Precious Metal Education
Precious metals have been the centerpiece in fine jewelry since the ancient Egyptians. Today, when it comes to choosing jewelry, people usually have a color preference: white or yellow. However, there are many different options when it comes to choosing a metal.
Platinum is one of the purist and most valuable of the precious metals. It is rarer than gold and 60% heavier than 14 karat gold. Platinum's most attractive feature is its durability. It does not wear away over time and it keeps its white color.
Hallmarks for platinum include:
- .95 Plat
Gold, like silver has been around since ancient times. In its natural form, gold has a distinct yellow color and is resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion. Because gold is too soft for everyday wear, it is alloyed with other metals to give it the strength and durability. Karatage, indicated by the letter "k", specifies how much of the piece of jewelry is gold. Karatage is measured in 24th, therefore 24 karat gold is 100% gold. You'll find both 14k and 18k jewelry at Radcliffe Jewelers.
Gold jewelry can be found in colors other than its natural yellow coloring. The color of gold is determined by the type and percentage of the metal alloys combined with the gold.
The natural color of gold and the mixture of color-saturated alloys give yellow gold its rich shine and luster. The mixture of copper, silver and pure gold gives yellow gold its signature coloring.
In order to make the gold white, yellow gold is combined with alloys that are naturally white. The metal is then plated with a hard element called rhodium. Rhodium will wear over time but Radcliffe Jewelers can rhodium plate your jewelry and restore the whiteness.
Rose (or Pink) Gold
Rose or pink gold gets its color by combining gold with a copper alloy.
Hallmarks in gold jewelry are:
Sterling silver is one of the most popular silver alloys; consisting of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent cooper. Sterling silver is the most lustrous, most plentiful and least expensive precious metals; however it does tend to tarnish.
Sterling silver is a white metal and its hallmarks include:
- sterling silver
Palladium is a member of the Platinum family and has the ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation. Palladium is lighter in weight than platinum and is one of the most scarce metals in the world. Like platinum, palladium is a white metal that will not tarnish over time.
Palladium jewelry is marked with the hallmarks:
- 950 Pall
Stainless steel is a heavy, white metal that is corrosion resistant, strong and doesn't tarnish. Another great benefit of stainless steel is that it is hypoallergenic for those who have metal allergies.
Tungsten Carbide is ten times harder than 18 karat gold. It is created by firing tungsten and carbon powder in an oxygen-free oven at 6,200 degrees Fahrenheit! This process creates one of the hardest metals used in jewelry making. Tungsten Carbide will remain polished forever and is scratch and tarnish resistant.
Titanium is a strong but lightweight metal. At 99% pure, titanium is an enduring metal that does not tarnish and is corrosion-resistant.