Jewelry: we obviously love it, we 're here because we shop for it, and have some (or many) pieces. But have you ever found yourself questioning the material and quality you're actually getting when you purchase it?
At Elizabeth Sarah Collections we don't hide anything from our customers. In fact, we may overshare a bit, but hey that's who we are and we're PROUD of the products we create.
Oftentimes we are asked if we "gold dip our crystals". While we receive many other questions like this referring to our materials and process, we just want to set the record straight, with correct terminology - and the reasoning behind it- and put all the information you need to know in one place!
We love educating you about the materials we use so you are making an informed decision when purchasing from our team.
First things first.
Yes, we use real gold, and in several forms. We have a Fine Collection which is made up of all 14K Solid Gold pieces, including the chains. In this collection, we also feature VS1 flawless, colorless diamonds of the highest quality. For more information on these pieces, visit the blog that explains it all.
For our One of a Kind and Small Batch Collections, we use Gold Vermeil for our chains and wire, which the wire is delicately wrapped around gemstones and fastened to the chain. Gold Vermeil is 18kt Gold over Sterling Silver, which differs both in physical form and price from gold plated and gold filled material.
Here's the differences so you know what to look out for: Gold vermeil and gold plated are both types of jewelry that have a layer of gold over another metal. The main difference is that gold vermeil has a thicker layer of gold (at least 2.5 microns) over sterling silver, while gold plated has a thinner layer of gold (as thin as 0.5 microns) over a cheaper metal like copper, brass, aluminum, or pure silver. Gold vermeil is more durable and higher quality than gold plated.
Gold filled jewelry is also different - created by adding heat and pressure to bond the gold, and it must be at least 5% gold by weight. Gold filled jewelry has quality similar to gold vermeil. Gold plated jewelry has a very minuscule amount of gold however, and it may wear down or cause metal allergies.
And if you haven't dozed off yet, we also feature 24kt Gold Electroplating on many pieces of jewelry, most notably our Shark Tooth styles. Our 24kt Gold (and silver) plated necklaces are created by a process called electroplating. The result is a “dipped” effect, as if the piece has been dipped in gold or silver. The electroplating technique involves fusing gold or silver on top of a base metal, creating a magnetic bond with the piece that is being electroplated.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to design - each and every artist uses mediums and materials they feel comfortable with.
When it comes to the components of each necklace, Elizabeth uses both semi-precious and precious gemstones, alongside sharks teeth, sea glass and sea shells.
The four precious gemstones are not up for debate - they are Diamond, Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire.
Other stones such as Turquoise, Citrine, Spinel, Amethyst, Tourmaline (I can go on and on) are in the semi-precious category.
As gemologists learn more about their own craft, its actually becoming less common to differentiate the two categories as it's becoming outdated. Now, most gems are now mainly identified and separated by their price per carat. (I even just learned that today!)
However, another question we frequently get asked is if we use Swarovski Crystals.
Swarovski Crystals are man-made from a type of glass produced from quartz sand. The quartz sand is heated to a very high temperature and then melted down. The melted quartz is then put into a mold and cooled down. Swarovski Crystal has a chemical coating that is used to create the many different colors of the crystals.
While this line is now a household name and in high standards with many, simply put, they are not real stones produced from Mother Nature like the gemstones we use are.
The colors of each gemstone that Elizabeth uses are natural, formed in the earth from heat, cold, water, pressure and other organic means.
Similarly, we do not use ceramic, plastic or glass beads. Again, there's nothing wrong with any of these materials, Elizabeth simply prefers authentic gemstones.
Now, as for the small batch favorites like shark teeth, sea shells and sea glass, all of these materials are found by our team on our beaches (or on vacation!) or are sustainably sourced from local collectors.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about what we do and the materials used in your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) pieces of jewelry!
Even more information can be found via the drop down menu on our homepage from the sandwich bar located in the top left hand corner. So stick around and explore, or come to the gallery at 1249 Mayport Road in Atlantic Beach, FL!