Since we gave away a beautiful Sterling Silver Sea Turtle Bracelet, I want to take a moment and explain an important point.
The bracelet is grayish with a slight gold color on the turtlebacks. It is marked 925 on the clasp. This is one of the purity marks indicating sterling silver. The other mark is 925 K.
You are probably asking yourself, "What is going on?" Did Vicki really write gold color on sterling silver and a "K" behind a 925 mark? Yes, I really did. This is known as Vermeil.
Vermeil is sterling silver plated with at least 2.5 microns of 10 K gold or higher. The gold layer is very thin, so it isn't worth buying it for the gold content. However, the base metal is sterling silver, which is a valuable precious metal. Now when you see these items, you will know what they are.
These pieces can even be completely gold in color with a sterling silver mark. Trust the mark, not the color of the piece. This will keep you from paying a solid gold price for a sterling silver item. However, the piece is NOT worthless or junk, since sterling silver is a precious metal.
You will probably encounter silver and gold colored pieces with their different respective marks. The items will look weird being two toned. Most people will pass them over without a closer look, because of the weirdness. Don't be the one that passes them up instead snap them up. Remember, they are sterling silver. Keep that in mind as you search for your treasure.
The jewelry in this picture is vermeil. Notice the gold color, but the purity marks are sterling silver. The gold color on the bangle bracelet has pretty much worn off, but there is still a little to make you wonder why it has spots. Now you know why.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting,
Author of "Cheap Gold and Silver"