Precious Metals Info
Gold has been prized for centuries because of its rich tone and unparalleled ability to be worked and formed into beautiful works of art. It's purity is measured in parts per karat.
24 karat is considered pure gold. In any color, whether it be yellow, white or rose gold, a 14 karat item is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal (which is where the color variations come from). White gold still retains a touch of gold tone, so it is typically coated with Rhodium to give it a bright white finish. This finish typically needs to be redone occasionally.
Pure gold is highly malleable which allows us to add shape & textures as jewelers, however pure gold is SO soft that it is not very durable.
We in the U.S. typically use 10 to 18 karat gold for this reason with 14 karat being most common. 10 karat and lower mixtures tend to be slightly more brittle so we recommend 14 to 18 karat for maximum durability.
Platinum does not lend its self to being alloyed with other metals due to its molecular structure. Because of this there are only a handful of "platinum group" metals that can be used for this purpose. Typically the most alloy used with platinum in the U.S. is 20% and often it is alloyed less or not at all. This tends to make it more valuable than 14 to 18 karat gold depending on the spot price of the day.
Platinum also has a much higher melting point than gold and typically requires more expertise to repair. Because of its density and structure prongs tend to wear down more slowly, however because of its high malleability it tends to bend and look worn more quickly than gold.
Silver is far more common and available than gold or platinum. This makes it an attractive option for many types of fashion jewelry.
It does however require a little more maintenance than gold or platinum because it tends to tarnish over time and is not as strong as gold or platinum. Because of this, higher quality fine gems are typically not set in silver.
Often silver jewelry is stamped as 925 or STERLING. This means that out of 1000 parts, 925 parts of the metal are silver and 75 parts are another metal alloy. If it is stamped .999 or fine that means that it is pure silver with no alloy added.
*All fine jewelry requires periodic maintenance such as checking prong work to ensure that gems are tight in the setting and looking for cracks or damage.
*Make sure metals are not exposed to corrosive chemicals such as bleach in cleaning supplies or swimming pools.
*Remove your jewelry while you sleep, especially necklaces and earrings as they can get tangled or bent and rubbing against the sheets can wear away metal over time.
*Remove your jewelry at the gym or while doing things like gardening or hiking.
Fine jewelry is malleable and can easily bend or sustain damage when lifting
weights, rubbing against sand, rocks, etc...
*The good news is that gold, platinum & silver can usually be repaired when they are
worn or damaged wheras other metals like stainless steel or tungsten are not
typically able to be repaired. If you're not sure, stop by one of our locations and
speak to one of our repair professionals for a free evaluation.