At Restored we love jewelry. We look for pieces that are fine and simple: jewelry that will not bore you on the long run. Let’s take a closer look at what this jewelry is made of, and how you can enjoy it for as long as possible.
You might recognize that disappointing experience of a piece of jewelry that fades a bit too soon. Every material has different qualities and requires different care. But sometimes you just can’t see the wood for the trees. That’s why, in this blog, we want to give you an overview. Because the lifespan of your piece can be extended, up to a certain part, with the right knowledge and care.
In our shop in Amsterdam and on our webshop, you will find jewelry ranging in different price categories. We’ve seen our collection of jewelry grow, and with it the list of materials the pieces are made of. Time to dive in!
This is a material that is not so commonly used in Europe (yet). For the gold filled pieces of our Balance Restored collection we work together with goldsmiths in America and Israel.
Gold filled is a long-lasting material, that’s why we love to use it. Gold filled jewelry comes close to jewelry made of solid gold. Another name for gold filled jewelry is ‘rolled gold’.
How is gold filled jewelry made?
It starts with a tube-shaped base of silver or brass. With high heat and pressure a thick, solid layer of gold is permanently bonded to that base.
Gold-filled jewelry contains more gold than most gold plated or vermeil jewelry. Industry standards require gold-filled jewelry to contain at least 5% gold by weight. Due to this higher content, gold-filled jewelry is often more expensive than gold plated or vermeil jewelry.
It is, however, less expensive than solid gold. It’s an affordable, durable and long-lasting option. If you are looking for jewelry that you can wear on a daily basis, like the onyx ring or the balls necklace, gold filled jewelry is the way to go. It will not chip, flake or tarnish - even if you occasionally forget to take them off during washing up or sleeping.
Taking care of gold filled jewelry
– Rinse your gold filled jewelry with warm water and mild soap every once in a while.
– Dry them (and restore the shine) with a soft cotton cloth.
– Remove your gold filled jewelry before applying beauty products (lotion, perfume), before going swimming or showering & before using household cleaners.
Gold plated jewelry is, technically, also gold over a base material. The procedure, however, is entirely different - as is the result.
How is gold plated jewelry made?
A base metal (for example brass) is dipped in an electrolyte solution that contains gold. Electrolyte means that electricity can go through, and that is exactly what happens. An electric current is applied to the solution that causes the gold to bond to the base metal.
This is not a permanent bonding. However, this doesn’t mean that gold plated is not a wise material to invest in. There are huge differences when it comes to the quality of the gold plating.
At Restored we stock a lot of gold plated jewelry, for example the basic dot necklace and the basic gold studs: they are perfect for everyday. We wouldn’t stock gold plated jewelry if this material would tarnish quickly. We always look for a thick gold-plating, preferably of a high karat (we’ll get into that in a bit).
With the right use and care your gold plated items will stand the test of time.
Jewelry that is silver plated, like the Helix bracelet by the Boyscouts, is made using the same technique as gold plating. As with our gold plated jewelry, we look for a thick and lasting plating.
The process of making vermeil jewelry is very similar to gold plating. The main difference is that with vermeil the base metal is always made up of 925 sterling silver. The stone cuffs by ADORN are gold vermeil.
Taking care of gold plated, silver plated and gold vermeil jewelry
– Always remove your gold and silver plated jewelry before sleep, before washing hands, before applying beauty products (lotion, perfume), before going swimming or showering & before using household cleaners.
– Keep them shiny and clean by polishing with a soft cotton cloth.
Gold & Karat
Gold is always indicated with a number and a K. The K stands for karat, which is a unit of purity. It measures the ratio of gold to other metals. Karats are measured on a scale from 0 to 24. The higher the karat rating, the less the gold has been mixed with other materials.
Silver is a soft metal, pure silver alone isn’t suitable for jewelry making. That’s why, commonly, silver is mixed with copper. The addition of copper gives the much needed strength to silver.
The most traditional ratio is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. This ratio is called sterling silver, which is indicated with the number 925.
Sterling silver will not discolor or chip, making it a beautiful and enduring option. It may look dull or dirty at some point, but that is easily solved.
Taking care of sterling silver
– Rinse your silver jewelry with warm water and mild soap every once in a while.
– Dry them (and restore the shine) with a soft cotton cloth or a special jewelry cleaning cloth.
– Remove your silver jewelry before applying beauty products (lotion, perfume), before going swimming or showering & before using household cleaners.
This is a material consisting out of copper and zinc. It keeps its color throughout - so it’s not a layer over a base material. Brass is a beautiful age-old material that is still popular today. Our favorite cuff bracelets, which we have been selling for years, are made out of brass.
Over time, brass will naturally tarnish, due to the copper content. This means that it may get darker or dull. Depending on the PH value of your skin (the measurement of acidity), the brass can also react to your skin - leaving a light green color on it. It’s not harmful and you can remove it.
But it is good to know that when it comes to brass, there is a slight chance of this happening. It is hard to prevent though; as every PH value is unique.
Taking care of brass
– Rinse your brass jewelry with warm water and mild soap every once in a while.
– Dry and clean them (and restore the shine) regularly with a soft cotton cloth or a special jewelry cleaning cloth.
– For a proper clean you can use Brasso, a brass polish.
Overall jewelry care & tips
We believe that proper care and maintenance is necessary for all jewelry, regardless the material. The PH value of your skin has a huge effect on the tarnishing or discoloring of your skin and your jewelry. High acidity levels causes the skin to react to the jewelry. Warm weather can intensify the reaction.
Some tips that we find applicable to all jewelry, of all materials:
– Take your jewelry off during heavy-duty work like gardening or lifting weights.
– Keep away from chemicals and cleaners: remove your jewelry before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or before using household cleaners.
– Never use paper towels or toilet paper to clean your jewelry!
– Chemicals in lotions and perfumes can also cause your jewelry to tarnish. Apply your beauty products first, let them dry, and then put your jewelry on.
– If you accidentally leave your jewelry on during swimming, make sure to dry it afterwards.
– Always store your jewelry in a clean, dry and preferably dark place (please don’t store it in the bathroom!) All our Restored jewelry comes in a box which makes for perfect storage. Another container of some sorts or even wrapping in a cloth will work.
We’re proud to say that all of our jewelry is handmade. Just because of that, every piece should be treasured, doesn’t matter which material they are made of. The pieces are crafted by a maker, with care and diligence.
We curate our jewelry mindfully, looking for refined pieces that are high-quality, well-made and designed to last. We hope this guide will help you find the material that is the most enduring option to you.