Gold was and is one of the most valuable metals on earth. Very popular for its luster and rarity, gold become quickly a method of payment and a key component used in the manufacture of jewellery. Gold is the most easily worked of all metals and ranges in softness based on its purity.
Pure gold (24 karat) is too soft for use in jewellery, that is why it is mixed with alloy metals such as copper and zinc.
Below is a breakdown of the percentage of pure gold in each of the popular karat weight:
24 Karat: 99.9% Pure
22 Karat: 91.7% Pure
18 Karat: 75% Pure
14 Karat: 58.3% Pure
12 Karat: 50% Pure
10 Karat: 41.7% Pure
When selecting jewellery like gold necklaces or bracelets, it is important to balance gold purity with the durability. Jewellery items like rings and bracelets often take more abuse and are much likely to become deformed if softer gold is used; as a result, 18 Kt or 14 Kt Gold may be a better choice for those types of items. We do not recommend wearing 22 and 24 kt gold rings and bracelets because they are too soft and they get very easy destroyed.
Silver is one of the most affordable luxuries metals, very often used in fashion jewellery.
Like Gold, pure Silver is very soft and easily damaged, so it is commonly mixed with other metals to improve durability for use in jewellery. Silver is normally mixed with copper and there are several levels of purity that indicate the quantity of pure Silver contained in the metal. Sterling Silver, for example must contain at least 92.5% pure Silver, however it is also found in varying purity levels including 958 and 999 Sterling Silver. Those interested in Silver jewellery should be able to determine the quality of the Silver used by looking for a stamp that indicates the metals purity level.
With a variety of purity levels and uses, there are a number of different types of silver jewellery. Here are just several:
Fine Silver has a .999 level of purity, so it is also known as pure Silver. While particularly lustrous, Fine Silver is normally not appropriate for jewellery that is worn regularly, because it is not durable and bends easily.
Sterling Silver jewellery is an alloy that contains a mixture of 92.5% pure Silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually Copper. In order to be called Sterling Silver, the metal must possess at least 92.5% pure Silver, but the other components can vary. When mixed with copper, Sterling Silver will tarnish and may fire scale. Regardless, Sterling is considered a standard among Silver grades and provides strength to ensure that pieces like silver bracelets, rings and necklaces can withstand regular use.
As one of the precious metals, Silver is among the most popular metals for the creation of jewellery. While there are many possible reasons for this preference, most people cite the following reasons:
Platinum is a silvery, white metal that is extremely rare and considered more precious than gold. Priced significantly above Gold, Platinum is among the heavier metals used in jewellery. Despite this increase in cost, platinum jewellery has become increasingly popular especially in platinum engagement rings and wedding rings.
As with other metals, Platinum is commonly mixed with other metals. However, for a piece of jewellery to be labelled as "platinum" it must have a minimum level of purity of at least 95% pure platinum. A purity level of less than 95% would require the metal be identified as a Platinum alloy. Normally, Platinum jewellery pieces can be identified by a stamp with "PLAT"; a different stamp for the Platinum alloy would be "IRIDPLAT".