Have you been wanting to purchase a piece of breast milk or other keepsake jewelry, but you're not sure what type of metal you should choose? With so many different options out there, it can be difficult, and even quite overwhelming, to navigate these waters alone.
So, let's break it down a bit, shall we?
The most common metal type that you'll find keepsake jewelry offered in is sterling silver. If you like the look of silver metals, sterling is a high-quality, and cost-effective option. Sterling
silver consists of approximately 92.5% silver by weight and 7.5% other metals (typically copper) -making it a durable and timeless choice to house your precious elements. It can be cleaned with a bit of water and a soft microfiber cloth, which makes it easy to keep looking brand new. When cared for properly, sterling silver jewelry should last a lifetime!
Another metal option that you will often see when it comes to purchasing keepsakes is gold-plated jewelry. Plated jewelry consists of a base metal (often sterling silver) with a thin layer of gold over the top. While gold-plated jewelry will look beautiful at first, the top layer will eventually rub way over time (typically within 6-24 months, depending on the frequency of wear, etc.) and will need frequent re-plating to keep looking brand-new. Gold-plated jewelry is rather inexpensive in comparison to its solid gold counterparts, but the costs of maintenance will quickly add up over time.
As if there weren't already enough options, solid gold also comes in several levels of purity. The most common purities of solid gold jewelry are 9k, 10k, 14k, and 18k. The higher the karat number is, the higher percentage of gold that it contains; therefore, the more expensive the piece will be.
Additional purities of solid gold include 22 and 24 karats (100% pure gold); however, these are not commonly used to make jewelry. This is because the higher the purity of the gold is, the softer and less durable the metal becomes. If solid gold is the route you decide to go for your keepsake item, there are several factors that you'll need to consider when choosing a karat number -including your personal purity preference, color brilliance, and durability (but I will go into greater depth about this in next week's blog post).
Right about now, you may be thinking something along the lines of "well, what if I love the look of gold jewelry, but don't want a high-maintenance piece, but can't afford the price of solid gold?!" If this is you, gold-filled jewelry may just become your new BFF!
Okay, okay, now exactly what is gold-filled jewelry, anyways?
Gold-filled jewelry is compromised of a thick, solid layer of gold that is mechanically pressure bonded to another type of high-quality metal (often jeweler's brass or sterling silver). Unlike gold-plated jewelry, the color will not rub away or flake off with wear. Similar to sterling silver, it is durable, easy to clean, and should last a lifetime with proper care. All of this makes gold-filled jewelry a beautiful, high-quality, and cost-effective alternative to solid gold!