gold filled: composed of a solid layer of gold, which must constitute at least 5% of the item’s total weight, mechanically bonded to sterling silver or a base metal. Gold filled has the same appearance as 14 karat gold. Even with daily wear, gold filled items can last years, because they are 5 to 10 times thicker than regular gold plating, which will tarnish pretty quickly.
sterling silver: by definition and international agreement, sterling silver 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% some other material, usually copper. The 92.5% is why jewelry is stamped with the numbers 925.
vermeil: gold plated sterling silver. The gold is usually 18k or higher, up to 24k gold. Vermeil is made entirely of precious metals, which gives the piece intrinsic value. We use at least 22k gold in all our vermeil pieces.