The Different Types of Jewelry Materials: Gold Vermeil, 925 Sterling Silver, and Zinc Alloy | Empty Whole

Empty Whole Blog Article Differences In Jewelry Metals and Materials


The Differences in Jewelry Materials and What to Know: Exploring Gold Vermeil, 925 Sterling Silver And Zinc Alloy

In case you didn't know, jewelry can be made from a large variety of different metal compositions, the most common jewelry designs - necklaces, rings, bracelets - available to most people are produced by different metals and metal combinations, some being more common than others. You've likely heard of Gold Vermeil, 925 Sterling Silver, Zinc Alloy, and more in regard to jewelry you've purchased, but do you know how they differ? For those who don't, we're here to help you learn how they three compositions differ. In this article we'll discuss each of these very commonly used metal mixtures to manufacture jewelry and discuss more in another article to come.

Here’s our simple, educational guide to the most common jewelry producing materials.

Gold Vermeil

In today’s environment and throughout time many boutique jewelry stores and retailers have been offering gold vermeil designs of beautiful jewelry.

Standard gold vermeil is expected to be a 92.5% sterling silver base mixed with other metals, plated in 10+ karat gold, with an approximately 2.5+ micron thick gold coating.

Essentially, gold vermeil is sterling silver that has a narrow layer of gold electroplated onto the surface. To the naked eye, vermeil may look like absolute gold. This may be expected for fresh, well made gold vermeil jewelry since 10 karat gold is used to coat the outer layer.

These are certified aspects that set vermeil apart from other gold plated jewelry:

• The durability of the gold used for the plating process must be partially 10 karats with premium quality vermeil normally being 14 Karats or more
• The width of the plating has to be a minimum of 2.5 microns
• The base metal should be sterling silver (92.5% silver mixed with other metals) followed by the gold coat

Why Choose Gold Vermeil

So, why select gold vermeil over real gold or regular gold plated jewelry? Design, price, and durability. Gold is an essential metal in your jewelry arsenal, and one of the world's most precious metals / materials - but at quantity in it's pure form it can be quite costly. If your budget is tight but you still desire something of high quality and fashion then gold vermeil is an outstanding choice of jewelry to add to your wardrobe. You’re still acquiring real gold, even if it’s just on the outermost layer, and as long as you keep your pieces clean they should maintain their glamour and shine for some time. Gold vermeil's sterling silver base provides reliable durability with everyday affordability while leaving no compromise in design.

925 Sterling Silver

While the name makes the metal's composition quite obvious, those unfamiliar may not already know that 925 sterling silver is in fact expected to have 92.5% of the compositions weight be of pure silver mixed with a composition of other metals adding the approximately 7.5% of the remaining weight of the jewelry piece. This approximately 7.5% of other metal mixed with the silver is usually made mostly of copper.

In this form the metal is alluring and suffers from minimal tarnish, but it's soft and malleable enough to style and design into fairly stunning pieces.


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Why 925 Sterling Silver

Sterling silver jewelry is a perfect premium quality choice in most circumstances. The metal will not corrode or perish, plus if you take care of your jewelry it will maintain it's integrity and purpose well into the future.

As far as the longevity of sterling silver is concerned, although it lacks the whole purity, it can be sturdier and more durable than wholly authentic silver. Actually, not being pure silver is what improves the longevity index of sterling silver. 


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Zinc Alloy Jewelry

Zinc alloy, also known as Tibetan silver or misnomer, is a well-known material used in jewelry production. It is not only inexpensive but also secure and skin-friendly. Zinc alloy is safe for jewelry because it is free of lead, a toxic material that makes other jewelry hazardous.

Zinc alloys are the perfect choice for jewelry making because they are strong and corrosion-resistant. They are also adaptable as makers can quickly combine them with other metals and design their pieces.

Why Zinc Alloy?

Zinc alloy is a material that mass jewelry manufacturers normally use. It is a blend of many things that creates a material with greater durability and resistance to corrosion. Jewelry makers rarely use zinc in its pure and sole form, which is why they combine it with other elements.

Manufacturers use zinc to shape many appropriate alloys. Brass, a popular alloy, is a blend of copper and zinc. Industries normally use it for numerous things because of its corrosion resistance. Nickel silver is another popular zinc alloy generally used to make silverware.


Making Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Is zinc alloy rustproof?

Corrosion resistance is one of the reasons zinc alloys are famous in jewelry production. Zinc is essentially rust-proof basically because of the safety layer it's nature produces.

Zinc simply reacts with carbon dioxide in the air and shapes a zinc carbonate layer. It remarkably lessens the corrosion rate of ferrous metals. This layer is crucial as it makes a coating that contributes to its corrosion-resistant barrier.

Although zinc has been deemed "rust-proof" it may actually begin showing signs of rusting / corrosion after 35+ years, and even longer.

Benefits of using zinc alloy

  • It’s suitable to mold and develop into quality jewelry
  • It’s readily accessible and inexpensive
  • It will maintain its corrosion resistance for many decades 


Now that you've learned about these three commonly used metal compositions for jewelry, you can know what you are purchasing, discover your preferences, and develop your wardrobe.

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