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Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • The Real Midas Touch: Only Then the French Would Call It “Plaqué Or” or “Gold-Plated”

    When we buy a piece of jewelry, we expect a certain quality and standard, often bouncing it in our hand to feel its weight. While gold is one of the most standardized materials these days, a long way from the days of alchemy and trickery, the benchmarks vary hugely from country to country. In this supposed era of globalization, the world unfortunately hasn’t had the time to harmonize these standards to simplify the life of our consumers.

    While comfortably sipping a cup of tea in front of your computer, you can easily purchase the necklace to go perfectly with your outfit from the other side of the planet. But do you really know what standard it’s made to? After looking through tons of information and discussing with professionals in the industry (aren’t you glad we did all the walking?), the team at Nuage is happy to share what we have learned. We’ll attempt to clarify and give you brief, but crucial points regarding the world of plated jewelry.

     

    Purity

    Did you know that 10-karat gold (41.7% pure gold) can be legally marked as gold jewelry in the United States, with 14k (58.3% pure gold) being the most popular purity? Whereas 9k is all it takes in the U.K. and various other countries have an even lower minimum of only 8k (that’s only 33% pure gold)! In France (also in Italy and Switzerland), 18k is the lowest permissible purity, well above the minimum in other places and beyond the popular 14k used in most fashion jewelry sold elsewhere in the world. You are in safe hands at Nuage as all products come from France, with a number of designers using the highest purity of 24k (99.9% pure gold).

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    Thickness

    Ok, we now have some grasp on purity but what about the classification of gold-plating? As you might have guessed, it also varies from one country to another. To start off with, gold-plating thickness is measured in microns (μ), with 1000 microns = 1mm. Once again, it looks like France is most stringent with this respect. In France, we can only call a piece “plaqué or” (gold-plated) if a piece of jewelry is covered with at least 3μ of gold. Otherwise, we can only label it as “doré” (literally “golden” or “gold flashed” or “gold washed” in more technical terms). In the U.S. or the U.K. however, that seemingly equivalent term “gold-plated” only requires a legal minimum of 0.5μ. You can even call it “heavy gold-plated” as long as it reaches 2.5μ thick in those countries, thinner than what the French would even define as plated!

    Is the thickness of the gold-plating that important for the fashion jewelry, you ask? The thicker the gold is, the more resistant your beloved jewelry will be to discoloration and scratching due to wear and tear.

     

    After all, pure gold is valued for its shine, stability and solidity since ancient times. We continue to ensure quality by offering “haute fantaisie” jewelry, as luxury fashion jewelry is called. Analogous to a piece of haute couture clothing, you can cherish and recognize it for its quality and craftsmanship and it will last in your jewelry box for a long time to come!

    La lueur de l'aube - HOR17FBP

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