Precious Metals


Gold is typically combined with other metals.

This is done for several reasons.  The most important is that in a pure state gold is too soft and malleable to be of service. 

To strengthen the alloy other elements are added.  These metals are typically copper, silver, nickel, and palladium.

When we talk about the purity of the alloy we typically talk about karat.  24 karat is pure gold.  18 karat is 18/24 or 75% pure gold.  14 karat is 14/24 or 58.3 % pure gold. 10 karat is 10/24 or 41.67%   pure gold.  In the United States an gold alloy can be as low as 10 karat and still be considered gold.  In the United Kingdom and Canada 9 karat gold jewelry is often sold.

The color of the metal often gives us a hint of the karat of the gold.  The stronger the yellow the higher the  concentration of gold.  An 18 karat ring typically appears noticeably more yellow than a 14 karat ring. 

Gold jewelry is often manufactured in other colors than yellow.  In addition to yellow, gold can appear pink, white or green.  These other colors are the result of combining other elements with the gold.

14 karat yellow gold is the product of gold, and equal parts of silver and copper.  

14 karat white gold is the product of gold, nickel in large concentrations and copper.   

An new 14 karat white gold formula substitutes palladium for the nickel.

14 karat green gold is the product of gold, silver in large concentrations and copper.

14 karat rose gold is the product of gold, copper in large concentrations and silver.  


Designers are experimenting with the use of palladium, a member of the platinum group. 

The palladium is combined with sterling silver and copper to make it more malleable. (50% palladium, 40% silver and 10%)



Platinum is a unique metal that stands out due to its rare, pure, and eternal qualities. It gained popularity among European and Hollywood royalty during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially for bridal jewelry. Despite being one of the more expensive metal choices, platinum sets itself apart with its strength, purity, and bright white shine. Platinum is stronger than both gold and silver, ensuring that precious gemstones will be protected and secure. It is one of the strongest, most enduring, and densest metals, with a piece of jewelry containing 90% pure platinum weighing 60% more than a 14-karat gold piece of similar size. Platinum jewelry has a high level of purity, making it naturally hypoallergenic and ideal for people with sensitive skin. In the United States, platinum jewelry typically contains 85-95% pure platinum, while 14-karat gold is only 58.3% pure gold. Jewelry marked with "Platinum," "Pt," or "Plat" contains at least 95% pure platinum. Platinum is also highly durable, making it suitable for everyday wear and sustaining very little metal loss over a lifetime. It develops a natural patina over time, which can be easily restored with a simple repolishing. Platinum is an excellent choice for engagement rings and wedding bands because of its natural white color that won't fade or change over time. It is so durable that it can be passed down from generation to generation. Platinum prongs also offer better protection for precious stones and diamonds. Platinum is 60% heavier than 14kt gold, making it easy to distinguish between platinum and other white metals. Its purity also makes it hypoallergenic, unlike white gold that may contain other metals that trigger allergic reactions. Platinum is 30 times rarer than gold, with all the platinum ever mined barely reaching your ankles if melted and poured into an Olympic-sized pool, while gold would fill three pools.


Tarnish Resistant Silver

A patented alloy recently developed is claimed by the manufacturer  to be tarnish resistant.  The alloy contains germanium, which is commonly used in fiber optic equipment.

Gold Plating

The process of gold plating was invented in 1805 by an Italian chemist and is now commonly used in the jewelry industry to cover base metals with gold, silver, or rhodium. The thickness of the gold plating can vary from 0.17 to 2.5 microns, with thinner platings used for sheltered pieces and thicker platings used for items exposed to rough wear. The process mimics the appearance of gold jewelry.


Here is an interested read on precious metals from the American Gem Society

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