Jewelry Guide

Metals

Sterling Silver

We only carry the most precious Silver jewelry at Sterling Essentials. Our entire collection is pure Silver mixed with no more than 7.5% alloy making it 92.5% pure Silver. Pure silver alone is too soft of a metal to make jewelry with and so it is necessary to combine it with other metals. Sterling silver jewelry is stamped with the hallmark “sterling” or “.925”.

Cleaning and Care:

Exposure to the open air, humidity, body acid, lotions, chemicals, chlorine and perfume can cause Sterling Silver to tarnish. This is a normal process that is caused by oxidation. We recommend storing your jewelry inside a zip-lock bag to protect against scratching against other items in your jewelry box and to minimize exposure that causes the metal to tarnish over time. Use a high quality silver cloth like our Sterling Essentials cleaning cloth to remove any residue from every day wear. Avoid harsh silver cleaners. Sterling Silver, stored properly, can be worn often with minimal cleaning required developing a lovely patina over time.

Gold

Gold jewelry comes in a variety of colors like yellow, white and rose. Pure gold like silver is too soft to work with and so is mixed with other metal alloy to produce its’ karat (the gold content) and color.

24 karat is 100% gold and the hallmark is 24K
18 karat is 75.0% gold and the hallmark is 18K
14 karat is 58.5% gold and the hallmark is 14K
10 karat is 41.7% gold and the hallmark is 10K

Cleaning and Care:

Use warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush to loosen any grime that can accumulate on your gold jewelry. Rinse then dry and polish with a soft jewelry cloth.

Gold Plating

The plating thickness for precious and non-precious metal objects is regulated by specific rules that are administered by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. One of the highest grades set by F.T.C. regulations is 1.25 microns or 50 mils of 24K Gold. This standard is used in order to insure the longevity and provide a fine jewelry quality of Gold plating. Typically Bronze or Brass is first electro cleaned by a running water rinse and mild acidic cleaner that is used to neutralize the metal. Then the piece of jewelry is given a bath in 24K Gold that is allowed enough time for the Gold to adhere to the metal. Our collection is plated with at least .50 microns of 24K gold and most of our collection is 1.25 microns of Gold plating that has an additional plating of 18K, 14K or Rose Gold coloring over the Bronze or Brass. The 24K coloring is typically not used. The amount of Gold plating is disclosed in the product details.

Cleaning and Care:

Our Gold plating standard is long-lasting and with care should last a lifetime. If plating fades re-plating will restore its color. No harsh chemicals or abrasives should be used or are needed to clean the jewelry. Use a high quality cloth to remove any residue from everyday wear. Protect from scratches by storing in individual jewelry box/pouch or plastic bag.

Rhodium Plating

We use the highest quality Rhodium plating for all of our Rhodium plated Gold, Sterling Silver and Bronze or Brass Fashion jewelry. The same process as the Gold plating is used but instead of 24K Gold Rhodium, a white-metal of the Platinum family of metals is used for a White Gold or Platinum metal look. Rhodium plating protects against tarnishing and surface scratches.

Diamonds and the Four C’s

Cut:

A diamond’s cut grade is based on how well the facets interact with light. The better the cut the better the sparkle!

Color:

The absence of color is the basis for a diamond’s color grade. Light travels through a colorless diamond resulting in a brilliant sparkle and so colorless diamonds are the most desirable. Color grades are defined as follows:

Colorless: D, E, F, G
Near Colorless: H, I, J-K
Noticeable Color: L-M, N-Z
A color grade of D is the highest color grade while Z is the lowest.

Clarity:

The clarity grade of a diamond measures characteristics found in almost all diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America or GIA developed a clarity grading scale in order to explain what makes a diamond worth more than another. A flawless diamond is the most rare and so most expensive. The clarity grades are defined as follows:

Pure: Flawless, Internally Flawless
Very, very small inclusions: VVS-1, VVS-2
Very small inclusions: VS-1, VS-2
Small inclusions: SI-1, SI-2
Included: I-1, I-2, I-3

Carat:

A carat refers to a diamond’s weight, though it does not reflect a diamond’s size.

FRACTION DECIMAL EQUIVALENTS

CARAT FRACTIONS DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
1/100.09 - 0.11
1/80.12 - 0.13
1/70.14 - 0.15
1/60.16 - 0.17
1/50.18 - 0.22
1/40.23 - 0.28
1/30.29 - 0.36
3/80.37 - 0.44
1/20.45 - 0.58
5/80.59 - 0.68
3/40.69 - 0.82
7/80.83 - 0.94
11.00

Pearls

Natural Pearls occur in the wild without the aid of human intervention and are very rare.

Cultured Pearls are grown in pearl farms and are cultivated by man.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls are farmed in freshwater and grown in mussels living in rivers and lakes.

Saltwater Cultured Pearls are farmed in saltwater and grown in oysters.

Semi-Precious vs. Precious Gemstones

Precious Gemstones include the following: Diamonds, Rubies, Saphires and Emeralds.

Semi-Precious Gemstones include the following: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Citrine, Garnet, Onyx, Turquoise, Tiger’s Eye, Malachite, Mother of Pearl, Rose Quartz, Jade, and more.

Cubic Zirconia

Since 1976 when it was first introduced Cubic Zirconia has been the synthetic equivalent of Diamond. It is made of Zirconium Dioxide and imitates most of the properties of a high quality diamond (flawless color, perfect cut, perfect clarity). It is usually colorless but is also available in different colors such as pink, yellow and purple. It is hard like a diamond and because of its low cost and durability it is an excellent substitute to make affordable jewelry.

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