BASICS ON THE DIFFERENCES OF PRECIOUS METALS
Many people think there is little or no difference between Fine Silver, Silver and Silverplate or Gold, Gold-Filled and Gold Plated. There are notable differences.
Fine Silver is marked .999 = 100% silver. Also called pure silver.
Sterling Silver is an alloy and is marked .925 = 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Argentium® sterling silver is a trademarked brand of sterling silver that resists firestain and tarnish. Not to be confused with "Argentium Argentine Plate" or "Argentum" which are nickel alloys containing no silver.
Silver Filled is the same as Gold Filled.
Vermeil (vermay) is precious metal—it is a sterlng silver base with an extra-heavy plate of 14K or 24K gold that’s many times thicker than standard gold plating.
Silver Plate/d is another material, brass/pewter/white metal/plastic etc, that is plated with a layer of pure silver.
Tibetan Silver has almost no silver in it. 99% copper, silver and zinc. A few have been found to have arsenic in them.
Fine Gold isn't pure gold when you buy fine jewelry. It usually has other alloys (metals) in it. Only gold marked 24 Kt. is 100% gold. Also called pure gold. 12Kt. would have half as much gold content as 24Kt. gold. 10/12/14/18 Kt. Gold are alloys of gold.
Gold Filled has 50-100,000 times more gold in than in gold plate. A 14/20 Gold Filled pendant is usually considered a lifetime piece of jewelry. Some high quality gold-filled pieces have the look, luster, and beauty of 14 karat (58%) gold. GF is considered fine jewelry and is the next best thing to solid gold. GF must equal at least 1/20 the weight of the total item. Rolled Gold is 1/2 as thick as gold layer, and is a thicker plating than standard plating.1/40
Silver Filled is the same as Gold Filled, only with a Sterling Silver layer.
Gold-plate/d metal has a micro thin layer of gold on the surface of a base metal, usually applied by the process of electroplating. Plating makes the layer of gold a much thinner layer than Gold Filled, and it is most commonly plated with 10K gold.
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