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What is Fine and Demi-fine Jewellery?

What is Fine and Demi-fine Jewellery?

What is Fine and Demi-fine Jewellery?

What is Fine Jewellery?

Fine jewellery is made with precious metals like palladium, platinum, gold, silver, and the best of diamonds and stones.

Breakdown of solid gold in fine jewellery

- 24ct gold is pure gold (purest of all), but it's too soft and susceptible to scratches, so it's not practical for everyday use. It's also very orange in colour, that's why jewellery is made in 14ct, 18ct and 22ct.

- 18ct gold is 18 parts of gold to 6 parts other metal (i.e. 75% gold)

- 14ct gold is 14 parts of gold to 10 parts other metal (i.e. 58.3% gold)

Precious metal fine jewellery is made to last, combining rich design, meaningful integrity and modern craftsmanship techniques, making it valued higher than demi-fine jewellery. The reason for this is that the contents of precious metal used in earringsnecklaceschainspendants, or bracelet fine pieces have a much higher percentage of precious metal than microns.

Fine jewellery is a timeless gift- an investment & tangible piece of art recognised by. The elegance and class of fine jewellery draw any woman's eye, as the precious metal has always been admired for its beauty and uniqueness – let it be in its solid form or crafted.

Fine jewellery isn't just traditional anymore. With the rise of sustainable and slow fashion, it's become more affordable and current. These pieces are not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical for everyday luxury. This shift towards sustainability and affordability in slow fashion has made modern and elegant fine solid gold jewellery accessible to all.

What is Demi-Fine Jewellery?

Demi-fine jewellery, a term swiftly coming into the fashion world in recent years, is a fine line between understated and high-street jewellery. It spans from small pieces such as earrings or bracelets to simple but chic necklaces. It's a look that's anything but boring and has made its presence felt.

Street or high-street jewellery now refers to the new trend of demi-fine jewellery, commonly made with a base metal of 925 sterling silver, typically plated with a thin layer of gold known as vermeil. This is distinct from 18ct solid gold. The amount of gold in vermeil jewellery is minimal, usually between 1-5 microns in thickness - to put that in perspective, 1 millimetre is equivalent to 1000 microns. 

Therefore, the gold content in vermeil jewellery is similar to a light dusting. Hence, it's essential not to confuse 18ct vermeil jewellery with 18ct solid gold fine jewellery.

Vermeil (pronounced "vermay") is gold-plated jewellery originating in France in the 18th century. The name comes from the French word "vermeil," derived from "vermilion," a bright reddish-orange colour.

For a piece of jewellery to be considered vermeil, it must meet specific standards:

  1. Base Metal: The core metal must be sterling silver. Sterling silver is a high-quality silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper. This makes it a durable and valuable base for vermeil jewellery.
  2. Gold Plating: The sterling silver base is then coated in gold. The gold used for this process must be at least 10 karats (around 42% pure gold) for the jewellery to be officially considered vermeil.
  3. The thickness of Gold: The layer of gold on a vermeil piece must be a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimetres)- a strand of hair. This is a relatively thick layer compared to gold-plated jewellery, making vermeil jewellery more durable and longer-lasting.

Creating vermeil jewellery is generally electroplating, which uses an electric current to bind the gold to sterling silver. Vermeil jewellery tends to be more expensive than gold-plated or gold-filled jewellery due to the use of sterling silver as the base metal and the thickness of the gold plating. 

It's essential to remember the distinction between fine jewellery and demi-fine jewellery. Vermeil gold plating, often used in demi-fine jewellery, can gradually wear away due to sufficient scuffs and scratches. In contrast, pure gold used in fine jewellery is solid gold that doesn't tarnish. A simple wash with warm soapy water can quickly restore its glow if it loses its shine.


The Difference Between Solid Gold vs Plated, Vermeil and Filled in Jewellery

Solid Gold Jewellery (18ct solid gold)

- Only pure gold + precious alloys, no base metal.

- Doesn't discolour or tarnish.

- Most hypoallergenic.

- Highest quality.

- Best for everyday wear, so you need to take it off.


Gold Plated Jewellery

- Has brass base, which is dipped in gold very quickly.

- Less than 1% of pure gold.

- Can irritate the skin more (i.e. green colour).

- Fades quickly and rubs off.


Gold Vermeil Jewellery

- The main base is sterling silver 92.5%

- More hypoallergenic than brass.

- Fraction of extra layer of gold than gold plated.

- Can fade with scuffs and scratches.


Gold Filled Jewellery

- Use a mechanical bonding process; two gold-filled layers are mechanically joined under heat and pressure.

- A thicker coating than plating and vermeil.

- Stamped with carat number.

- Can eventually fade with everyday wear.