An important part to picking out your new jewelry piece is understanding what meets your needs. Beautiful, sparkling gemstones and a unique design should be considered for the atheistic of your piece. But the elements of how your jewelry is made is just as important. Different types of metals, such as gold and platinum, are used for various purposes in jewelry making.
Gold is commonly used for all types of jewelry, although there are multiple types and purities of gold. 14 karat gold, which is 58.3% pure, is the most common because it is the American standard. Although 18 karat gold, which is 75% pure, is used often as well. Because gold is naturally a soft metal, 24 karat gold (the purest form), is not usually used for making jewelry. Although The Gem Gallery does sell 24 karat gold nugget earrings.
Multiple colors of gold are available, the most common being yellow, rose, and white. Gold is naturally yellow, but still requires to be mixed with other metals to create an alloy hard enough for everyday wear. The alloy metals in gold can differ, which is a science of itself. A good example of this is rose gold, which is alloyed with copper to get its warm, pink color. Rose gold is more durable because copper is a very tough metal. White gold contains alloy metals that make it’s color similar to white, but never a true white. It always contains hints of yellow because of the natural color of gold. “It’s like mixing paint,” says Jason Baide of The Gem Gallery. You can never get a pure white from a vibrant color. White gold is commonly plated with rhodium, a hard, white metal that has a beautiful mirror finish. Rhodium plated jewelry usually requires more maintenance than other jewelry types.
Platinum is a naturally true white metal. It is in the same family as rhodium and palladium. Because it has no hints of other colors, it does not require rhodium plating. It is more dense than gold, containing 95% platinum. It also wears slower than gold. When gold gets scratched, it actually looses metal (18 karat gold scratches easier than 14 karat). But when platinum gets scratched, the metal moves and shifts. Overtime, this creates a patina that is desirable by some. Because of platinum’s strength, it holds gemstones better than gold. The prongs are stronger than other metals. Rings often have a gold shank and a platinum head for this purpose. Another advantage of platinum over gold is that it does not contain nickel, so it is hypoallergenic. A major platinum mine is located in Montana!
Although the price of platinum is currently less than the price of gold, a piece of platinum jewelry will generally be more expensive than the same piece in gold because it will weigh more. Platinum also requires more labor to create a custom piece. It takes 50% longer than gold to polish and work with. That being said, platinum is The Gem Gallery’s goldsmith favorite. Jason Baide says it is “a labor of love.” It engraves well and is an excellent choice for your custom engagement ring!
Considering the color and durability of your jewelry will help you decide what metal to choose. If you desire a white colored ring that is very durable, platinum is the way to go. But if you want a warm color, such as rose or yellow, 14 karat gold will better fit your needs. Our sales team will be happy to help you decide what type of metal is right for you!