A guide to precious metals
- 24 carrat = 100% gold - Too soft for everyday jewellery
- 22 carrat = 91.7% gold – Old wedding rings and Indian jewellery
- 18 carrat = 75.0% gold - Recommended for fine jewellery
- 14 carrat = 58.3% gold - Common in America
- 9 carrat = 37.5% gold - The minimum standard in the UK
Pure gold is too soft to withstand the stresses of daily wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, palladium, and zinc to give it strength and durability.
The colour of gold is determined by two factors:
1) The type of metal alloys included in it.
2) The percentage of each metal alloy.
18ct gold is composed of 75% pure gold, alloyed with 25% other metals. Not only does this make the piece more malleable, it makes it strong enough to withstand daily wear while maintaining its traditional, rich golden colour.
18ct white gold is 75% gold, alloyed with 25% white metals to produce a white metal with a slight yellow colour. To enhance the whiteness, almost all white gold is plated with rhodium, an extremely hard and shiny white metal in the platinum group. Depending on the amount of wear to a piece of jewellery, over time this rhodium plating may wear off, revealing the original metal colour. Re-plating is a simple process that can be done to restore your jewellery's whiteness if needed.
Sterling Silver - 925
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable, and easily damaged so it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.
Although any metal can make up the 7.5 percent non-silver portion of sterling, centuries of experimentation have shown copper to be its best companion, improving the metal's hardness and durability without affecting its beautiful colour.
Platinum is a pure metal with a silvery-white appearance. Platinum never fades or tarnishes but keeps its natural white colour for a lifetime. As it is so pure, it is naturally hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive skin. Platinum’s unequalled durability and resistance to wear makes it the most secure and protective metal, which means your jewellery will be protected for a lifetime of wear. Platinum does not change shape or wear away so precious stones are held firmly and securely. The density of platinum makes it more durable than other jewellery metals. Found in very few places around the world, platinum is 30 times more rare than gold.
Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal which belongs to the same family as Platinum. Consequently it has the same hypoallergenic properties, along with Platinum’s resistance to tarnish and its beautiful colour. Palladium is slightly whiter and lighter than Platinum, but it is also about 12% harder. In the past Palladium has been mixed with gold to make white gold as an alternative to nickel as Palladium seldom causes allergic reactions.