Jewelry Material Guide When you buy jewelry you will frequently see that the jewelry is made from "sterling silver" or "14 karat gold" or some other term. Sometimes these terms aren't familiar so we have created this brief guide to help you make informed purchases when you are buying a piece of Catholic jewelry. Sterling Silver – This precious metal is composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or other metal. These proportions must be exact or the item cannot be called sterling. Sterling silver will tarnish over time, giving it an antique look. Polishing it with a silver jewelry cloth and minimizing the contact to air when not worn will reduce this effect. Also called Silver 925(%). Platinum – This metal is the hardest precious metal available. It resembles white gold, but is heavier and significantly more expensive. It retains its shine and needs little to no polishing. Platinum parts are not readily available commercially. Rose, Green, and White Gold – Rose gold is a mixture of gold and copper. Green Gold is a mixture of gold and silver. White gold is a mixture of gold and nickel. Green gold is used mostly in Black Hills Gold jewelry. Pewter – Pewter is an alloy traditionally made of tin, antimony (a metallic element), copper, and lead (although there are now lead-free offerings available). The color is a dull, dark silver that can be polished for a shine (called diamond-cut). Oxidized Silver– Tarnished silver, usually from oxygen. Also called antique silver. Gold Filled – Made by combining a layer or layers of gold alloy to a base metal (usually brass or copper), then rolling or drawing the metal to the desired thickness and shape. It has a long life and can be worn by most people without reactions or difficulties. Gold, Silver, Rhodium, or Nickel Plated – items have an industry standard of .15 to .25 mils thickness of gold, silver or nickel which is plated to the surface of the base metal. Plating will wear off over time. Karat (kt)– This is the measure of fineness of gold. 24kt is pure gold, 14kt gold is 14 parts pure gold. The balance is alloy. 14Kt gold is the industry standard for fine gold. Vermeil – made of sterling silver, heavily electroplated with 22kt yellow gold. Filigree – Lace-like ornamental work of fine gold or silver wire Rhodium – An expensive whitish-gray metallic element from the platinum family, used to slow down tarnishing. Enamel – Colored, opaque glassy material fused onto metal, pottery or glass. Don't forget to shop our extensive line of Catholic jewelry the next time you need a special gift.