Each of the precious metals we offer has its own unique properties that make it especially well-suited for jewelry. Here are just a few popular metals that are used in today's fine jewelry.
Platinum is the rarest metal, making it considerably more expensive than even pure gold. Eighty-five tons of platinum is mined annually, compared to 1,500 tons of gold. Ten tons of ore must be mined to produce one ounce of platinum. Platinum is the purest metal. Platinum is the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that can be 95% pure. Small amounts of iridium and ruthenium (a metal from the platinum family) are commonly added to platinum. The stamp will read PLAT , PT or 950. Platinum's purity makes it the only truly hypoallergenic metal.
Platinum is also the strongest metal. It weighs 60% more than gold and has a high resistance to heat. It is very dense and extremely resistant to wear. Although platinum will still scratch just like any precious metal, the scratches do not represent material loss.
Although gold is not nearly as rare as platinum, it is equally as desirable. Gold is naturally yellow and can be found in a number of different purities. The purest form of gold is 24-karat, but this is seldom seen in rings because it is too soft for setting a diamond. Most commonly, 14-karat and 18-karat gold are used. When we talk about the different "karats" of gold we are referring to the degree to which the gold is mixed with other metals. For example, an alloy (a mix of metals) of 14 parts gold and ten parts other metal would be 14-karat gold. The more "other metal" used in the process, the stronger the gold. The varied "colors" of gold are the result of specific alloys that have been developed to change gold from its natural color. Different colors are achieved by adding different alloys. For example, white gold is made by adding nickel and zinc and rose gold is made by adding copper.
Long valued as a precious metal, silver has been used as currency, jewelry, and ornamentation for hundreds of years. A soft, malleable metal, silver is slightly harder than gold and has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. One of the most popular forms of silver for jewelry is sterling silver. This is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Silver jewelry is often plated with a fine layer of .999 fine silver to give it a bright, lustrous finish. Rhodium plating is also commonly used to brighten the look of silver jewelry. Silver tends to tarnish and requires regular maintenance to maintain an optimum look.