Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between 14k, 18k, 24k gold, gold plated, gold filled, vermeil, etc.?
When buying jewelry it helps to understand the terminology.
Gold 14K, 18K, 24K - Gold is very soft metal, too soft for the purposes of jewelry. That is why gold is always mixed with an alloy, another metal that will give it a back bone. So imagine you have pie with 24 parts. When we say “Gold 18K” what we mean is there are 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of metal alloy. The gold industry mostly works with these set numbers: 14K, 18K and 24K and these denote the proportion of gold to the alloy.
Another interesting fact, is that the color of the alloy, the metal combined with the gold, gives the gold its varied coloring: soft yellow, deep yellow, rose etc. The finish of gold, matte or shiny is a surface characteristic.
Gold Filled: Here we have gold and an alloy mixed but the proportion is not exact. Gold filled is less expensive than Gold 14K and the color is stable.
Vermeil: Vermeil is fancy name to say that is gold plated over silver. It also denotes a certain quality: usually vermeil is silver that is dipped into liquid gold three times. There are three layers of gold over the silver so the color will not turn. I work a lot in vermeil because it is a great compromise: all the advantages of gold at a less expensive price.
Gold Plated 24K: Here is when we dip a metal (brass or other) into gold. At Love Rocks I often use Gold Plated 24K, which again is the best of all of all worlds: the looks of 24K at a much more affordable price.
Gold Plated: The base can be steel or brass, which is dipped in gold to form a thin layer of gold plating. However, the coating can wear out eventually, leaving your jewelry with the base only.
At Love Rocks Bijoux we never use nickel.
What is the difference between precious and semi-precious gem stones?
There are hundreds of gemstones but per definition only four are considered precious. They are: diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald. At Love Rocks Bijoux I work with semi-precious stones because they are gorgeous and affordable ( and seriously, it is time people think beyond diamonds!)
A word about diamonds
I love diamonds, most gems aficionados do. However,… the diamond industry, controlled by DeBeers, has done a tremendous marketing job in convincing the public that diamonds are the only gem worthy of attention. Not true! Their relentless marketing campaigns convince women that diamonds equaled love (thus the traditional engagement diamond ring). The same marketing campaign assures men that buying diamonds, not only was necessary to prove love and engagement, but it is a great investment because it was the only way to make a man’s monthly salary “last forever”.
But, you may say, aren’t diamonds the hardest stone and doesn’t that carry symbology, like everlasting love? To that I would say, “meh.” Stones are characterized by hardness in a scale called Moh’s Scale.
What is the Moh’s scale?
The Moh’s scale goes from 1-10, talk being the softest and diamond, the hardest, being a 10, the stone that can scratch every other stone but not be scratched. Emeralds, for instance, are very porous stones, not very high on the Moh’s scale, and yet, no one would turn down a clear emerald because of its low hardiness. Just saying.
I have a beautiful diamond engagement ring that I wear daily. I’m not against diamonds; just weary of how they are relentlessly hyped. There is a whole world of gems beyond diamonds. It’s high time to discover the possibilities: they are plentiful and beautiful.
When buying gems what should I be looking for?
If you were buying gems as a financial investment, like to send your kids to college or as retirement plan, I would say: don’t. (But if you’re determined in going that route, there are knowledgeable and market savvy gemologists that work as shopping consultants and I’d suggest hiring them.)
At Love Rocks Bijoux I made a conscious decision to work with affordable and beautiful gems so that women can afford to buy jewelry without breaking the bank.
If you’re buying gem jewelry to wear, what you should be looking for is that it pleases you. Simply that. I feel giddy around gems. The way they sparkle, their color combinations: they are eye candy. The lore goes that the gem chooses you and in part I do believe that. Many times, my eye catches and my hand seems to reach for a gem among many others, just because.
When I go out to purchase gems, I strive to strike balance between quality and price. Gems comes in all grades, and they are priced according to their clarity, size, weight, and how rare they are.