We use quality materials in our jewelry. The silver that we use is solid sterling silver or Bali/Hill Tribe silver. All gold chain & wire/jump ring components are gold filled. Most charms are gold vermeil.
Gold Vermeil = gold over sterling silver
Gold Plating = a process using liquid & electric current to coat an item in gold; sometimes called gold-dipped
Gold Filled = much thicker layer of gold than gold plating, and it has been pressure bonded to the underlying base metal
Sterling Silver = an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper
Bali Silver = usually around 99% silver, made by artisans in Bali, Indonesia. May contain other metals such as iron, as it isn't regulated.
Hill Tribe Silver = usually around 99% silver, made by Hill Tribe artisans in Thailand. May contain iron or other metals, as it isn't regulated.
Care for each material:
Sterling, Hill Tribe, and Bali Silver can be polished with a treated cloth/polishing pad, or dipped in a cleaning solution made specifically for silver. These items can be purchased at craft stores, jewelry stores, etc. Dry the item thoroughly if you dip it in liquid cleaner, and do this sparingly.
Gold Vermeil is gold plating over silver, and the amount of gold varies. We try to stick with the suppliers that provide long lasting charms, but definitely wear with care because the gold can come off. Only use a soft polishing cloth if needed.
Gold Plated items also have to be worn with care. These items are gold plated over a base metal. Most gold jewelry that major retailers carry is plated! Its a cheap option, but it does not last like gold filled. If you avoid getting them wet or scratching them, they will last much longer. Only use a soft polishing cloth if needed.
Gold filled is a very durable alternative to solid gold. It wears just the same! It won't flake off with normal wear, but the top layer of gold can be removed with heavy polishing or filing. It can tarnish, but can be cleaned with a cleaning cloth or liquid gold cleaner. Always dry the pieces thoroughly if you use liquid cleaner, and do this sparingly. The underlying base metal is a brass alloy (copper & zinc).
*We also use silk & wood elements - avoid getting these wet.