NOORDLEEV® jewellery is fine jewellery ‘Made in Germany’. We process high-quality 925 sterling silver and plate with 24ct gold. But what exactly does that mean? In this first part of our post we explain what the gold and silver alloys are all about.
All that glitters is not gold – fine gold and gold alloys
We value the incomparable colour and purity of pure gold, which is why we only plate our jewellery with 24-carat gold. The term carat provides information about the fineness of gold, i.e. how large the weight percentage of pure gold is in a gold alloy. It is calculated in 1/24 parts. Accordingly, 24-carat gold contains 24/24 parts by weight of gold – it doesn’t get any higher quality. One also speaks of fine gold, since it is not an alloy.
Alloys generally contain less to very little gold compared to fine gold. The lower the carat number, the more silver, copper and other metals it contains. The most common gold alloys for plating are: 18 carat or 750 / – and 14 carat or 585 / -. There is also jewellery that is only 18 carat, 14 carat or even without any indication of the fineness yellow gold plated. This is done to lower the price, but at the expense of quality and appearance. However, this is out of the question for NOORDLEEV! We only process fine gold of the finest quality for you, because for us there is no more beautiful gold tone than the warm, shimmering yellow of pure gold.
The unmistakable sheen of silver
In the case of silver alloys, the fineness of silver is not given in carats, but in parts per thousand. 925 silver, also known as sterling silver, contains 925 out of 1000 parts or 92.5% silver. Pure fine silver would be too soft for jewellery processing, so copper is added, which makes the alloy harder and more stable. It goes without saying that the silver alloy we use is free of nickel and therefore suitable for people with a nickel allergy.
However, silver has the natural property of tarnishing over time. Often silver jewellery is therefore rhodium-plated, that means coated with a thin layer of rhodium. Even if other jewellery suppliers advertise this as a refinement – we reject this approach for our silver jewellery. Rhodium has its own color, similar to silver, but lighter and cooler. Rhodium plating therefore loses the unmistakable sheen of the silver – the effect is falsified.
The tarnishing of silver can be avoided by keeping the jewellery as dry as possible and occasionally cleaning it with a soft silver cleaning cloth. Another tip: Frequent wearing of your silver jewellery can also be used for care, because this rubs off the blackening sulfide layer. Of course, only in places that have frictional contact. But this can also be seen positively, because as the blackening in the indentations increases, your piece of jewellery appears more and more sculptural and lively.
The organic-looking surfaces of NOORDLEEV jewellery become even more sculptural and beautiful with the natural blackening of the silver. In the ‘Silver Sea’ collection, the antique look is achieved through artificially accelerated blackening.
In the second part you will learn what a plating is and why ‘Made in Germany’ is so important to us.