The "vermeil" technique of plating sterling silver with gold originated in France in the 1750s. It differs from "gold filled" or "gold plated" in terms of the thickness or thinness of the microns over sterling silver. "Gold filled" pieces have a much thicker layer, between 15 and 45 microns, which is mechanically bonded to the base metal with heat and pressure. Vermeil is a more expensive version of "gold plated". It does not wear off as quickly as gold plating does. However, over time, vermeil wears off and therefore will require re-plating.
Over time your plated items will need to be re-plated. Contact your local jeweler for information on plating services.
A relative newcomer to the gem world, ametrine is a variety of quartz that exhibits the best aspects of both purple amethyst and yellow citrine within the same crystal. These bicolor yellow and purple quartz gemstones have a hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs Scale and are ideally suited for a variety of jewelry uses.
Ametrine is most typically faceted in a rectangular shape with a 50/50 pairing of amethyst and citrine. When cut into emerald and pear shapes, the color distinction is most notable. Sometimes a checkerboard pattern of facets is added to the top to increase light reflection. Ametrine can also be cut to blend the two colors so that the resulting stone is a mix of yellow, purple and peach tones throughout the stone. When ametrine is fashioned as the less-common brilliant round shape, its colors reflect and blend together to create the peach-like color.
Ametrine is especially popular among artistic cutters and carvers who can play with the colors, creating landscapes in the stone. Amethyst's purple and citrine's yellow are opposite each other on the color wheel. They are called complementary colors, meaning that they enhance each other, and are considered by artists to be excellent colors to use together. Because its beauty lies in the coexistence of the two colors, ametrine is usually recovered in larger sizes; over five carats is most popular, which allows for the appreciation of the pronounced color contrast.
The Anahi Mine in Bolivia is the major world producer of ametrine. The mine first became famous in the seventeenth century when a Spanish conquistador received it as a dowry upon marrying a princess from the Ayoreos tribe, named Anahi. Ametrine was introduced to Europe through the conquistador's gifts to the Spanish queen. The stone is relatively inexpensive, considering that it comes from only a few mines in the world, including Bolivia and Brazil. Several suppliers have indicated that the ametrine mines have run out, and therefore quality material is now very difficult to obtain.
As a newcomer, ametrine does not yet have folklore or historical significance attached to it, as do amethyst and citrine. Some sources believe, however, that the best aspects of amethyst and citrine lore should be attributed to ametrine since it is a combination of both gems.