Precious Metals used for Fine Jewelry
The history of gold goes back 6,000 years, with references to it in both Egypt and Mesopotamia. In ancient times,
gold was thought to have healing properties when worn or even ingested. Gold used in Jewelry today is alloyed
with silver, copper, and zinc to produce various shades of yellow gold, or with nickel, copper and zinc to produce
white gold. The color of these gold alloys go from yellow to white as the proportion of nickel increases. Alloying Gold
with copper creates what is known as Pink or Rose Gold. The level of pure gold content is measured in Karats,
symbolized with stamping. Pure Gold is 24k so 18K ( 750 ) would be 18 parts of pure gold mixed with other metals.
14k (585) has been adapted as standard in the United State The higher the Karat to 24, the greater the gold content.
When considering the value of a piece of Fine Jewelry one takes in consideration the content of gold but price is
determined from other factors of craftsmanship which many times weighs higher than the Gold value of the item.
XVI proclaimed it the only metal fit for royalty. Today, platinum is more valuable than gold. Although it is used in many
industrial applications,including the automotive industry, platinum jewelry consistently commands higher prices
because of its rarity. Platinum is a soft metal,and is not easily scratched being very strong and durable. In fact, as
the strongest precious metal used in jewelry, platinum also has a high melting point and good resistance to corrosion
and chemical attack. Small amounts of iridium and ruthenium are commonly added to it, to give it a harder, stronger
alloy that retains the advantages of pure platinum. The platinum family actually comprises six metals: platinum,
palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium and ruthenium. The six metals are generally found together in nature, with
platinum and palladium being the most abundant, and the other four being more rare. What makes Platinum a choice
metal it is hypoallergenic, a plus for people with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals. Platinum is the only
precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95 percent pure. Platinum's subtle beauty and its tendency to not
add color of its own, enhances a diamonds natural brilliance and fire, making it an excellent metal for diamond
jewelry settings.
Although Palladium it has been used since around 1939 its original use for Jewelry was during World War 11 when
platinum was declared a strategic government resource need for wartime materials. Palladium recently resurfaced as
a desired precious metal. This rise in popularity again was due to the rinsing cost of Gold and Platinum. Palladium is
much lighter and is about 12% harder than platinum which made it harder to use in Jewelry up until the early 2000
when the advanced technology of casting allowed for the fabrication of this metal much easier. Palladium is slightly
whiter than Platinum which makes it desirable to set diamonds and other gemstones. Its hardness and purity and
hypoallergenic properties make Palladium a very desirable metal for designs in Fine Jewelry.
Sterling Silver has become one of the most popular metals for Jewelry in the past few years due to the increase in
price of Gold and Platinum. From Byzantium and Egypt over 4,000 years ago designs have included semi-precious
stones along with diamonds,emeralds,rubies and sapphires to accent this very shinny white metal that has been
fascinating kings and conquerors to modern designers of today. Sterling silver is a naturally soft metal and is alloyed
with other metals, most commonly copper to increase its strength and durability. While sterling silver jewelry can
tarnish or darken in color, it will never rust. The bright reflective luster of sterling silver is restored with simple
polishing and cleaning.In the United States, only jewelry that is at least 92.5-percent pure silver can be called or
labeled silver or sterling.
Silver
Gold
Platinum
Palladium