identify the purity of silver used.
Question 3: Gold jewelry is expensive; what other choices I have?
Forget about the brand name or design; what matters is the value of material of your jewelry. There are many other forms of gold jewelries for your consideration:
Gold-Filled: Gold-filled is a thin sheet of Karat gold rolled with another thicker sheet of base metal alloy. It is also known as “rolled gold” because of the rolling process. The measurement of gold-filled jewelry uses the ratio of the mass of the Karat gold sheet to the total mass. For example, “1/20 18K” stamp means 5 percent (=1/20) of 18K gold being used. Sometimes you will see an “RGP” stamp, which stands for “rolled gold plated” and is typically with a ratio of 1/40 and 1/50.
Gold-Plated: Gold plating is to deposit a thin layer of gold on the surface of other materials. In the fashion accessories industry, people usually plate gold onto the surface of another metal (usually an alloy) by chemical or electrochemical plating. One common way is dipping the base metal into a bath of electroplating solution after performing a series of processes.
Gold-Vermeil: Gold vermeil means plating gold onto sterling silver.
Question 4: Is it very expensive to buy sterling silver jewelry?
No. In fact, the price of silver is much less than the price of gold. At the time of writing this article, the price of gold is around US$1,350 per oz, where the silver price is just around US$22 per oz! So now you understand why you see so many 925 Sterling Silver jewelries but not many 18K (or even higher) gold jewelries in the fashion jewelry industry.
Question 5: Does gold/silver plating cost much more than non-gold plated/non-silver plating?
Plating gold/silver on a base metal does not make the cost significantly higher, because the plating layer is usually very thin (so never think to resell your gold/silver plated jewelries to scrap gold/silver buyers). However, THICKNESS (measured in micrometer, aka micron) and SURFACE AREA matter to manufacturers because the thicker or bigger the surface area of the jewelry, the higher the cost.
Question 6: Does gold plated/silver plated jewelry easily wear off?
It makes sense that the thicker the plating, the lower chance that the plating will wear off. Unfortunately, it is never easy to judge how thick the plating is without professional equipment. So what you can do is choose reliable jewelry suppliers when making your purchase decision.
Gold/silver plated jewelries react to salts in human sweat, chemical pollutants in the air or chlorine in swimming pools/spas. In order to better protect your beloved jewelries, never take them to exercise/shower with you.
Question 7: Any advice on buying fashion jewelry online?
To be honest, it is almost impossible for ordinary buyers to identify the details of materials and manufacturing processes of fashion jewelries they buy. The best way is to choose reliable suppliers/stores that offer you high quality of service such as 20- or even 30-day return guarantees. We always want to go one step further for you, so if the jewelries you bought from us become tarnished or worn-off within six months, just ship them back to us and we guarantee to send you a new one!