Andrea Estelle uses precious metals which are recycled or ethically sources. We don't support sending children or "expendables" to their potential death so we partner ourselves with suppliers that hold the same values of not encouraging horrendous mining practices.
We use Sterling silver and gold as well as thick gold plating which is referred to as Gold Vermeil and has a high intrinsic value as it is all precious metal!
Although Gold vermeil can be made using gold of different fineness we use ours with a thickness of at least 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters) and from 18 kt or 72% gold alloy.
Being made up entirely of two precious metals (silver and gold), vermeil jewelry has a greater intrinsic value than gold plated jewelry and the thickness of the gold plating ensures longer lasting wear particularly with items such as earrings that aren't exposed to friction and skin acids etc.
So that you can appreciate the process I will explain the gold plating process we use.
The piece in metal to be gold plated is immerged in an electrolyte solution with particles of gold which are deposited onto the surface of the base metal thanks to a current.
Micron gold plating is the same technique used to form gold vermeil; in vermeil a layer of at least 2.5 microns of gold (also referred to as “heavy gold plating”) is deposited onto silver but the term micron gold plating in general refers to the depositing at least 1 micron of gold onto a base metal like brass.
We do not use flash plating or gold plated brass metal, this is cheaper fashion jewellery , and ends up in landfill and thrift shops because it wears too quickly and has no intrisic value like our products.
We recommend you stay away from jewellery that is only one micron or less which simply refers to one micrometer= 0.000001 meter = 0.001 millimeter and certainly stay clear of anything that is Flash plated between 0.175 micron and 2.5 micron. “Flash” plating is the lowest quality of plating available and wears off very quickly, the thickness of gold in this case is below 0.175 micron.
How do you know.... Sometimes the price, sometimes the brand or where you bought it. Its hard to know, send me an email and I can tell you ;)
To extend the life of your plated jewellery we recommend removing plating jewellery before doing a physical activity (gym, chlorine pool) or taking a shower, which will also help prevent humidity altering the jewelry.
Do not apply cosmetics or perfume on the jewellery as the acids can effect the plating. Also when not in use, store your plated jewelry in a sealed plastic. Remember, Andrea Estelle Jewellery is Gold over Silver which means that if in 20 years the gold is gone, it is still valuable, just plate it again or wear it silver.