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.
Cubic zirconia is the most readily available, inexpensive and brilliant simulated diamond on the market today. Cubic zirconia does occur naturally in small quantities, but all of the cubic zirconia on the market is produced in a laboratory.
On the Mohs Scale, which measures the hardness of minerals, cubic zirconia is an 8.0 to 8.5. It is important to understand that hardness is not necessarily related to durability. Even though diamond is the hardest mineral (10.0 on the Mohs Scale), it can still be chipped or broken.
The only ways to tell the difference between cubic zirconia and diamond are by use of a thermal probe, by weighing the loose stone or by microscopic examination of surface features and inclusions. Cubic zirconia weighs approximately 65% more than diamond. Therefore, while a 6.25 mm round diamond weighs about 1.00 carat, the same size cubic zirconia weighs about 1.65 carats. If you know the weight of a cubic zirconia, you can figure out the diamond weight equivalent by multiplying the cubic zirconia weight by 0.6, or 60%.
Few natural diamonds on the market today are perfectly cut, and those that are cost much more than the usual diamond. Unleashing the fire, beauty and brilliance of a stone depends on its precise cut. Simulated diamonds are an excellent balance between quality, beauty and price.
Brilliance: The white light leaving a jewel, traveling upward, which is visible to the eye. Brilliance is sometimes referred to as “sparkle.”
Dispersion: Flashes of rainbow colors. Also called “fire.”
Hardness: Resistance to scratching. The higher the number, the more resistant.
Luster: The shininess of a jewel.
Toughness: Resistance to breakage.
Stainless steel, also called corrosion resistant steel, is a steel alloy with added iron and chromium. The metal is low maintenance, rust-resistant, durable, highly lustrous and extremely hygienic, making it ideal for items such as cookware, knives, surgical instruments, jewelry and watches.
The nearly-indestructible and masculine nature of stainless steel is appealing for many jewelry styles. It has a similar appearance to platinum and polishes to a glistening sheen. Any scratches that may occur from day to day wear can be easily buffed away without endangering the piece. Unlike traditional gold, silver or platinum jewelry, stainless steel jewelry is not poured into molds, but is usually hand-cut from a solid piece of steel, leaving no seams or weak spots. With stainless steel, your jewelry will last a lifetime.
Stainless steel was first recognized in France in 1821 by metallurgist Pierre Berthier. He realized the iron-chromium alloys maintained resistance from acids and recommended their use in cutlery. After several corrosion-resistance related discoveries and patents in Europe and the United States, Harry Brearley in England discovered a modern blend of stainless steel alloy. When it was announced by The New York Times in January of 1915, he was officially credited with the invention of this impressive modern metal.