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Caring for Your Jewelry

Purple Mermaid Designs offers jewelry in several metal choices - 14k gold, 10K gold, gold vermeil and sterling silver. Here is information about your jewelry metals and proper care suggestions.

About Gold

What is the difference between 10K and 14K? There is a difference in purity, price, durability, color and even potential allergies. 24K gold is pure gold, but it too soft for jewelry. Therefore, alloys must be mixed in with the Gold in order to make it durable enough for everyday use. 10K Gold means 10 parts Gold and 14 parts alloy, while 14K means means 14 parts Gold and 10 parts alloy.

Regarding color ~ pure 24K gold is quite yellow. Therefore, the less pure the gold, the paler the color. 10K gold would therefore be a paler color yellow than 14K gold, although the color difference is very minimal.

Regarding price ~ the purer the gold, the higher the price.

Regarding potential allergies ~ allergies to gold are rare, but if you have an allergy to alloys, choosing 14K or 10K gold reduces the alloy content and potential for any allergic reaction to your jewelry.

Follow the same principals when making decisions about Gold Vermeil jewelry. 

About Sterling Silver

Our .925 Sterling Silver is made up of  92.5% silver, the remaining 7.5% percentage is made up of copper. Copper is added to silver to give it durability. The copper content is what causes silver to tarnish. Sterling silver will tarnish. This is not a defect but the result of a natural chemical process that occurs when sterling silver is exposed to chemicals in the air. Other common tarnish causing elements are wool, rubber bands and latex gloves. Humid environments will accelerate tarnishing as well.  Many of our designers offer a rhodium coating making the sterling silver more tarnish resistant. Sterling silver can always be easily cleaned and restored to its original luster.
Our sterling silver offerings are Argentium sterling silver - a modern silver alloy which modifies the traditional alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) by replacing some of the copper with the metalloid germanium and is tarnish resistant.

Caring for Sterling Silver Jewelry

The easiest way to keep your sterling silver looking great is preventative maintenance. Avoid exposing your sterling silver jewelry to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume. Keep with non-tarnish paper or in sealed polyethylene/zip lock bags when not being worn. Washing your jewelry periodically with mild dish soap and warm water is a quick and easy way to prevent tarnishing. Be sure to rinse well and dry completely with a soft cloth before storing. Use of a polishing cloth, such as the Sunshine Polishing Cloth, makes cleaning your sterling quick and easy. 
Frequent light polishing with one of these cloths will also help minimize tarnish. Tarnish is easily removed when first noticed (generally a yellowish tint) but will become more difficult to remove as it turns brown and eventually black-requiring professional cleaning and/or harsher chemicals that can harm the jewelry.

Please remember that buffing your personalized jewelry can cause your monogram to be damaged so light polishing around the monogram is always recommended. We recommend Sunshine Polishing Cloths for routine cleaning and buffing. Silver Dip can be used for an occasional deep clean. Care must be taken not to scratch your jewelry during cleaning. Should you incur scratch damage to your jewelry around your monogram, please consult a jeweler for repair. Please be aware that any oxidized (blackened) lettering cannot be exposed to silver dips ~ clean only with a dry polishing cloth as the oxidation will become damaged.


Caring for Gold Vermeil Jewelry

Gold Vermeil is produced by thickly coating Sterling Silver with 14K gold.  A base metal is not used.  To be considered vermeil, the coating must be at least 1.5 micrometers thick. This layer is quite thick and will outwear a gold plated item. You should avoid wearing gold vermeil jewelry in the bath, shower, or when swimming. Do not have gold vermeil jewelry machine polished or dipped in any cleaning agent, these processes can wear away at the gold layer. Use a soft, clean cloth to remove dirt, oils and other material from the jewelry. 
Should your gold vermeil jewelry become damaged at any time, we are always happy to repair your item.