You are here:

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/24 Karat Gold Overlay rubbing off


Dear Thomas,

I have a small retail jewelry business. I buy many of my gemstones from a wholesale supplier who sells his pieces as "24 Karat Gold Overlay" in bezels and chains etc.  The gold has rubbed off on several of the pieces I bought from him, revealing silver underneath.  Most of these pieces have never been worn and are kept in plastic bags. Is there any law about selling precious metal that is not what they tell you?  Or someone I could report him to?

thank you.

Dear Laura,

Even with the softness of "24 karat gold" an actual overlay would not rub off as you describe. What you actually have sounds like a very thin flash plate of high karat gold on silver. Technically and legally, gold over sterling is called "vermeil" (ver-may).  This is a quite thin electroplate and not near the thickness of what would be called an overlay.  Overlay imp-lied a thickness similar to that of gold filled, a gold bonded base metal with a long life in the gold layer.

This organization might help.  I do not know if there can be recourse for you but they do need to be aware of any fraudulent representation of jewelry items, such as those you have purchased.

The Jewelers Vigilance Committee

Contact info is at the site. Things like you have told me about are the reason this organization exists.

I would send the seller a strong letter of disapproval in the merchandise as represented.

Best wishes, Laura. Hope it works out well.  God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

©2017 All rights reserved.