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Material Guide

a.  sterling silver

silver was one of the first metals to be used and can be traced back to the ancient egyptian, phoenician, and byzantine empires. the work of silver was also popular in colonial america where it developed along other craft traditions. silver is now the metal that is mostly used throughout the world.

how to buy silver

in its purest state, silver can be as soft as gold and therefore it is generally alloyed with another metal, usually copper, to add strength. karatage is not used when technically speaking about silver because any piece of silver or sterling silver must be 92.5 percent pure to considered real silver. the finish of silver can be polished to a high sheen that not even platinum can match. the finish can also take on different textures when made into jewelry like polishing, matte or brushed, sandblasted, oxidized, or antiqued. often, silver will take on a worn looking finish because of a response that happens the wearer’s skin so before purchasing a piece of silver jewelry make sure that you are not allergic to silver. all sterling silver must be marked as such.

b.  rhodium plated silver

rhodium is a precious metal, a member of the platinum family. rhodium electroplating is used, especially on jewelry, to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish, and give a white, reflective appearance.

rhodium plating is most often found on white gold. the term white gold is something of a misnomer. gold is actually yellow, what jewelers call white gold today is an alloy (mixture) of gold and a white metal – usually nickel, silver, or palladium (another member of the platinum family). metals known as white are actually more of a gray color, so white gold has a yellowish cast. the higher the karat weight, the more gold there is in the alloy, the more yellow the cast appears. since the wearer of white gold is looking for a bright white look, a very thin layer of rhodium electroplating is used to make that jewelry shine. white gold plated with rhodium will also keep its good looks longer - rhodium will not tarnish or discolor, and since it is a harder substance, it is much less likely to get scratched

c.  cubic zirconia

cubic zirconia rings and other cubic zirconia jewelry are lovely substitutes for diamond jewelry. it has an interesting history combining science and beauty. two german scientists discovered it in 1937. however, it was not until the 1970's when russian scientist found a way to create it in a laboratory. cubic zirconia did not become popular until the 1980's when swarovski & co. began making them in mass quantities.

a cubic zirconia is made through a complicated process and is a made up of zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide. together the two chemicals create a beautiful, radiant crystal. it takes almost 5,000 degrees fahrenheit to melt the two chemicals together and the most important process is cooling. the chemicals must be carefully cooled in order to create flawless crystals. the cubic zirconia is a beautiful substitute for those who cannot afford a real diamond or just simply prefer not to spend that much. it has a little less sparkle and brilliance, but with more fire and color. also, a cubic zirconia weighs 75% more than loose diamonds with the same carat weight.

cubic zirconium stones are durable, brilliant, and beautiful and most people cannot tell the difference. cubic zirconia has a hardness of 8.5 of the mohs scale of hardness. cubic zirconia is clear and is brilliant. there are even some cubic zirconia that come in almost every color of the rainbow.

how to buy cubic zirconia

when buying cubic zirconia rings or other jewelry, look at the size and the clarity of the stone. top quality cubic zirconia stones should have beautiful fire and brilliance, while lower grade cubic zirconia stones are no different in appearance than glass. there are many different colors of cubic zirconia stones, one for every color on the rainbow. they are available in many shapes and sizes. cubic zirconia is relatively hard, but always protect them from scratches and hits.

d.  gemstones

precious gemstones – diamond, ruby, sapphire, emeralds

semi-precious gemstones – agate, alexandrite, amethyst, aquamarine, beryl, citrine, garnet, opal, spinel, tanzanite, topaz, turquoise, tourmaline, zircon, peridot.

when purchasing a gemstone there are the five characteristics to consider:

color – the color of a gemstone it its most defining feature. when deciding upon a gemstone color it is important to look at its hue, tone, and saturation. the jewelry industry as a whole recognizes the highest quality gemstones by their green, red, or blue hue, a medium to dark tone, and saturated color. the most valuable gemstones exhibit a pure color and only slight hues of other colors in addition to their primary color. tone represents the depth of the color, which can range from colorless to black. the tone of a gemstone is described as “light”, “medium-light”, “medium”, “medium-dark”, and “dark”. color purity, or saturation, refers to the degree in which the gem is free of brown or gray hues. the gemstones that are most sought after show little gray or brown and are often referred to as having vivid or strong color saturation.

clarity – gemstones form under unique circumstances and each individual gemstone is comprised of a combination of trace minerals that create identifying marks or inclusions in the gemstone itself. gemstones that are flawless are very rare and valuable and even the most high-end gemstones are at least slightly flawed. the best value is found in gems that are lightly to moderately included.

size – gemstones can be cut into a round, square, oval, or pear shape. the carat weight of a gemstone is not necessarily an accurate gauge for a gemstone only because all gemstones have different densities. two gemstones that have the same carat weight may actually have a different weight.

enhancements – almost all gemstones available have been enhanced. gemstones that have not been enhanced are very recognizable because of their incredibly high cost. some enhancements are an expected part of the polishing and finishing process and are accepted by the jewelry industry as a whole. almost every ruby or sapphire that you would find has been heated. heating completes a process that nature started, which is to enhance the gemstone to brilliant colors of blues and reds. placing emeralds in oil has been going on for centuries and fills tiny fissures in emeralds to make them even more beautiful.

cut – color saturation determines a gemstones cut. a greater color saturation requires a shallow cut, while less color saturation requires a deeper cut. with gemstones you will not find an ideal cut that is geometrically configured for brilliance like diamonds. to determine if a gemstone is top quality or not, in terms of its cut, look at the setting and make sure that all the facets are symmetrical. an asymmetrical cut crown indicates a gemstone of low quality. a well-cut gemstone is symmetrical and reflects light evenly across the surface and the polish of the stone is smooth without any nicks.

cabochon - a highly polished, convex-cut, unfaceted style.

birthstone chart

use the chart below to learn about some of the unique qualities and ancient folklore associated with modern birthstones.

january capricorn garnet - this birthstone is most commonly a deep red. in ancient folklore, it was believed to have magical properties, assuring the wearer of love and faithfulness.

february aquarius amethyst - this relative of quartz can be found in varying purple tones. in ancient greece, it was believed to protect one from the effects of wine!

march pisces aquamarine- in the same family of beryl stones as emeralds, "aquamarine" means "sea water." reminiscent of the clear blue ocean, gazing into this lovely stone has the power to transport you to remote island beaches.

april aries diamond - those with birthdays in april are fortunate to claim diamonds as their stone. originating from the greek "adamas," meaning indomitable, diamonds were believed to offer protection and strength in the face of adversity.

may taurus emerald - beloved and admired for their bold green hues, emeralds evoke wonder for the natural world. sacred to the goddess venus, this stone has been linked to fertility and creativity.

june gemini pearl - a unique, organic process is responsible for the creation of pearls inside the shells of mollusks. while symbols of innocence in ancient greece, today they have come to represent tradition and simplicity.

july cancer ruby - derived from the mineral corundum, rubies can be more valuable than diamonds when flawless! associated with royalty and the power of life, rubies have been highly revered for thousands of years

august leo peridot - the electric green of august's birthstone makes for radiant and exciting jewelry. it is no wonder that this stone, found in lava, traditionally was associated with the sun and endowed with many mystical powers.

september virgo sapphire - a cousin of the ruby, sapphires most traditionally are an intoxicating blue. virgos can enjoy wearing a stone connected with vision, purity, and spiritual enlightenment.

october libra opal - opaque white stones with rainbow color hues that dance upon the surface, the opal's complexity can be breathtaking. in ancient times, opals were highly valued for their shocking beauty.

november scorpio citrine and topaz - november offers a choice between two beautiful stones, citrine and topaz. according to ancient folklore, citrine connotes a sense of balance and well-being. topaz, originating from the sanskrit "tapas," means to glow, and jewelry adorned with topaz does just that.

december sagittarius tanzanite - while turquoise is often used as december's birthstone, now celebrate this month with tanzanite. discovered in tanzania in the 1960's, no other gem has become so popular so fast. found only in one hilly area of tanzania, this striking, purplish-blue stone is a gem of rare beauty.

e.  gold

gold’s softness and malleability makes it the perfect metal to create jewelry. it is also nontoxic, resists tarnishing, doesn’t corrode, is hypoallergenic, and retains its value making it very popular to wear. the natural color or shade of gold is yellow, which also happens to be the most commonly used shade of gold when making jewelry. yellow gold is alloyed usually with copper or silver to add strength because of how soft pure gold really is. another popular shade of gold is white gold made by mixing yellow gold with zinc, nickel, palladium, or copper.

how to buy gold

when buying gold always look for the karat mark to ensure that it is real. pure gold is usually 24k and is much too soft to make jewelry so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. for example, jewelry marked 18k gold means it is 75 percent pure gold. the designation placed on gold like the karat and the maker’s trademark is to ensure that it is real gold. in the untied states the most common karat of gold is 14k. nothing less than 10k gold can be legally sold in the united states. however, lower karatages are popular in other countries

f.  gold vermeil

gold vermeil, which is pronounced "vehr-may," is sterling silver plated with gold. the initial process originated in france around 1750. this technique called for fire gilding. jewelry makers applied mercury and gold to the silver and exposed the metal to extreme heat. the heat caused the mercury to vaporize and the layer of gold to adhere to the silver. however, the mercury vapors caused many artisans to become blind. france made this process illegal in the 1800s. modern gold vermeil is usually created using an electrolytic process, which is much safer than fire gilding yet produces a similar result.

in order to qualify as gold vermeil and not merely gold-plated silver, a piece of jewelry must meet certain requirements. the base must be pure sterling silver. it may not be coated with any other metal prior to having the layer of gold applied. finally, the gold layer with which the silver is plated must be at least 10-karat gold, and the layer must be at least two and one-half microns in thickness.

gold vermeil is comparable to pure gold in appearance and artisanship. because of its primary composition of sterling silver, gold vermeil is considerably more affordable than pure gold. since gold vermeil by definition cannot contain other metals, people with nickel allergies or sensitivity to other metals can wear gold vermeil jewelry pieces comfortably and safely. in addition, because of its increasing popularity, there is a wide array of choices in gold vermeil pieces.

how to buy gold vermeil

there are various different levels of quality in gold vermeil. as with pure gold, a higher number of karats mean a higher quality piece of jewelry. vermeil can be created using 10-karat, 14-karat, 18-karat, 24-karat, or 32-karat gold. 10-karat gold is the lowest quality and 32-karat the highest. you can find gold vermeil in different colors, including yellow, white, pink and tri-color

g.  gold plated

gold-plated jewelry is made by covering a base metal, usually silver, with a very thin layer of gold. since the gold layer is so thin and reactive with silver, it will eventually wear away despite your best attempts to preserve it. this wearing away process can take as little as a year depending on whether a barrier was created to separate the silver and gold layers. usually, a copper barrier will be used to slow down the reactive process. with the copper barrier, the gold-plating will still wear away, but it will take much longer than a year for it to do so.

h.  gold filled

we all know that gold is not inexpensive. an economical alternative that keeps a solid layer of gold in contact with your eyes and skin is gold filled jewelry. by law, it has 1/20th by weight layer of gold permanently bonded over a core of base metal. it has far more gold than the few microns coating of gold in gold plate, a hundred or more times the amount of gold, actually. under normal wear with reasonable care that you would give any precious metal jewelry, gold filled jewelry will not peel or flake and can be treasured as anheirloom piece. it is tarnish-resistant and is safe for most people with sensitive skin who can wear solid gold jewelry



jooyoo jewelry work team.


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