The "vermeil" technique of plating sterling silver with gold originated in France in the 1750s. It differs from "gold filled" or "gold plated" in terms of the thickness or thinness of the microns over sterling silver. "Gold filled" pieces have a much thicker layer, between 15 and 45 microns, which is mechanically bonded to the base metal with heat and pressure. Vermeil is a more expensive version of "gold plated". It does not wear off as quickly as gold plating does. However, over time, vermeil wears off and therefore will require re-plating.
Over time your plated items will need to be re-plated. Contact your local jeweler for information on plating services.
“Ammolite” is the name for a type of fossilized mother-of-pearl, not be confused with “ammonite”, which is the sea creature that lived in the shell.
Ammonites were squid-like creatures that swam the seas more than 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Their shells were constructed into a unique series of air chambers that allowed them to float and move through the water using jet propulsion. Today, these complex chamber walls appear as intricate patterns in the fossils. Ammonites were abundant in all the oceans until they became extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs.
Because each gemstone is a fossil, ammolite is regarded as one of the rarest gems on earth. The preserved mother-of-pearl went through a mysterious geological and mineralization transformation, giving it light refracting characteristics that qualify it today as a precious gem. Ammolite is capable of splitting sunlight into every color imaginable, a fact that illuminates why the stone came to be known as the "Seven Color Prosperity Stone" by Feng Shui masters.
Ammolite is only found in the Bearpaw formation that extends from Alberta to Saskatchewan in Canada and to Montana in the United States. Those found in and around Alberta display the most vivid colors. Ranking 5-7 on the Mohs Scale, pricing is based on size, shape, number of colors present, brightness of those colors, and overall appearance. Each ammolite is unique and the rarest stones show three or more colors.
In 1908, a member of the National Geological Survey team found fossils of ammonite along the St. Mary's River in Alberta. It was not until 1981 that enough high-quality ammolite was discovered to make mining commercially viable. The International Commission of Colored Gemstones officially recognized it as a gemstone at that time.
Being one of the three organic gemstones, in addition to amber and pearl, ammolite is commonly impregnated with a colorless hardened substance to increase stability. It has been compared to opal in that it can either be spinel-capped or a natural doublet. The spinel-capped version is very similar to the opal triplet, while the natural doublet is similar to an opal doublet.
The stone was named for Ammon, the ancient Egyptian god of life and reproduction, because the shell of the ammonite was similar in appearance to the ram-headed deity’s horns. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder regarded ammolite as the holiest of stones because it was said to evoke prophetic dreams. The Blackfoot Tribe of North America came to know ammolite as the “buffalo stone”, as it signified wealth and abundance and played a key role in their traditional culture and magic.
A selection of our jewelry is made of sterling palladium alloy. Palladium is a member of the platinum group of precious metals. By replacing a portion of the copper content used in standard sterling silver with palladium, this proprietary formula renders a precious metal with superior performance attributes. Sterling palladium is five times more tarnish-resistant than standard sterling silver and has strength similar to that of 14K gold.
Palladium has been used as a precious metal in jewelry since 1939, originally as an alternative to platinum for making white gold. Its naturally white color requires no rhodium plating. Additionally, palladium is proportionally much lighter than platinum and is ideal for use in heavier gemstone jewelry. It is a more expensive alloy than nickel, but it seldom causes the allergic reactions that nickel alloy can.
To care for your plated jewelry items: