PALLADIUM VS PLATINUM & WHITE GOLD!

 

Palladium, Platinum and White Gold - Metal Illustration

Take a strong hard look onto the four beautiful yellow diamond engagement rings here above – can you tell which is made of platinum, which made of white gold or even palladium?

Palladium, Platinum or White Gold?

The beautiful stone that’s displayed on top of your finger is the primary focus of every engagement ring. However, the color, weight and quality of the band on which it rests are other important factors to consider when choosing a ring that follows you through eternity. The choices of quality metal are seemingly limitless, and certain options that appear similar to the untrained eye are actually very different. Before you decide on a band, you must know the differences between some of the most popular wedding band metals: palladium, white gold and platinum.

What is Palladium?

One of the world’s rarest metals, palladium makes for a special wedding band that’s high in quality and, relatively speaking, lower in price than other high-quality metals. With the increase in the price of gold and platinum, palladium is one of the best choices for those with a lower budget who don’t want to sacrifice quality or beauty.

The metal is similar to platinum in that it’s hypo-allergenic and keeps well over time. Like the love shared between a married couple, it’s strong and never tarnishes over the years. It doesn’t require plating or other metals for protection – it will naturally stay white without regular maintenance and care. While it’s in the same group as platinum and looks very similar, it’s much lighter than its sister metal which is good for pricing but might feel weird for some (and great for others).

The popularity of palladium in engagement rings has recently soared – in fact, many are questioning whether it is becoming the new platinum.

It was officially recognized as a precious metal in January 2010, and it’s now a legal requirement that any palladium ring that weighs more than 1 gram is hallmarked. It’s even been said that palladium is rarer than gold.

The Cons of Palladium: Still rare and hard to find. Not all jewelers and craftsman are experienced working with it and therefore the existing amount of designs made in Palladium is very limited and those that are able to do custom made rings are also limited (not all designs can be made in palladium). Repairing it (including resizing) is problematic and even if possible will probably leave a mark.

White Gold

Since gold is typically a yellow color, other metals are needed to create a white finish. Palladium is actually one of the alloys used to change the hue of the metal, in addition to silver, copper, nickel and zinc, which work together to make it especially strong and durable. It’s also quite resistant to rust and corrosion.

While the end result may appear silver, there will always be a slight golden glimmer in white gold wedding bands. It’s available in a variety of carats, which allows for a beautiful metal no matter what your budget. Prices and styles vary based on the metals used to produce the white shade and the percentages of each one.

Beautiful and original, white metal is a natural element, which makes it more prone to damage from harsh chemicals. Those with the unique bands must take extra care when using household cleaning products, and should regularly wash their rings to ensure optimal shine and quality. With proper care, this metal is personal and long lasting.

Platinum

As the top-of-the-line metal for engagement bands, platinum is the leader in beauty and quality. It’s the most durable, as well as the heaviest and most expensive option on the market. It never wears out and only needs period gentle washing with soap and water to keep it shiny and bright. The white metal accentuates any stone you choose, and work particularly well with blue and pink diamonds.

As the rarest of the metals, platinum is one of the most popular choices for engagement rings. While it’s also the most expensive of the options, some designs may not cost much more than a higher end white gold, depending on weight and intricacies. It requires less maintenance than both white gold and palladium, and is the brightest white of all the metals.

Why is Platinum so much more expensive than Palladium and Gold?

As can be seen, today, Gold and Platinum are pretty near in pricing and when gold was in the $1,600+ it even passed the platinum (for a short time for a short amount) whereas in the past the spreads were enormous.

At times, when gold was in the area of $1,000 per oz platinum was in the $2,000 area.

For proportions, keep in mind that during July of 2014 Palladium has hit its 13 years high at $872.90 (during that moment Platinum was around $1500). But, if now the prices are so close to each other, how come platinum bands & rings still costs 2-3 times more than gold and palladium?

The sum of the parts is greater than the whole! The price of the band is not made only from the price of the material. Platinum is by far heavier than gold, around 60%. Meaning that if a gold ring would have weighed around 5gr of gold, then it would have weighed approximately 8 gr in platinum.Platinum jewelry is consisted of nearly pure platinum. When you craft gold jewelry you usually make it from 14k gold or 18k gold. The meaning is percentage of gold within the alloy. 14k gold is 14 out of 24 which means 58% gold (same logic for 18 which makes it 75%). This is the part you pay for… the rest is not really calculated. Palladium is also pure (approximately 95%). However, as mentioned above, the same ring would weigh much less in palladium than platinum, combine the fact that the material is cheaper… and the result is cheaper.Platinum manufacturing process is more complex than gold which adds labor costs.

Diamond basic attributes – the 4Cs

Diamond basic attributes – the 4Cs

4C represents Color, Clarity, Cutting and Carat. The 4Cs are the shared common attributes used by different grading institutes, to determine the quality and value of each diamond. Therefore, it is crucial to know the 4Cs before buying a diamond.

1) Carat

Carat is the weighting unit of a diamond, as below:
1 carat = 0.2 grams = 0.007 oz.

Bigger diamonds are rarer, as such, the value per carat will also be higher. For example, the value of a 1 carat diamond would be much higher than the total of two 0.5 carat diamonds.

The weight of a diamond affects its size, although the same weight may lead to different sizes, the following table shows the approximate size to weight ratio:

2) Clarity

Diamond with no magnificationDiamond at 10x magnification

Clarity refers to the inclusion and blemishes of a diamond; the level of clarity is determined by the number, size, place, whether it is obvious and the general effect of those inclusions and blemishes to the appearance of a diamond. Since diamonds are formed naturally, the formation process would usually include some other substances which lead to so called crystals, feathers inside a diamond. Better clarity gives a higher value of a diamond.

The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.

 

Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification

Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

 

Since the diamond with “Included” grading includes quite obvious inclusion, we do not recommend and also do not offer diamonds with Grade I1 , I2 & I3 , except customers request us to provide.

3) Color

It refers to the level of colorless of a diamond. The rating is from D to Z. For D color, the best color level, representing colorless and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown, as shown below:

D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
COLORLESS NEAR COLORLESS FAINT YELLOW VERY LIGHT YELLOW LIGHT YELLOW

 

Many of these color distinctions are so subtle as to be invisible to the untrained eye. But these slight differences make a very big difference in diamond quality and price.

4) Cutting

Color and clarity are born naturally with a diamond; however, on the other hand, Cutting is determined by the craftsmanship the diamond receives, which is an important factor to lead the diamond to sparkling perfection. The cutting factor involves complex determination, as a value factor, though, it refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish.

Too Shallow Ideal Cut Too Deep

The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light.

GIA diamond graded cutting into 5 categories, from Excellent to Poor.

 

http://www.sydiamond.com/diamond_knowledge_tips_e.php

20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Crystals

20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Crystals

The ones inside comets forged by the Sun, the ones buried under Manhattan, and the “crystal” ones that aren’t crystal at all

crystal
iStockphoto

 It’s all about the rhythm: Crystals are repeating, three-dimensional arrangements of atoms, ions, or molecules.

Almost any solid material can crystallize—even DNA. Chemists from New York University, Purdue University, and the Argonne National Laboratory recently created DNA crystals large enough to see with the naked eye. The work could have applications in nanoelectronics and drug development.

One thing that is not a crystal: leaded “crystal” glass, like the vases that so many newlyweds dread. (Glass consists of atoms or molecules all in a jumble, not in the well-patterned order that defines a crystal.)

 The oldest known pieces of our planet’s surface are 4.4-billion-year-old zircon crystals from the Jack Hills of western Australia.

5  The center of the earth was once thought to be a single, 1,500-mile-wide iron crystal. Seismic studies now show that the inner core is not a single solid but perhaps an aggregate of smaller crystals.

 Tiny silicate crystals, which need high temperatures to form, have been found inside icy comets from the solar system’s distant, chilly edges. Powerful flares from the sun may have provided the necessary heat.

7  In Chihuahua, 
Mexico, a limestone cavern 1,000 feet below the surface contains the largest crystals in the world: glittering gypsum formations up to 6 feet in diameter and 36 feet long, weighing as much as 55 tons. You may be sitting in a gypsum cave right now: It is a primary component of drywall.

 Are the streets of New York paved with gold? No, but the bedrock schist beneath them is studded with opal, beryl, chrysoberyl, garnet, and three kinds of tourmaline.

10  In 1885 a garnet weighing nearly 10 pounds was discovered beneath 35th Street near Broadway, close to today’s Macy’s store. According to urban lore, it was unearthed either during subway construction or by a laborer digging a sewer.

11 Cheaper by the pound: The so-called Subway Garnet was sold within a day, reportedly for $100—just $2,300 in today’s dollars.

12  The unit of measure for gemstones had humble beginnings. “Carat” comes from the Greek keration, or “carob bean,” which was used as a standard for weighing small quantities. It is equivalent to 200 milligrams, or about 0.007 ounce.

13  When Richard Burton bought Elizabeth Taylor the heart-shaped Taj-Mahal diamond, he is said to have bragged, “It has so many carats, it’s almost a turnip.”

14 A “fancy intense pink” diamond recently set a world record when it was purchased at auction for $46 million by a London jeweler.

15  The Cullinan diamond is the largest known gem diamond—or, actually, was. It weighed 3,106 carats, or nearly a pound and a half, when it was discovered in South Africa in 1905, but it has since been cut into more than 100 stones.

16  The Cullinan stones, all flawless, are now part of the British Regalia. The largest, a 530-carat behemoth, is set in one of the British royal scepters.

17  For the rest of us, there is crystallized sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. We are literally awash in it: If the water were evaporated from the world’s oceans, we’d be left with 4.5 million cubic miles of salt, equivalent to a cube measuring 165 miles on each side.

18  Another crystal for commoners: sugar. Each American eats an average of more than 130 pounds of it per year.

19  As if sugar’s ties to obesity and tooth decay weren’t enough, new research out of Imperial College London suggests that it contributes to high blood pressure, too.

20 Snow is near-pure crystallized water, but when it collects on the ground it acts as a reservoir for atmospheric pollutants such as mercury and soot. So you probably shouldn’t eat the white snow either.

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/may/05-things-you-didnt-know-about-crystals

Facts About Silver Jewelry And Gold Jewelry Metals/

Facts About Silver Jewelry And Gold Jewelry Metals/

What You Should Know – Silver and Gold Jewelry

About Silver Accessories and Karat Gold Jewelry

The two precious metals most often used in jewelry are alloys of silver and gold.

There are many different alloys used in modern jewelry making.

The type of jewelry you can wear is not just determined by your wallet –
but also by the way your body reacts to and tolerates exposure to metals.

Sterling silver tarnishes, especially in hot, humid weather. It contains 7.5% copper
by weight, which reacts with common air pollutants, darkening the surface of the metal.

This can prompt skin irritation if your skin is sensitive to (usually) nickel or Fats about (sometimes) copper.

If you have noticed that you have an itch that persists with drying and reddening of your
skin where your jewelry touches it, you are probably sensitive to the alloy in the metal.

Gold and silver are known to be non – reactive metals; but that does not mean
that everyone can wear any type of gold or silver jewelry without any problem.

Understanding more about metals can help you to choose
jewelry that is more comfortable and healthy for you to wear!

Higher karat gold alloys tend to be better tolerated than lower karat qualities because there is
less of the reactive metal in the alloy. Many people wear 18K or 22K gold jewelry for this reason.

Sterling silver is .925 pure, or 92.5% silver by weight, a very high percentage.
Most people don’t have any problems wearing sterling silver jewelry.

Modern silver alloys don’t contain nickel, the usual irritant in jewelry metals. Lower percentage
silver alloys like vintage “European” silver can irritate your skin more easily than sterling silver jewelry
if you have copper sensitive skin, because old European silver is .800 fine, or 80% silver / 20% copper.

Following is a listing of metals commonly used in jewelry making and an explanation of their properties.


Gold Facts – Alloys, Karats, and more!

Pure 24K gold is hypoallergenic. It doesn’t cause irritation to the body.

However, the metals mixed with gold to make it harder or
enhance the color of gold can cause adverse skin reactions.

Gold is very malleable, meaning it can be hammered
into very thin sheets – thin enough for light to pass through.

Gold is also very ductile – it can be pulled
through drawplates into wire much thinner than hair.

Pure gold is very soft. It is very easy to work with hand tools.To make it harder
it is mixed with other metals, creating an alloy. Gold alloy purity is expressed in karats.

Gold alloys are available in many colors. The color of the alloy is determined
by the percentage and type(s) of metal “mixed” with the pure gold.

Rose gold contains more copper; until recently
white gold was traditionally made with nickel.

Now white gold is also made with palladium, a platinum
family metal; green gold is made with an alloy of fine silver.
As an example, most green gold is 18 karat; 75% gold, 25% silver.

There are MANY other colors made with alloy combinations.

The percentage of gold used is directly related to the karat content of the alloy.

It does not matter what type of metal is “mixed” with the gold, just how much.

The chart (below) shows how much gold is in your jewelry.


1k Gold = 4.17% Gold and 95.83% alloy

2k Gold = 8.33% Gold and 91.67% alloy

3k Gold = 12.5% Gold and 87.5% alloy

4k Gold = 16.67% Gold and 83.33% alloy

5k Gold = 20.83% Gold and 79.17% alloy

6k Gold = 25% Gold and 75% alloy

7k Gold = 29.17% Gold and 70.83% alloy

8k Gold = 33.3% Gold and 66.67% alloy

9k Gold = 37.5% Gold and 62.5% alloy

10k Gold = 41.67% Gold and 58.33% alloy

11k Gold = 45.83% Gold and 54.17% alloy

12k Gold = 50% Gold and 50% alloy

13k Gold = 54.17% Gold and 45.83% alloy

14k Gold = 58.33% Gold and 41.67% alloy

15k Gold = 62.5% Gold and 37.5% alloy

16k Gold = 66.67% Gold and 33.33% alloy

17k Gold = 70.83% Gold and 29.17% alloy

18k Gold = 75% Gold and 25% alloy

19k Gold = 79.1% Gold and 20.83% alloy

20k Gold = 83.33% Gold and 16.67% alloy

21k Gold = 87.5% Gold and 12.5% alloy

22k Gold = 91.67% Gold and 8.33% alloy

23k Gold = 95.83% Gold and 4.17% alloy

24k Gold = 100% Gold and 0% alloy


In this chart, “alloy” means the other metal. It can be
silver, copper, zinc, nickel, iron or almost any other metal.

For instance, 10 karat yellow gold is 41.67% pure gold and 58.33% “other metals”,
mostly copper, maybe some silver and most likely some nickel or zinc to add hardness.

In the United States gold must be at least 9K to be sold as karat gold.

Lower karat gold alloys have a  higher percentage of the other metals added to them.

They tend to react to the pollutants and other
impurities in the air faster than higher karat gold alloys.

This means that the high percentage of copper or other metal in the
lower karat alloy will tarnish (or oxidize), just like sterling silver items do.

This can occur especially in hot weather when the metals react to salt in perspiration.

If this happens to your sterling silver or lower karat gold jewelry, you may want to take it off
and wash the piece in hot water with a detergent like Dawn, Joy or whatever you prefer.

If your jewelry is really dirty, try scrubbing it carefully with a soft toothbrush.
Polish with a jewelry polishing cloth, if you have one. Rinse and dry before wearing.

If you have a problem with sterling silver, medium to
low karat gold will probably give you difficulties as well.

Medium to low karat yellow gold has a much higher percentage of copper in it than sterling silver.

Nickel allergies are the most common. Many people have problems wearing white gold –
the problem isn’t the gold. It’s actually nickel – the alloy – that causes skin reactions!

The new palladium white gold alloys are a bit more expensive, but are hypoallergenic.


Silver Jewelry Metal Facts

Sterling silver is generally used for jewelry, and that is what most people think of when they see silver.

Silver also comes in various quality grades, measured by 1/1000 parts per gram.

There are impurities that naturally occur in silver at the molecular level. These impurities
consist of other metals – usually copper, but traces of other metals can also be found.

These trace impurities are insignificant, and would be
too costly to remove – so .999 silver is considered pure.

The table (below) shows the types of silver alloys generally used in jewelry making.

Silver Alloys

.999 
fine silver

Contains .001 trace metals.

.9584
Britannia

95.84% silver + 4.16% copper.

.925
sterling

92.5% silver + 7.5% copper.

.900
coin

90% silver + 10% copper.

.830
European

83% silver + 17% copper.

.800
European

80% silver + 20% copper.

All the alloys shown are legally referred to as “silver”.

The only legal requirement is that they are quality stamped or marked for sale to the public.

Silver Facts

As with gold, silver in its fine state is a non – reactive metal – allergies are possible but VERY rare.

People who have problems wearing silver jewelry are usually
allergic to the copper in the alloyed metal, not the silver.

During the European Industrial Revolution, people found that their .800 silver was tarnishing
much faster than before – a reaction to the new pollutants in the air – from burning coal in the factories!

Fine, or pure, silver with no copper content does not tarnish easily. Think about the fine silver
coins brought up from wrecked ships – everything from the Atocha to sunken pirate ships.

They come up out of the ocean after hundreds of years bright and shiny as new.

Fine silver can get dirty, of course, but will not tarnish like sterling silver.

There is a new alloy called Argentium® Silver. It is sterling, but contains germanium in place of copper.

Argentium® doesn’t develop firescale as easily during soldering and doesn’t tarnish the way
traditional sterling silver does because the germanium doesn’t react as the copper does.


Plated and Filled

There are different grades and methods of bonding precious metals to
a less expensive base metal, as indicated in the chart below.

Finished, Washed, Colored

These terms refer to the thinnest gold, silver, platinum or rhodium coatings. 
There is no standard thickness.

Plated, Electroplated

These metals have a required minimum standard thickness – usually .15 – .25 mils

Gold, Platinum or Silver Filled metals

A layer of karat gold, platinum or silver is mechanically
bonded to a base metal, usually brass or steel.

Filled metals usually have a thickness over 100 times that of plated metals.

Gold filled may be  marked with the gold percentage by weight and the karat value.

If a piece of jewelry is marked 1/20 14K GF – 5% of the total weight is 14K gold.
However, this is not required by law. Most times the quality is stated on a hang tag.

There is no approved marking system in the US for filled metals.

 Vermeil Gold plated over silver

Silver is the “base” metal

Many jewelry items are made of either plated or filled metals.

This is done to keep the cost of these items as low as possible.

The whole piece can be plated or filled metal, as with a chain. In many cases, the clasp and
metal parts of an otherwise top quality gemstone bead necklace or bracelet can be plated or filled.

If it is taken care of and worn properly, such as over a sweater, a necklace with plated parts
can last for a very reasonable length of time, even years – but eventually the plated
metal parts will oxidize or the plating will wear through to the base metal.

Filled metals are much higher quality and a much longer useful lifespan.

They have one or more layers of precious metal bonded to a base with heat and pressure.

Filled materials are at least 1/20 precious metal by weight.

They are much longer lasting than ordinary plated objects.

Filled metal objects are not usually marked with a quality stamp, such as 12k GF or 14k GF.

For information on the care and cleaning of jewelry, please visit this article:Jewelry Care

Article written by Robert Edwards ©2015.
Robert is a jeweler and metalsmith, and is webmaster of http://www.jewelry24seven.com.

This article may be linked and used as content on blogs and websites conditionally … ALL content –
links, author, copyright – must not be changed in ANY way – it must appear exactly as the article appears above.

 

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Precious metal

Precious metal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Assortment of noble metals

precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallicchemical element of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements (see noble metal). They are usually ductile and have a high lustre. Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commoditiesGoldsilverplatinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.

The best known precious metals are the coinage metals, which are gold and silver. Although both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in artjewelry, fine jewelry and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: rutheniumrhodiumpalladiumosmiumiridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.[1] The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.

Bullion[edit]

1,000 oz silver bar

A metal is deemed to be precious if it is rare. The discovery of new sources of ore or improvements in mining or refining processes may cause the value of a precious metal to diminish. The status of a “precious” metal can also be determined by high demand or market value. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money.

Purity and mass[edit]

500 g silver bullion bar produced by Johnson Matthey

The level of purity varies from issue to issue. “Three nines” (99.9%) purity is common. The purest mass-produced bullion coins are in the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series, which go up to 99.999% purity. A 100% pure bullion is nearly impossible: as the percentage of impurities diminishes, it becomes progressively more difficult to purify the metal further. Historically, coins had a certain amount of weight of alloy, with the purity a local standard. The Krugerrand is the first modern example of measuring in “pure gold”: it should contain at least 12/11 ounces of at least 11/12 pure gold. Other bullion coins (for example the British Sovereign) show neither the purity nor the fine-gold weight on the coin but are recognized and consistent in their composition.[citation needed] Many coins historically showed a denomination in currency (example: American double eagle: $20).

Coinage[edit]

1 oz Vienna Philharmonic gold coin

Many nations mint bullion coins. Although nominally issued as legal tender, these coins’ face value as currency is far below that of their value as bullion. For instance, Canada mints a gold bullion coin (the Gold Maple Leaf) at a face value of $50 containing one troy ounce (31.1035 g) of gold—as of May 2011, this coin is worth about 1,500 CAD as bullion.[2] Bullion coins’ minting by national governments gives them some numismatic value in addition to their bullion value, as well as certifying their purity.

One of the largest bullion coins in the world was the 10,000-dollar Australian Gold Nugget coin minted in Australia which consists of a full kilogram of 99.9% pure gold. In 2012, the Perth Mint produced a 1-tonne coin of 99.99% pure gold with a face value of $1 million AUD, making it the largest minted coin in the world with a gold value of around $50 million AUD.[3]China has produced coins in very limited quantities (less than 20 pieces minted) that exceed 8 kilograms (260 ozt) of gold.[citation needed]Austria has minted a coin containing 31 kg of gold (the Vienna Philharmonic Coin minted in 2004 with a face value of 100,000 euro). As a stunt to publicise the 99.999% pure one-ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series, in 2007 the Royal Canadian Mintmade a 100 kg 99.999% gold coin, with a face value of $1 million, and now manufactures them to order, but at a substantial premium over the market value of the gold.[4][5]

Economic use[edit]

1 kg gold bullion (ingots)

Gold and silver, and sometimes other precious metals, are often seen as hedges against both inflation and economic downturn. Silver coins have become popular with collectors due to their relative affordability, and, unlike most gold and platinum issues which are valued based upon the markets, silver issues are more often valued as collectibles, far higher than their actual bullion value.

Aluminium[edit]

An initially precious metal that became common is aluminium. While aluminium is the third most abundant element and most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, it was at first found to be exceedingly difficult to extract the metal from its various non-metallic ores. The great expense of refining the metal made the small available quantity of pure aluminium more valuable than gold.[6] Bars of aluminium were exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1855,[7] and Napoleon III‘s most important guests were given aluminium cutlery, while those less worthy dined with mere silver.[6] In 1884, the pyramidal capstone of the Washington Monument was cast of 100 ounces of pure aluminium. By that time, aluminium was as expensive as silver.[8] The statue of Anteros atop the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (1885–1893) in London’s Piccadilly Circus is also of cast aluminium. Over time, however, the price of the metal has dropped. The dawn of commercial electric generation in 1882 and the invention of the Hall–Héroult process in 1886 caused the price of aluminium to drop substantially over a short period of time.

Rough world market price ($/kg)[edit]

Valuable metal price ($/kg) with precious metal names in bold
metal mass abundance
parts per billion[9]
10 April 2009[10] 22 July 2009[11] 7 January 2010[citation needed] 31 December 2014[12]
Rhodium 1 39680 46200 88415 39641
Platinum 5 42681 37650 87741 38902
Gold 4 31100 30590 24317 38130
Palladium 15 8430 8140 13632 25559
Iridium 1 14100 12960 13117 15432
Osmium 1.5 13400 12200 12217 12217
Rhenium 0.7 7400 7000 6250 2425
Ruthenium 1 2290 2730 5562 1865
Germanium 1500 1050[13] 1038
Beryllium 2800 850[citation needed]
Silver 75 437 439 588 441
Gallium 19000 580 425[13] 413
Indium 50[14] 325[13] 520
Tellurium 1 158.70
Mercury 85 18.90 15.95
Bismuth 8.5 15.40 18.19
  1.  Platinum Guild: Applications Beyond Expectation
  2. Jump up^ Gold prices ran around 940 USD in July 2009 according to Kitco Historical Gold Charts and Data. The USD to CAD exchange rate averaged 1.129 in July 2009 according to OANDA Historical Exchange Rates. Although the exact moment that the $1075 figure was determined is unknown, it may be considered a reasonable value for the time.
  3. Jump up^ “1 Tonne Gold Coin”perthmint.com.au. Retrieved 23 July2015.
  4. Jump up^ “the Greatest coined gold in the world”e-allmoney.com. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  5. Jump up^ UKBullion (2014). “100kg Fine Gold Coin”. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  6. Jump up to:a b Geller, Tom (2007). “Aluminum: Common Metal, Uncommon Past”Chemical Heritage Magazine27 (4). Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Karmarsch, C. (1864). “Fernerer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Aluminiums”Polytechnisches Journal171 (1): 49.
  8. Jump up^ George J. Binczewski (1995). “The Point of a Monument: A History of the Aluminum Cap of the Washington Monument”JOM47 (11): 20–25. doi:10.1007/bf03221302.
  9. Jump up^ The abundance of the element, a measure for its rarity, is given in mass fraction as kg in the earth’s crust (CRC Handbook). David R. Lide, ed. (2005). “Section 14, Geophysics, Astronomy, and Acoustics; Abundance of Elements in the Earth’s Crust and in the Sea”. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (85 ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  10. Jump up^ Mostly taken from London Metal Exchange.
  11. Jump up^ From the http://www.thebulliondesk.com/
  12. Jump up^ From the http://www.thebulliondesk.com and http://www.taxfreegold.co.uk (mid price quoted)
  13. Jump up to:a b c The metal Price ($/kg)s of gallium, germanium, and indium are taken from MinorMetals.com as examples of modernprecious metals used for investment / speculation.
  14. Jump up^ Tolcin A. (2012) U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries 2012.

External links[edit]

About gold jewellery

About gold jewellery

Colour

Throughout history, gold has been treasured for its natural beauty and radiance. For this reason, many cultures have imagined gold to represent the sun.

Yellow gold is still the most popular colour, but today gold is available in a diverse palette. The process of alloying—mixing other metals with pure 24 carat gold—gives malleable gold more durability, but can also be used to change its colour.

White gold is created through alloying pure gold with white metals such as palladium or silver. In addition it is usually plated with rhodium to create a harder surface with a brighter shine. White gold has become the overwhelming choice for wedding bands in the US.

The inclusion of copper results in the soft pink complexion of rose gold while the more unusual colours such as blue and purple can be obtained from the addition of patinas or oxides on the alloy surface. Black gold for example derives its colour from cobalt oxide.

Caratage

What is Gold Jewellery - yellow, white and rose gold braceletsThe weight of gold is measured in troy ounces (1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams), however its purity is measured in ‘carats’.

‘Caratage’ is the measurement of gold purity. 24 carat is pure gold with no other metals. Lower caratages contain less gold; 18 carat gold contains 75 per cent gold and 25 per cent other metals, often copper or silver.

The minimum caratage for an item to be called gold varies by country. In the US, 10 carat is the legal minimum accepted standard of gold caratage, 14 carat being the most popular.  In France, the UK, Austria, Portugal and Ireland, 9 carat is the lowest caratage permitted to be called gold. In Denmark and Greece, 8 carat is the legal minimum standard.

 

Fineness

Fineness is another way of expressing the precious metal content of jewellery, and represents the purity in parts per thousand. When stamped on jewellery, usually this is stated without the decimal point.

This chart shows some examples of the composition of various caratages of gold.

Caratage Gold(Au) Silver (Ag)  Copper (Cu) Zinc (Zn) Palladium (Pd)
Yellow Gold 9k 37.5% 42.50% 20%
Yellow Gold 10k 41.70% 52% 6.30%
Yellow Gold 14k 58.30% 30% 11.70%
Yellow Gold 18k 75% 15% 10%
Yellow Gold 22k 91.70% 5% 2% 1.30%
White Gold 9k 37.5% 62.5%
White Gold 10k 41.7% 47.4% 0.9% 10%
White Gold 14k 58.30% 32.20% 9.50%
White Gold 18k 75% 25% (or Pt)
White Gold 22k N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rose Gold 9k 37.5% 20% 42.5%
Rose Gold 10k 41.70% 20% 38.3%
Rose Gold 14k 58.30% 9.2% 32.5%
Rose Gold 18k 75% 9.2% 22.2%
Rose Gold 22k 91.7% 8.40%

Notes:

The alloying  metal compositions above are typical of those used by the jewellery industry to arrive at the colour/ caratage combinations shown, but are not the only ways to arrive at these combinations.

White gold compositions listed here are nickel free. Nickel-containing white gold alloys form a small/very small percentage of white gold alloys and generally contain other base metals such as copper and zinc.

The following are the common standards of fineness that are used:

.375 = 9 carat (England and Canada)

.417 = 10 carat

.583 (.585) = 14 carat

.750 = 18 carat

.833 = 20 carat (Asia)

.999 (1000) = 24 carat pure gold

Strictly speaking, 14 carat should be 583 (14/24 = .583333), but most manufacturers have adopted the European practice of making 14 carat gold slightly over 14 carat. Thus, the fineness mark is 585 in most 14 carat jewellery.

Similarly, 24 carat should be 1.0 (24/24 = 1.00). However, in practice, there is likely to be a very slight impurity in any gold, and it can only be refined to a fineness level of  999.9 parts per thousand. This is stated as 999.9.

Accepted tolerances on purity vary from market to market. In China, Chuk Kam (which is Cantonese for ‘pure gold’ or literally ‘full gold’) still comprises the majority of sales and is defined as 99.0 per cent minimum gold, with a 1.0 per cent negative tolerance allowed.

http://www.gold.org/about-gold/gold-jewellery

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

As we all know wristwatch is one of the most important accessories in men’s or women’s wardrobe. The watch is the one of the best accessory in terms of style and you can choose from a simple steel watch to a unique watch in diamonds and jewel encrusted one.  Whatever your style maybe a wristwatch on your hand will always make you look elegant and stylish.

There are a lot of watch manufactures and brands, from standard ones to top-quality luxury ones.  If you are self-sufficient person and you have a lot of money and you want to buy high end luxury watch that will be instantly spotted and recognized by others, then there are many expensive watch brands that you can choose from.  And the first question comes to mind is “What brand has the most expensive watches?”

Not long ago I’ve posted a list of 15 Most expensive wristwatches that costs over 1 million dollar and you can see that in the list some expensive watch brands have many expansive watch models. But there are many other watch makers that have expensive watches.

The most expensive watch brands in the world are as follows. But don’t forget that every year the order can be different because new timepieces are released by the watch makers.

[ordered_list style=”decimal”]

  1. Patek Philippe
  2. Vacheron Constantin
  3. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  4. Blancpain
  5. Cartier
  6. Ulysse Nardin
  7. Chopard
  8. Audemars Piguet
  9. Hublot
  10. Piaget
  11. Girard-Perregaux
  12. Rolex
  13. Omega
  14. A. Lange & Söhne
  15. TAG Heuer

[/ordered_list]

And here a some of interesting expensive watches of this brands:

most-expensive-watch-Patek-Philippe-Sky-Moon-Tourbillon
Patek Philippe – Sky Moon Tourbillon (Price: ~ $5,6 million)
[hr]
Vacheron-Constantin-Grand-Complication-pocket-watch
Vacheron Constantin – Grand Complication pocket watch (Price: ~ $1,8 million)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Joaillerie-101-Manchette
Jaeger-LeCoultre – Joaillerie 101 Manchette (considered the most expensive watch in world, price unknown)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Blancpain-Tourbillion-Diamants
Blancpain – Tourbillion Diamants (Price: ~ $1,812 million)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Cartier-Phoenix-shaped-watch
Cartier – Phoenix-shaped watch (Price:  ~ $2,755 million)

Some of the timepieces made by this expensive watch brands are the best watches with unique design, top quality, complicated movement and features that other watches don’t have. I know that there are other expensive watch brands but this is best watch brands in the world.

http://www.tiptopwatches.com/watch-facts/15-expensive-watch-brands-world.html

“Watches 101”

“Watches 101”What’s the best way to store a watch?
What’s a “movement”?
What is the legal definition of a Swiss watch?
Which leads to the question: What is a Swiss movement? They have a ready answer, of course:
What does the word “Geneve” on a watch mean?
What’s the difference between a mechanical movement and a quartz movement? 
What does 17-jewel movement mean?
What does the word “chronometer” mean?
Who is the COSC and what do they do?
What’s a “chronograph”?
What do the letters “T” and “O” mean on my watch?
It is possible that this comes from the French word for gold, Or, is it true that tritium is radioactive? 
Is there such thing as a completely waterproof watch?
What does “Shock Resistant” mean?
Is it true that only a diamond will scratch a sapphire crystal face?
What’s the best way to store a watch?
Storing a luxury watch properly requires a little extra care. Diamonds and other gemstones are hard enough to scratch metal jewelry and to mar the surfaces of other stones they come in contact with. Store diamond and/or gold watches in their own individual soft cloth pouches, place them in a jewelry box that has separate compartments for each piece or store them in their original box.What’s a “movement”? 
A movement is the mechanism that actually calculates the passage of time–the “guts” of the watch, if you will. Like the engine and transmission of a car, watch movements are so fundamental to the quality of the watch that they are often manufactured by separate companies, or by the same company in a different factory. The movement is also the part of the watch which is usually covered by a warranty–much like the “engine and drivetrain” warranties that come with new cars.

What is the legal definition of a Swiss watch? 
As the universally-acknowledged manufacturers of the world’s best watches, the Swiss are understandably rather persnickety about what watches qualify as “Swiss.” To protect the integrity of their good name, several organizations have formed with the specific intention of regulating quality and defining standards for the industry. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has produced a list of “Verordnung Swiss Made” rules that state that a Swiss watch must:

  • Have a Swiss movement that
  • Was set into its case in Switzerland
  • By a manufacturer of Swiss origin.

Which leads to the question: What is a Swiss movement? They have a ready answer, of course:
It must have been assembled in Switzerland under the supervision of a Swiss factory and the parts of the movement that are Swiss in origin must constitute at least 50% of the movement’s total value. Movements that meet these exacting requirements earn the right to be stamped with the word “Swiss.” Sometimes the stamp will instead say “Suisse,” “Swiss Quartz,” “Swiss Made,” “Produit Suisse,” or “Fabrique en Suisse.” These all mean the same thing. However, if the case is not of Swiss origin, then this inscription cannot be visible–it must be concealed by the case. However, the case may be stamped with the words “Swiss Movement” to indicate that it’s Swiss on the inside, if not the outside. In the case of the reverse–a non-Swiss movement in a Swiss case, only the words “Swiss Case” are permitted.

What does the word “Geneve” on a watch mean?
Just as Geneva is a more specific location than Switzerland, the designation “Geneve” is a more exacting mark of prestige given to watches by the Bureau de controle des Montres de Geneva. To qualify, in addition to matching all the above criterion for a Swiss watch, it must have had one of its major manufacturing steps take place within the Canton of Geneva. The theory is that at least 50% percent of the manufacturing costs will have been incurred “locally,” protecting the trade and ensuring quality assembly.

What’s the difference between a mechanical movement and a quartz movement?
Mechanical movements are what most people think of when they talk about the fine art of watch making–a precise, intricate system of tiny gears and springs which use mechanical energy to operate. These watches have a mainspring, which is wound either by hand or by “automatic movement” (self winding). The spring power is then transferred to the hands of the watch via a precise timing mechanism known as a balance.

A quartz movement is a simpler, less expensive timing mechanism which regulates time by sending an electric current from a battery to a tiny quartz crystal, which vibrates at precise and predictable rates–32,768 cycles per second to be exact. Quartz movements are superbly accurate and reliable. Because they can be mass-produced, quartz movements are used in everything from clock radios and digital watches to some very fine timepieces. However, what is gained in efficiency is lost in elegance, according to some epicureans.

Interestingly enough, the first quartz watch, introduced by Seiko in 1969, cost over a thousand dollars!

What does 17-jewel movement mean?
In spring-powered mechanical watches, conservation of energy is practically an art form. To reduce friction, many of the spaces between gears are set with tiny synthetic gem crystals, which resist temperature changes better than metal and hold lubricant much longer.

What does the word “chronometer” mean?
Strictly speaking, anything that measures time is a chronometer (chronos = time, meter = measure). An hourglass or a sundial is technically a chronometer. However, in modern watchmaking the term “chronometer” is a specific designation of accuracy, assigned only to high-quality watch movements that have been tested by the COSC.

Who is the COSC and what do they do?
The Control Officile Suisse de Chronometers is a Swiss testing laboratory that certifies watches, or rather their movements, as “chronometers.” Each movement is individually tested over a 15-day period in different positions and temperatures, and passes only if it shows a loss of fewer than five seconds per day. Watches that have certified movements will usually be stamped with an inscription that says “Chronometer,” “Certified Chronometer,” or “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified.”

What’s a “chronograph”?
By definition a chronograph “records time.” In modern watches this refers to a stopwatch function of some sort.

What do the letters “T” and “O” mean on my watch?
The letter “T” on the face of a watch stands for tritium, the greenish-white substance on the hands and numbers that glows in the dark. The letter “O” means that the indices on the dial are made of gold.

It is possible that this comes from the French word for gold, Or, is it true that tritium is radioactive?
Although tritium is a radioactive substance, the amount of radiation from tritium-coated watch faces is less than 25milliCuries, which isn’t even enough to penetrate the watch case or crystal.

Is there such thing as a completely waterproof watch?
Not really–in fact it’s not even a legal term in the US anymore, and for good reason. Even deep-sea submarines have maximum depths beyond which they cannot safely travel. That’s because deeper water means higher water pressure, and eventually water pressure will break the windows. Watches are rated for “water resistance,” which is an evaluation of how much water pressure the moisture seals can withstand. Most watches are rated to 50 meters, which is more than most of us will ever need. Sport and diving watches are often rated to 200 meters or more. Ironically, humans can only safely dive to about half that depth, and extremely high depth ratings are more an indicator of craftsmanship and status than actual utility. Water resistance is also measured in ATM, or atmospheres. One atmosphere is equivalent to 10 meters.

What does “Shock Resistant” mean?
Shock resistance is an American government standard of durability which means that the watch can survive a drop of three feet onto a wooden floor.

Is it true that only a diamond will scratch a sapphire crystal face?
Not quite. Another sapphire or ruby will scratch it. Also remember that scratch-proof is not hatter-proof. A sapphire crystal is remarkably durable, but far from impervious. It’s best to treat a quality watch like any other piece of finely-crafted jewelry.

http://www.watchesandbeyond.com/watches101.asp#top

Nine Shiny Facts About the Metal Silver

Nine Shiny Facts About the Metal Silver

January 24, 2014 by KIDS DISCOVER

SilverIt’s a precious metal found in lots of jewelry, but silver has plenty of everyday uses in electronics, medicine, paint, photography, currency, clothing, and more. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about silver … .

Name: Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon seolfor, but silver’s chemical symbol, Ag, is based on its Latin name, argentum.

Industry: Silver conducts heat and electricity better than all other elements, which is why it’s used in things like solar panels, electrical circuits, and rear window defoggers.

Heat: Silver melts at 1,763.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and it boils at 3,924 degrees Fahrenheit. So yeah, go ahead … you can stir soup with the good silverware.

Tarnish: That dark stuff that appears on silver and makes it need polishing is actually silver sulfide, a compound formed when silver interacts with sulfur in the air … or in eggs. Which is why some people don’t use good silverware with eggs or mayonnaise.

Coins: Until 1964, all United States dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollar coins contained 90 percent silver. So keep your eyes peeled when you get change at the market, because every now and then you can still find a real silver coin.

Bendiness: After gold, silver is the easiest metal to work with — you can stretch it into superfine wire or pound it into superthin foil (would you believe 150 times thinner than paper?).

Weather: Silver can make it rain! When silver iodide is dropped onto clouds in a process called “seeding,” it often provokes a rainfall.

Medicine: Silver is great at killing bacteria, which is why it’s sometimes used in wound dressings at burn units. And bacteria don’t adapt to silver’s germicidal properties the way they become immune to antibiotics.

Hygiene: You know what else bacteria do? They cause B.O. That’s why some fancy athletic clothing contains tiny silver fibers, which reduce or eliminate smells. But rubbing earrings or spoons under your arms in the morning really won’t help.

 

http://www.kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/nine-shiny-facts-metal-silver/

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals


Jewelers, both professional and amateur, have used just about every type of metal in existence in their creations. As new alloys and metals are adapted to jewelry making, such as titanium and stainless steel, they are also eagerly embraced and worked into beautiful creations for men and women. While fashion trends using unique and trendy metals come and go, three jewelry metals have stood the test of time and continue to have a strong presence in modern jewelry.  They are Gold, Silver, and Platinum.

These three metals and the alloys that utilize them are referred to as the Noble Metals.  Noble Metals have four properties in common.

  1. They are precious metals and are also used as currency (a store of value) because of their intrinsic value.
  2. They are found worldwide, but not in large enough quantities to render them less valuable.
  3. Noble Metals have properties that lend themselves to jewelry making, including malleability and corrosion resistance.
  4. These metals are considered beautiful, sensuous, and glamorous, which increases their appeal. Because of all of these properties, the Noble Metals – gold, silver, and platinum – are frequently used in jewelry making.

Gold

Coveted for its beauty, gold has long captivated the human psyche and is considered the most sensuous metal. Jewelry designers and makers find gold easy to work with and prefer it to other metals because it never tarnishes. Gold is perhaps the most workable metal, which is another reason designers enjoy working with it. A single ounce of gold can be stretched into a thread more than 50 miles long or rolled flat into a sheet that covers 100 square feet in area!

Another reason gold is coveted by both consumers and designers is that it lasts indefinitely, especially if properly cared for. Recent studies show that gold originated in the far reaches of the universe billions of years ago and arrived on earth in its infancy. It does not oxidize or corrode and only a handful of rare acids or hot chlorine bleach can damage gold. Gold can also be reused by melting down old gold objects and reforming the gold into new pieces. For example, old coins and broken pieces of jewelry can be melted down and reused to make a brand new piece of gold jewelry.

Gold Alloys

Despite gold’s desirable properties, it does have one significant drawback. It is soft, which means it wears easily. By mixing gold with other metals, or alloying it, gold is made stronger, which makes it durable enough to wear more often without experiencing wear. A variety of metals are commonly used to alloy gold, including silver, copper, nickel, iron, zinc, tin, manganese, cadmium, and titanium. Along with enhancing gold’s strength, alloying gold with other metals changes some of gold’s other properties as well. This is why some gold alloys stain people’s skin or cause an allergic reaction. The reaction is not caused by the gold itself, but by the other metals it is mixed with.

While pure gold is also used in jewelry making, it dents and shows wear easily, which is why most people choose not to wear 100% gold jewelry on a regular basis. When discussing gold and its alloys, the term karat is used to indicate the purity of the gold (Not to be confused with carat, which is a unit of measurement used to describe gemstone weight). Pure gold, which contains no other metals, is termed 24 karat gold. A gold alloy that is 50% gold and 50% other metals is 12 karat gold because it is only half pure gold. Alloys used in jewelry making range from 9 karat gold, which is approximately 37% gold, to 24 karat gold, and are required to be stamped and hallmarked according to purity. A newer alloy becoming popular on the jewelry scene is made of 99% gold and 1% titanium, allowing the alloy to retain nearly all of its gold color while providing improved durability.

Gold Alloy      
Karat Parts Gold Percent Gold Other Marks
24 24/24 100% 1000
18 18/24 75% 740
14 14/24 58.33% 585
12 12/24 50% 500
10 10/24 41.60% 416
Colored Gold

Mixing gold with different metals changes the color of the gold. For example, mixing copper with gold makes the gold darker yellow, while adding nickel plus zinc or other silver metals produces white gold. Contrary to popular belief, white gold contains no silver, which softens gold and gives it a green tint. Gold alloys also come in colors, including green, red, and blue.

Colored Alloys
Gold Color  Alloys
White 10% to 20% nickel, plus copper, tin, and sometimes platinum or manganese
Green Silver, sometimes cadmium and zinc
Red or Pink Copper
Yellow Silver and copper
Blue Iron
Gold Terminology

When discussing gold’s purity, or what percentage is pure gold, the laws are fairly strict in the U.S. To be labeled as a specific karat, a gold item must be within three parts per thousand of the karat marking for solid pieces and seven parts per thousand for pieces containing solder. Pieces that fail to meet this criterion must be labeled with a lower karat designation. When labeling jewelry and other gold items for sale, you cannot call an item solid gold unless it truly is 24 karat and if you refer to an item as gold, you must designate what karat the gold is.

The term “new gold” does not mean that the gold was recently mined. It means that the gold has been carefully refined to current gold standards. “Old gold,” on the other hand, comes from melting down old jewelry, coins, and other gold items. This old gold may be a slightly lower karat weight than the original gold depending on how much solder was used in the original jewelry pieces. Impurities in old gold pieces cause a variety of headaches during casting, including bubbles, so old gold is often sent for refinement rather than being melted down by your local jeweler and recast into a new item.

Gold solder, which is used to join pieces together, is actually sold based on its color not its gold content. Because the solder needs to have a lower melting point than the pieces it is joining, it is mixed with metals that have lower melting points than gold. The solder is matched to the gold pieces for an attractive look. Though this poses no problems for the owner of the current jewelry item, melting down this piece with its solder in the future will reduce the karat of the gold.

Less Than Solid Gold

With solid gold selling for more than $1,250 per ounce (as of September, 2014), many jewelry makers look for alternative ways of giving their customers the look and feel of gold without the hefty price of solid gold. This is often done by coating pieces made from less expensive metals with thin coats of gold. Items that are made this way are referred to as gold overlay pieces.

When shopping for these pieces there are two distinct methods of overlaying the gold that you need to be aware of. The first is gold filled. Pieces that are gold filled have a minimum of 5% gold applied to the base metal. They are classified based on how much gold is overlayed and the karat of the gold. For example, if a piece is marked 1/20 14K G.F., it means that the piece has a 14 karat gold layer that comprises 1/20 of the weight of the piece. The second type of gold overlay, rolled gold plate, is similar, but the gold can be as thin as 1/40 of the weight. It is also stamped by fineness and content, 1/40 14K RGP. Gold platings are the thinner and less expensive of the two types of gold overlays. The gold is a few thousandths of an inch thick, at best, and wear off easily.

The care of gold overlay pieces is quite different from the care of solid gold pieces because of the fact that the gold is layered on top of another metal. As previously mentioned, the gold on these pieces wears off over time and you cannot use a polishing wheel on these items because it will remove the overlay and potentially ruin the item.

You can learn more about how gold is quoted and priced here.

Silver

With its illustrious history, silver has been more highly valued than gold at various times throughout the years. Long used as a medium of exchange, its name is synonymous with money. Today, silver has found many new uses including photography, batteries, auto glass defogger, and magnetic strips, just to name a few.

Silver’s most outstanding feature is its luster. This Noble Metal is not without its drawbacks though. The main drawback for silver is that it tarnishes. The term tarnish is used to denote a layer of corrosion that forms over some metals, including silver, when they undergo chemical reactions. The chemical reaction that causes silver to tarnish requires a compound called hydrogen sulfide. Silver jewelry encounters hydrogen sulfide in the air you breathe every day, which is why silver tends to tarnish if left out where it is exposed to this compound on a regular basis.

Storing these items in protective pouches or containers where they are exposed to less hydrogen sulfide reduces the amount of tarnish on silver, which means less you can spend less time removing tarnish from your silver jewelry. There are a number of ways to remove tarnish from silver pieces, including silver polish and do-it-yourself methods using common household items, so you do not have to shy away from silver pieces because of the tarnish. Silver jewelry does require more care than some other precious metals, because of the fact that it tarnishes.

Silver is more abundant and much less expensive than gold or platinum, which are additional reasons why it is a popular metal for jewelry; however, it is more difficult to work than gold, because it conducts heat so well. This is why beginning jewelry makers often learn how to solder on silver. Once they gain control of soldering on this highly conductive metal, they find it much easier to control the heat when moving up to gold.

Silver Alloys

Silver is also commonly alloyed with other metals because, like gold, pure silver is soft and easily damaged. Adding harder metals improves the durability of silver, allowing jewelry designers to design pieces that are beautiful and strong enough to wear every day. The most common silver alloy is sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is comprised of one or more other metals. A substantial portion of this 7.5% is often copper because it increases the hardness of the sterling silver.

The term Mexican silver applies to silver that is used as currency in Mexico and is typically comprised of 95% silver and 5% copper. While the copper increases its durability, it is used more for currency than jewelry. Typically even the silver jewelry made in Mexico is crafted from sterling silver.  You can learn more about silver markings, definitions, and terminology here.

In the U.S., coin silver contains 90% silver and 10% copper. You do not usually see coin silver used in jewelry. Britiannia silver contains a minimum of 95.84% silver, making it a more valuable alloy than sterling. While this may be used in jewelry, it is not common. There are a variety of additional silver alloys used worldwide, including a South American alloy made of 80% silver that does not tarnish. Jewelry makers stamp silver pieces with the code that denotes which alloy of silver it is. For example, 925 is used to designate sterling silver and 958 is used for Britannia silver. When shopping for silver jewelry inspect the piece carefully to determine which alloy was used.

Other Types of Silver Jewelry

While sterling silver is the most common type of silver used in jewelry making, there are some additional alloys that should be mentioned. Electrum, for example, is a naturally occurring alloy of silver and gold that was popular with the ancient Egyptians. Because electrum occurs naturally in nature, the ration of silver to gold varies with each piece.

Niello is a black mixture of silver, copper, and lead. It is used more like an enamel, so you do not typically see jewelry made entirely of niello. It is used as an inlay on etched or engraved metal or to fill in designs. Like electrum, niello was popular with the Egyptians, who used the mixture during the Iron Age.

While all of these silver alloys actually contain at least some silver, some metal names can mislead you into thinking the metal contains silver. Nickel silver or German silver, for example, are alloys of nickel, zinc, and other metals. These metals look like silver, hence the name, but they do not actually contain any silver. The same is true of quicksilver, which is the ancient term given to mercury due to its appearance. While mercury does resemble liquid silver, it does not contain silver and is not seen in jewelry because it is harmful to your health.

Platinum

Platinum is the rarest and most expensive of the Noble Metals. Its unsurpassed holding power and durability make it a highly coveted, premium jewelry metal. Platinum is incredibly durable and does not tarnish, which is why it is often used for engagement and wedding rings.

Though platinum has been found in various objects as far back as 700 BC, its use in jewelry is relatively modern. The main reason for this is that refining platinum proved difficult for a number of centuries because the metal has an extremely high melting point and is highly resistant to corrosion. The oldest recorded use of platinum is as an inlay in ancient Egypt. However, the Egyptians though it was a variation of electrum. Native Americans used platinum in small decorative objects for centuries. Platinum was unknown to Europeans until the Spanish settlers discovered it in Columbia. The Spanish called it platina, meaning little silver, and believed it was unripe gold and, therefore, unusable.

It was not until the eighteenth century that platinum was identified as a new metal and a researcher from Sweden figured out how to melt platinum with arsenic. Once individuals learned how to refine platinum they began to use it to decorate porcelain and to make laboratory equipment. The use of arsenic to refine platinum was extremely dangerous, which is why platinum did not gain popularity until the oxyhydrogen torch was invented in the mid 1800s.

Discoveries of platinum ore in several countries in the nineteenth century brought platinum to the attention of jewelry makers and platinum quickly became a symbol of wealth and celebrity status in the early 1900s. Stars like Greta Garbo and Cole Porter frequently appeared on film with platinum jewelry and accessories. It also became popular for setting exceptional gems. For example, the 530-carat “Star of Africa” diamond in the British royal scepter is set in platinum.

While platinum is still highly coveted in the jewelry industry, it is also used for a variety of industrial purposes. Today, platinum is commonly found in catalytic converters because of its ability to cause chemical reactions while remaining unchanged. In fact, half of the platinum mined in the U.S. and a quarter of the platinum mined worldwide is used for this purpose. The U.S. Bureau of Standards also uses platinum for weights because it never oxidizes and, therefore, remains the same weight forever.

Platinum Alloys

Though most people believe that the term platinum refers to one single type of metal, the truth is it is used to refer to a group of metals that share similar properties. The platinum group includes platinum, iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium. Platinum is the most abundant; however, it is not the only one of the group that is used for making jewelry. Rhodium is popular as a non-tarnishing plating for white gold, silver, and other platinum metals. Others from this group, including palladium and iridium, are alloyed with other metals or used alone to make jewelry. In fact, all but osmium are used for jewelry. The most common platinum alloys include 90% platinum and 10% iridium, or 95% platinum and 5% ruthenium. Ruthenium makes for the harder and stronger alloy.

Common Metallurgy Terms

  • Alloy: Mixing two or more metallic elements, especially to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion
  • Amalgamation: Purifying gold by mixing it with mercury.
  • Cementation: To surround a metal with a substance that will react with the metal under heat. Silver is parted from gold by cementation with salt.
  • Cupellation: A means of separating gold and silver from other metals and impurities. The ore is heated in a “cupel,” (a ceramic cup,) which absorbs the impurities.
  • Distillation: Metals with a low boiling point, like mercury, are vaporized to separate them from other metals.
  • Noble Metals: Metals that resists corrosion and oxidation.
  • Smelting: To melt an ore to separate and refine the metals within it.
  • Water Concentration: Washing ore causes the heavier metals to stay behind where they can be recovered.

 

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals