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All that Glitters

Sausalito Silver - All that Glitters Article

While checking out a national department store’s newspaper insert, the words Fine Silver really caught my eye. In my 40 years of experience in dealing with sterling, those two words together meant one thing, 999.9 Silver. That’s as pure as it gets folks and way too soft for manufacturing. I read on and found they were advertising plated silver jewelry. So now what does that mean? A fine job of plating?

What’s happened is the jewelry buyers have nudged (translation...pushed) their suppliers into plating brass, copper or whatever, in an attempt to keep the price points low. This includes Gold plating as well. Vermeil, (pronounced ver-may) is gold plated sterling silver. The silver has value but the plating is basically worthless. That’s the high end of plating. I don’t want to go off on a technical rant but typically, plated jewelry has two to three microns of silver for a coating. An individual human hair ranges from 40 to 120 microns if that helps you get around to calculating silver thickness and value of same.

So who is going to direct you to the real thing in a major chain? The sales person, aka, Sales Associate? Doubtful during the 4th quarter holiday season because your associate is quite likely a “Christmas hire.” That equates to pretty much zero training. The department manager is capable. Otherwise you have to read everything regarding the silver piece you are considering. Not too tough. Just don’t wear your shopping feet out standing there looking for the .925 stamp on the jewelry. The majors are very careful in what they sell you and it’s stated in plain English. However, you have to read what’s on the card or vehicle the jewelry is attached to or displayed on. Also, remember that old "All that glitters" thing we learned from our parents.

Written by and Copyright © Doug Clemens www.sausalitosilver.com

About The Author:
Doug has been involved with almost every facet of the Sterling Silver Jewelry industry since 1974. His experience includes manufacturing, importing and distribution, resource for major department stores and independents, as well as the owner of retail outlets.

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