Gentle materials guide

How to choose my jewel in consideration of its materials ?

At Madeleine B. we are on a mission to deliver premium quality hand-crafted jewels, fitting your personal needs. We think buying a jewel online can be painful when it comes to understanding materials and their expected lifetime ! 

Transparency is key to meet this goal, that’s why every product sheet features all involved materials. Beside transparency, we are committed to provide only gentle materials.

 We want you to have the best understanding of how your jewel are crafted, and why each materials composing them is suitable for your skin !

You’ll be able to make more thoughtful choices, whether your skin is sensitive or not.


What do we consider as a gentle material ?

Gentle materials are respectful of the skin, they can be in extended contact with sensitive skins without causing any redness or itching. Our materials are all nickel, cadmium and lead free. 

Brass, gold plated, gold filled, vermeil, stainless steel… What is the difference ?

  • Brass is made of a combination of zinc and copper. As it is very malleable, it does not break easily. However, brass loses its luster and tarnish over time. That’s why all our brass findings are gold plated.
  • Gold filled is brass metal bonded with solid gold alloy, via heat and pressure (unlike electroplating or galvanoplastic used for gold-plated jewels). It is definitely the most resistant alternative to solid gold, as the gold layer must represent 5% of the jewel total weight.
  • Our Gold plated jewels are brass, stainless steel or silver jewels covered with a thin layer of gold (purity can vary), by a galvanoplastic or electroplated treatment. These two methods allow a unique or several layers to be applied on top of the chosen material. Depending on the microns layer applied, the color and its resistance through time may vary. More the layer is thick, more the jewel will be time-resistant. 
  • Vermeil is sterling silver covered with a thin layer of gold. It is more resistant than gold-plated brass as a thicker gold layer is applied to a sterling silver base rather than a metal one. The plating is minimum 2.5 microns thick and always over sterling silver. Its color is slightly different from gold-plated brass. 
  • Stainless steel is less precious than vermeil, gold filled or gold plated but very resistant to every-day usage as it is a corrosion-resistant alloy. It can keep its color for years ! It’s the most affordable quality-metal-based alternative. Our stainless steels are nickel free and have a gold tone.
  • Each material needs a special care to make it last longer ! For maintenance tips, consult our dedicated page here !

Why gold filled is so popular ?

“Gold filled” is a strictly regulated USA industry standard. The thick gold layer is legally obliged to represent 5% or 1/20 gold by weight. This gold proportion is then described by the karatage of the gold alloy (between 14 and 22K for Madeleine B. jewels). As a result, gold-filled is less likely to be scratched over time. 

It offers a durable and safe option. It is more affordable than solid gold and, in most cases, lasts longer than gold plated. 

It’s one of the best options when looking for a more wallet-friendly option to solid gold ! 

What are 14k, 18k, 22k and 24k gold ?

These mentions are all referring to karatage of solid gold. Solid gold is used for layering over silver or less precious metals like brass. Solid gold is an alloy and the karatage allows to describe its purity. Pure gold is 24k. However, using pure gold for “gold filled” layers or gold electroplating is not required nor suitable. In many cases, 24k gold is much too soft to work with. To make it harder, solid pure gold is often mixed with other metals. 

You may find it written “k” or “kt”, both meaning karats. For example, 14 karat gold is 14/24 pure gold.

We use different karat gold at Madeleine B., allowing a large range of gold tones.

Depending on your budget and your frequency of usage, you can opt for the more suitable material and directly filter our jewels by this attribute.

Have any other questions? Shoot us an email at or chat with us anytime via our Whatsapp embedded chat.