Quality that’s hallmarked
What a lot of people don’t realise however, is that gold is not always used in a pure state. Historically one might have gauged the quality of gold jewellery by its carat—14ct, 18ct and so on, which is a measure that denotes the percentage of gold in that piece, and comes with some easily recognisable hallmarks. At Annoushka we use 18ct solid gold, hallmarked with the numbers 750, a mark provided by the Assay Office, the UK authority on precious metals. Gold vermeil, by contrast, is the name given to jewellery made from a base metal such as brass, copper, nickel and sterling silver which has been electronically plated with a layer of gold. The plating process itself requires a great deal of energy and often involves toxic chemicals like cyanide, but beyond the toxicity, by using gold in this way, jewellers are removing its intrinsic capacity to be re-purposed. The solution is not to provide the consumer with a lifetime re-plating guarantee, but to encourage jewellery designers, where possible, to use real gold, that can be treasured and passed down to future generations.