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Sterling Silver is an alloy made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Pure silver is rarely used in jewelry because it is very soft, pliable and more prone to tarnishing. However, sterling silver will still tarnish unless it is plated in a heavy metal such as rhodium, though it is very easy to clean and care for. A polishing cloth can be used to gently buff your sterling silver jewelry, removing tarnish and restoring shine. It is best not to submerge your jewelry in or use solutions as it can harm some stones. See more on how to care for your jewelry under “Jewelry Care”.
Gold plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal. In most cases, the layer of gold is very thin, just enough to cover all exposed surfaces of the other metal. The benefit of gold plating for jewelry is that it gives the look of gold, but at a much lower price than solid gold. Gold plated rings cannot generally be resized, as this risks cracking or melting away the plating. Jewelry that has been gold plated should never be polished using a machine or cleaned using abrasives or dips. See more on how to care for your jewelry under “Jewelry Care”.
Brass is an alloy (mixture of 2 or more metallic elements) which is typically 60% copper and 40% zinc.
Vermeil is a type of gold plating that must be at least 2.5 micrometers and is typically coated over Sterling Silver.