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Metal Terminology

Many different terms are used when talking about precious metals.  Here are a few different definitions to help you understand the difference:

Karat (kt) is the measure of fineness of gold. 24kt is pure gold. 14kt gold is 14/24 pure gold. The balance is alloy. 14kt is the standard fineness used for most jewelry in the USA. 10kt, then, would be 10/24 pure gold. Both the 14kt and 10kt used in our rings have a rich gold color and a hardness and durability suitable for lasting use.

Gold filled products give you the look and feel of 14 karat gold for a fraction of the price.  Gold filled, also called rolled gold or gold overlay, is made by heat and pressure bonding a layer of karat gold to a brass alloy core. The exterior of the product, everything you can see or touch is a solid layer of  karat gold, in contrast to gold plated items which usually consist of a microscopic film of gold particles covering a base metal by an electroplating process. Due to the particles, gold-plate has the tendency to chip , flake and wear off. The gold layer on gold-filled products is approximately 100 times thicker than gold-plate and due to its bonding process does not tarnish, chip or wear off. For this reason gold filled items are generally considered lifetime products.  The 1/20 notation refers to the ratio of karat gold to brass core by weight, which is 5% by federal standards. When you see 14/20 Gold filled it means that the product is 5% 14 karat gold, 12/20 Gold filled means the product is 5% 12 karat gold etc.  All of our products (including the wire, chain, beads, clasps and rings that we use on our gold filled rosaries and bracelets, as well as all medals, centerpieces and crucifixes) are 14/20 Karat gold filled.     

Sterling silver items are made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other alloy, proportions fixed by law. It will “patina” in time, that is, its color will take on an antique look. Our selection of sterling silver crucifixes, centers and side medals are produced to the highest standards of artistry and workmanship by several exceptional manufacturers in  the USA. All pieces come with a lifetime guarantee.

Silver Oxidized – These beautiful centers and crucifixes are composed of a solid brass core with a heavy silver plating and an antique finish, and each piece is individually die struck.  These centers and crucifixes are also produced in the USA by Bliss Manufacturing  and come with a lifetime guarantee.  

Nickel silver is a compound of nickel, copper and zinc, also called “base metal.” Though it does not retain the luster of other materials such as sterling and has no silver content, it is a strong, durable metal.

Pewter is a metal alloy of pure and elemental metals. It is composed mostly of tin with smaller amounts of copper and other metals for malleability. The pewter rosary centers and crucifixes that we offer on our custom rosaries are produced in the USA by Bliss Manufacturing. Bliss makes their pewter medals and crucifixes with a special high grade pewter that is lead and cadmium free, developed to provide medals that are light and durable, with the same beautiful detail as on their sterling silver and gold filled pieces. These products have a lifetime guarantee.