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Useful Information About Jewelry Metals

 

1.    The Characteristics of Gold

2.    Gold Color

3.    Gold Carat and purity

4.    Gold-filled jewelry

5.    Platinum

6.    Silver

7.    Assay Marks controlling metal quality

8.    Chart showing the density of comparative precious metals.

9.    Weights &  Measurements

 

 

Introduction

Visitors to our website EMIGEM.COM are often ask about the metals used in the jewelry we offer. As we offer fine jewelry created in gold and platinum; designer jewelry that includes silver and fashion jewelry that’s created in a mixed alloy of pewter and zinc, it is useful to understand the characteristics of each metal, in terms of its use in jewelry, it color, composition and value. This article discusses the characteristics of gold, platinum and silver. For information regarding the metals and care for fashion (costume) jewelry. Please see the article on the Danon Jewellery making process.

 

Precious Metals

We classify precious metals used in the creation of fine jewelry and designer jewelry as including Gold, Platinum and Silver.

 

The characteristics of Gold 

The most commonly sort after precious metal Gold, has been used in the creation of jewelry and as a universal trading commodity throughout history, with an amazing ability to maintain and even increase in value.

  

 


It’s allure and value is rooted in its very nature and physical characteristics.  Besides its natural color and luster it has a beauty, density, malleability,  and stability unlike any other metal known to man. It is understandable why we find it so attractive. For the creation of precious jewelry its value lies in its natural beauty and resistance to the elements, neither corroding nor changing color over time.  It also maintains its value and even appreciates, especially in times of economic unrest and political instability.

With a chemical element symbol of Au, it is scarce being sought in its natural form as nuggets or grains in rocks, veins and in alluvial deposits.


Due to its unique characteristics , it is used for both monetary, jewelry and other industries such as dentistry and electronics. As it is so pliable and malleable, gold can be beaten into very thin sheets and still maintain its integrity i.e Gold leaf. There are many types of jewelry that are created with a non precious metal core and cover in an exterior our shell of gold leaf. It can easily be mixed with other alloys, modifying its purity and hardness, and affecting it melting temperature and color.

 

Gold Color

Whereas most other pure metals are gray or silvery white, gold is yellow. By melting it with other alloys, its color can be changed, such as rose gold, which is created by adding various amounts of copper and silver, as indicated in the triangular diagram to the left. Alloys containing palladium or nickel are also important in commercial jewelry as these produce white gold alloys. However in the European union, nickel has been banned from use in the creation of white gold alloy due to its allergenic effects on skin.

 ROSE GOLD, WHITE GOLD, YELLOW GOLD COLORS

Gold Carat and purity 

Pure (fine 24k) gold, it is usually mixed with other base metals to create and alloy for use in jewelry. The greater amount of alternative metals added to the fine gold the greater affect on altering its hardness, flexibility, melting point, color and other properties.
Gold caratage used in jewelry is typically 22k, 18k, 14k, 10k or 9k. The greater percentage of other base metals such as copper or silver, the lower the carat value of gold. Fine jewelry is usually made in 14K or 18K. In Asia it is not uncommon to find 22k gold. However gold with a purity of 22k is softer and can wear down more easily with everyday use. 
The carat system is increasingly being replaced with the millesimal fineness system, which measures gold purity by the amount of fine gold parts out of one thousand. I.e. 24k is 999 or 1000 parts out of 1000 parts fine gold. 18K has 750 parts fine gold and 250 parts base metals.

The base metals that are added to fine gold also affect its color. White gold is created by adding silver, palladium or sometimes nickel. Rose gold is created by adding copper. The greater amount of alternative base metals added to the gold alloy, the paler the color of the gold.
White gold in its bare state is not usually white like Platinum, but rather off white or yellowish in tinge. Jewelry manufacturers often plate white gold in Rhodium solution to create a true silver color. Especially on rings that are susceptible to wear the plating often wears off after a while and needs to be renewed. It is unlikely for yellow or rose gold to change color as they are not usually plated. 

 

Gold Carat Purity

Gold Parts Purity

24 Carat

999 -1000

22 Carat

916

21 Carat

875

20 Carat

833

18 Carat

750

15 Carat

625

14 Carat

585

10 Carat

417

9 Carat

375

8 Carat

333

1 Carat

042

   

 

The base metals that are added to fine gold also affect its color. White gold is created by adding silver, palladium or sometimes nickel. Rose gold is created by adding copper. The greater amount of alternative base metals added to the gold alloy, the paler the color of the gold.

White gold in its bare state is not usually white like Platinum, but rather off white or yellowish in tinge. Jewelry manufacturers often plate white gold in Rhodium solution to create a true silver color. Especially on rings that are susceptible to wear the plating often wears off after a while and needs to be renewed. It is unlikely for yellow or rose gold to change color as they are not usually plated.

 

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