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Few metals capture the heart like gold. A traditional choice for all types of jewelry, gold is the most easily worked of all metals because it is naturally very soft and malleable.
However, to create jewelry designs that are strong and durable, pure gold is alloyed with other metals such as copper and zinc, which strengthen it and gives it its color. Gold jewelry is consistently timeless and so elegant.
Yellow Gold: Gold is naturally yellow in color, however, since pure gold is very soft, it is usually alloyed with silver or copper to bring out its natural warmth.
White Gold: To create the white‐silver color, the gold combined with palladium and silver or with nickel, copper and zinc. White gold also needs to be coated with platinum or rhodium for to improve whiteness and add durability and shine. White gold jewelry will occasionally need to be re‐dipped after the coating wears away.
Rose Gold: To create the rosy-pink color of rose gold, pure gold is combined with more copper. The more copper added to the alloy, the rosier the gold will become. Rose gold does not need to be dipped or coated as the color is pure through.
To determine the karat gold used in a piece of jewelry, check its markings, also called its hallmark. This is usually found on the inside of the shank or the reverse side of a pendant, earring or bracelet. The traditional hallmark uses the gold purity percentage. Modern hallmarks are simply stamped with the karat weight, i.e., 14K.
Care for your gold jewelry by buffing it with a soft cloth. If jewelry is darkened or dirty, clean using warm water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft, lint‐free cloth.
Platinum has great durability in holding precious stones. It is 35 times rarer than gold. A platinum jewelry item can cost approximately 60% to 200% more than the same setting in 18k gold, and 100% to 300% more than the same setting in 14k gold.
The name of this metal is derived from the Swedish words "tung sten" meaning "heavy stone." Tungsten is very heavy with a steel gray to tin‐white color and a lustrous finish. This metal has the highest melting point, and the most tensile strength of all metals. Due to the hardness of this metal, the shine is not apt to fade as with other metals that must be polished. Tungsten also has natural hypoallergenic properties that make it perfect for use in jewelry making. Click here to shop Tungsten Carbide ring now!
Titanium is versatile, lightweight and strong, with a silvery‐white metallic color. This metal is as strong as steel but is 45% lighter in weight, and is similar to platinum in its resistance to tarnishing. This metal has many uses ranging from armor plating, spacecraft and aircraft parts, to jewelry design. Titanium's strength, durability, and lustrous beauty make it an ideal choice for jewelry, especially for rings and bracelets that are subject to daily wear. Click here to shop Titanium ring now!
Silver has been valued for centuries and at one time was considered even more valuable than gold. Today, it's the most affordable of all the precious metals.
Pure silver is too soft to be used in jewelry making, so it's mixed with copper or other metal to create sterling silver, which makes it more durable. Sterling silver must contain at least 92.5% pure silver, which is why it's stamped as .925. You can find this hallmark on the inside shank of a sterling silver ring or stamped on the back of a pendant or other item. While sterling silver is harder than pure silver, it can still be scratched fairly easily.
Sterling silver can range from bright white to grayish white, and can have a matte or shiny finish. Sterling silver can be plated with gold to change its color.
Silver tends to tarnish, so always store your sterling silver jewelry in tarnish preventative bags and in a cool, dry place. Clean your sterling silver using mild soap and warm water and drying with a soft lint‐free cloth. Silver tarnishes, so store your sterling silver engagement ring in tarnish‐preventive bags in a cool, dry place. Tarnish can be removed by using a silver cloth.
Choosing The Right Metal For You
There are several factors you should consider when deciding on a metal for your jewelry.
Intrinsic Value: This is the basic worth of the metal. All metal prices fluctuate daily (sometimes several times a day) according to the laws of supply and demand. The more rare and precious a metal is, the more limited it is in availability. Rarity can drive demand, making a rare metal, like platinum or gold, more likely to maintain its intrinsic value over time.
Life Span: Not only a metal's ability to withstand daily wear and tear, the life span of a metal is judged in a practical manner. For instance, certain metals, like platinum and gold, are durable and changeable. Other metals, like tungsten, while highly durable metal, is not a precious metal.
Hypoallergenicity: Metals that are hypoallergenic minimize the possibility of an allergic reaction by minimizing potentially irritating substances. Metals, such as nickel or bronze, may be added to gold or silver to make them stronger. Purer metals, like platinum and titanium, tend to be hypoallergenic, posing little risk of potential irritation.
Strength: All metals will scratch and even occasionally dent. However, some metals, like titanium and tungsten, are scratch resistant.
Restoration Factor: Can the metal be re‐conditioned to make your jewelry look like new? Some metals can be easily restored; others, while durable and strong, may not take as well to a reconditioning process.
Rarity: The rarer the metal, the more expensive it will be. Therefore, items made of platinum and gold will generally be more expensive than other metals.
Heft: The weight of the item is important to many people. Some people appreciate the weighty feel of their jewelry, while others prefer to feel like they are wearing nothing at all. Platinum is the densest and heaviest metal available in jewelry, being 40% heavier than gold. Titanium and stainless steel are some of the lightest.