Why does it seem like jewelry made of gold and silver went up so much recently? "I'd rather have real gold or silver, but I can't afford it anymore." It's so true. What happened? Well, silver is traded as a commodity in the market and that has made prices so competitive, that the price has been driven up in recent years. Gold, as you know, fluctuating all the time, has really climbed because of demand. And, the average cost of silver in 2002 was $4 an ounce. In 2011, it was up to $30 an ounce! Here in 2015, the price is somewhere in between at $15. So in less than 10 years, silver costs have climbed significantly. You may ask...What are my alternatives??
What is STERLING SILVER? An alloy of silver containing a minimum of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. (Care: these pieces hold up to most anything you put them through. They may tarnish if not worn regularly. You can polish tarnish off with a soft cloth).
What is YELLOW GOLD? A mixture of natural gold and color-saturated alloys. The alloys most commonly used are copper with a red hue, and silver featuring a green hue. An expert mixture of copper, silver and pure gold gives this precious metal its signature warmth.
Karat weights are confusing. 22k and 24k gold are almost pure gold, but too soft for fine jewelry. Therefore, 14K and 18K are seen most commonly. They are 50-75% pure gold. 10k gold is a more affordable choice, is 41.7% gold, and very durable. (Care: These can be worn every day in every condition and hold up great).
What is GOLD PLATED VS GOLD FILLED? Gold Filled is the process of pressure bonding a thin layer of gold to a base metal, 100 times thicker than gold plating. Unlike plating, gold fill must contain 1/5 of its weight in gold. Because there is more gold content, it is more resistant to tarnishing. This option can also be alot more affordable. (Care: These pieces hold up to most anything. They may be polished with a soft cloth from time to time).
Gold Plated is the next lower level of jewelry and is significantly less expensive. This is a method of electroplating another type of metal with a very thin, almost microscopic film of pure gold. But these pieces can tarnish, the finish can chip or wear away, or turn sensitive skin green. So wear with care and you'll have years of good use out of these affordable pieces. (Care: To care for these, you need to keep them away from soaps, water, and detergents. You should take them off to shower, wash hands, or sleep. Wear them occasionally, and they will hold up for a long while).
I hope this helps you understand the nuances of the jewelry you buy for yourself or for gifts. You can click on the pictures above to see each of these items online.