Buying jewelry may top your list of “most-fun but-most-confusing”
activities if you don’t know a few basics about jewelry materials -
particularly about precious metals, which are hard to ignore if
you’re looking for the perfect bracelet, necklace, earrings, rings,
brooches or pins, cufflinks or tie tacks. Here are a few facts
about precious metals.
Since precious metals in contemporary jewelry play such an important role in the appearance, durability and cost of a piece, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few basic metallurgy terms. That way you’ll be ready to make informed decisions when buying jewelry and choose a piece that’s right for you. Our professional associates can guide through the process. Visit or contact us.
Precious metals are very rare metals that also have desirable characteristics - like their ability to make beautiful jewelry. Eight metals are deemed precious: silver, gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.
Precious metals used to make jewelry are also called “noble” metals. Unlike easily-oxidized metals such as nickel, brass, and copper, noble metals have a high surface luster and do not rust or corrode.
Since before the beginning of recorded history, gold has been one of the most sought after metals. It doesn’t tarnish easily or corrode, and its luster and color are beautiful. Jewelry designers can incorporate gold into a large range of designs.
Gold’s softness makes it the easiest metal to work with, but pure gold is too soft for most jewelry and would scratch or bend easily. It is usually blended with silver or copper for a more resilient alloy.
Jewelers use the term karat, abbreviated “k” or “kt,” to describe the percentage of pure gold in the alloy, with 24-karat being “pure gold.” Karat shouldn't be confused with carat weight used for measuring precious gems.
Like gold, silver has been popular for thousands of years because of its versatility, luster and rarity.
Like gold, silver is too soft in its pure state for use in jewelry and must be alloyed with other metals to prevent scratching and distortion. The purer the silver, the more easily it is scratched.
Unlike gold, silver is not rated by karats. Instead, jewelers use the terms “fine” and “sterling” to refer to very pure silver, although fine silver is less commonly used for jewelry-making.
Rarer and pricier than gold, the six metals in the platinum family
are the finest of the precious metals. Platinum is a
silver-white metal found worldwide, typically strengthened with
other metals, such as iridium, osmium, or nickel, for use in
jewelry. Like silver, platinum is not measured in karats, but
rather is stamped with a standardized platinum quality mark,
indicating the percentage of platinum contained. Pt1000 denotes pure
Platinum is the most durable, lustrous, and scratch-resistant of the fine metals, but its scarcity makes it an uncommon material for jewelry-making. Most jewelry artisans prefer gold and silver as raw materials because they can make a greater range and volume of pieces.
So when it comes to selecting your jewelry, use your knowledge of precious metals to choose with confidence.
|NON-TRADITIONAL METALS IN JEWELRY|
|Stainless Steel Jewelry - Stainless steel jewelry has become increasingly popular in recent years due to changing tastes and style trends that lean toward a more industrial look. Today, stainless steel jewelry is a favorite of both men and women. Departing from tradition, stainless steel jewelry can be found in the use of machined pendants, dog tags and more experimental pieces of jewelry.|
LESS COMMON METALS IN JEWELRY MAKING
The majority of jewelry is created using more popular and main-stream materials, but there's diversity of metals used to create some truly unique pieces of jewelry.