Do You Know What's in Your Jewelry? Not All Jewelry is Created Equal


Organic. All-natural. Led and Paraben-free. 

These are just a few of the health conscious buzz words flying around these days. 

More than ever before we are researching and asking about the quality of our food, the paint on our walls and the products we put on our skin, but have you ever stopped to think about what’s in the jewelry you are wearing? The jewelry that is touching your skin all day long?

So how can you know what your jewelry is really made of, and if it is safe, or if what you’re getting is actually what the jewelry maker claims it to be?

All Jewelry is Not safe

The problem is that unless you’re buying from a trusted and reputable source, the average consumer really won’t know if the jewelry they are buying is safe or not.

And even more importantly, many jewelry retailers don’t know what’s in the jewelry they are selling. Analysis done for the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health revealed some jewelry sold in big box retail chains contained large amounts of Cadmium (a cheap metal alternative, which has links to cancer and reproductive harm after prolonged exposure).

Lab testing found 31 adult jewelry items purchased from retail stores were at least 40% Cadmium, and most were more than 90%. And we are putting these metals on our bodies….and even worse…our children’s bodies!

quality: Make sure you are getting your money’s worth

In addition to understanding the safety implications of the jewelry you are buying and wearing, it’s also important to know that you are getting your money’s worth. I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste my money on a piece of jewelry that is going to turn my ears or my neck green! Yuck, right?!

This is why it is important to educate yourself before you buy. If you have heard us talking at a show or even reading our posts on Instagram, then you have probably heard us use the term "gold filled". We pride ourselves on the fact that our jewelry is made of of 18k gold fill—a metal that most mid-level jewelry brands do not use by the way! 

But what exactly does gold filled mean? Well - I created this handy dandy graphic to explain exactly that!

Golf fill vs gold plated graphic.jpg

Gold filled jewelry is a high quality metal; gold filled means a permanently bonded thick layer of solid gold over a base metal like brass, copper or silver. Gold plated jewelry, on the other hand, is a very thin layer of gold added to a base metal such as brass, copper or silver. This plating quickly wears off when worn regularly due to the air, rubbing, sweat, etc.

Gold-filled jewelry is bonded at a very high temperature resulting in a thick layer of metal. This process is more expensive, yet results in a much higher-quality piece.

The layer of gold alloy on gold plated jewelry is so minuscule that it easily wears off when exposed to air, sweat and other components. In fact, gold filled jewelry has 100x more gold alloy than gold plated, and because that layer is so much thicker, it means gold filled jewelry lasts longer and stands up to wear and tear.

Gold-filled pieces can still tarnish, but it takes special circumstances for that to happen. As long as the pieces are well cared for, gold filled jewelry can last a lifetime and even be passed down from one generation to the next.

Questions you should ask before Buying a piece of jewelry…

Ask the designer/jeweler:

  • Where do you source your stones?

  • What metals do use? Solid gold, gold filled, gold plated or sterling silver?

  • Does your jewelry contain Lead, Nickel, Cadmium or any other harmful substances?

    Ask yourself:

  • Will I wear this piece for years to come or is it just a fleeting trend?

  • Would I feel comfortable gifting or passing down the piece of jewelry to a friend or family member

  • Do I REALLY love it?

So, Why Bird’s Tail Designs?

When we design and make a piece of jewelry at Bird's Tail, quality and safety is of the utmost importance to us. We research our stone and metal suppliers and only work with individuals whom we trust. We also use high quality metals and stones to give our customers pieces that they can wear again and again, and feel safe doing so.

With all of the other things that we have to worry about in our world, who wants to waste their time (and money!) worrying about what's in their jewelry?!

At the end of the day, jewelry is really about memories and love; you want to know what you’re both giving and receiving. That’s why what your jewelry is made of really matters.

“Jewelry is a way of keeping memories alive.” Anonymous

With gratitude each and every day,


Shop these safe + high quality 18k gold filled pieces...


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