Since prehistoric times, gold has been a valued and coveted resource. Used primarily as decor for thousands of years, gold has been made into plates, cups, vases, and jewelry, as well as shrines and idols. Its presence can be found in many of the most distinguished foreign artifacts currently on display.
Today, gold is used in dentistry, electronics, and even in heating materials. Gold has expanded its role from being an exquisite metal for personal adornment and general décor. Enjoying a surge in popularity and economic prowess, especially in emerging markets such as China, gold is trading at historically high prices not seen since the early 1980s. For more information on buying gold, click here. Although the most common shade manufactured for jewelry is a light yellow, gold is available in a variety of hues. A better understanding of the different color options available can help customers pick out the perfect piece of jewelry.
Yellow gold is alloyed with copper and silver for extra strength. Its natural tone coincides well with all skin types and gemstones. The concentration of yellow in yellow gold is influenced by its content. The larger or purer the karat, the brighter and deeper the yellow will appear. Pure 24 karat gold, gold that has no alloys mixed in, would thus be the deepest of the colors.
White gold has grown in popularity over the recent years as a fresh alternative to yellow. White gold is alloyed with a combination of palladium alloy, zinc, and nickel. The alloys in white gold make it harder then yellow gold. Depending on the alloys used to produce the white gold, much of it is finished with a rhodium plating that gives it a bright white finish.
Rhodium is a precious metal, a member of the platinum family. Rhodium electroplating is used, especially on jewelry, to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish and give a white, reflective appearance.
Rhodium plating is most often found on white gold. The term white gold is something of a misnomer. Gold is actually yellow, what jewelers call white gold today is an alloy (mixture) of gold and a white metal-usually nickel, silver, or palladium (another member of the platinum family). Metals known as white are actually more of a gray color, so white gold has a yellowish cast. The higher the karat weight, the more gold there is in the alloy, the more yellow he cast appears. Since the wearer of white gold if looking for a bright white look, a very thin later of rhodium electroplating is used to make that jewelry shine. White gold plated with rhodium will also keep its good looks longer-rhodium will not tarnish or discolor, and since it is a harder substance, it is much less likely to get scratched.
It is important to be aware that rhodium plating does not last forever. The plating on something that takes a lot of wear, like a wedding ring, can wear away in as little as two years, while a necklace or a pin that is worn less frequently can keep it’s plating for ten or more years. You can tell when the plating is wearing away by the look of the piece; the area with the plating will show yellowish color of the original white gold. We offer services to help you.
The softness of gold allows it to be shaped into a variety of forms and designs. This quality also makes it necessary for gold to be alloyed with other metals to make it stronger and more durable if it is to be used in jewelry. Because the concentration of gold varies from piece to piece, jewelers use the karat system to designate levels of gold purity.
Pure gold contains 24 karats; however, due to its softness, this level of purity is rarely used in jewelry. Most high-end jewelry in North America ranges between 14-18 karats. The most common karat strength in gold jewelry is 14K, because this level of purity provides a popular distribution of hardness and flexibility at an affordable price. The lowest level of gold purity sold in the United States is 10K. Below this level an item cannot be called gold jewelry.
A piece of gold jewelry is an expression that has the potential to last a lifetime. If properly stored and cared for, its spark will not fade as the years pass. However, to ensure jewelry does not diminish in appearance or quality, it must be treated with caution, care, and concern.
The first and most important rule to remember is to avoid reckless or strenuous behavior while wearing gold jewelry. Rings and bracelets should be removed prior to any athletic activity in order to protect them from dings and dents. The same precautions should be taken for household projects, job related tasks, or any action in which the potential to inflict damage is high.
Next, make sure to avoid harsh chemicals while wearing your jewelry. General household cleaners can be abrasive and can seriously weaken gold. In addition, swimming pools and Jacuzzis should not be used with gold jewelry on because the chlorine can cause serious damage to the metal.
In order to keep the shine of your jewelry, be sure to clean it on a consistent basis. A preferred cleaning solution is sudsy and lukewarm water used with a soft tooth brush. Owners can also bring their jewelry to a professional cleaner to have it steam cleaned. When drying, use a chamois or soft cloth to avoid scratches.
One thing you should always pay attention to is how two pieces of jewelry, especially rings, wear or abrade against one another. One of the most common causes of weakened prongs holding a diamond or a gemstone is another piece rubbing against it.
Finally, a key to keeping your jewelry in top condition is proper storage. When your jewelry is not being worn, place it in a jewelry box or on a soft cloth. It is highly recommended that you store pieces separately so they do not rub against each other.
Platinum is pure–an expression of integrity, a reflection of inner truth. Platinum’s purity endows it with a brilliant white luster. This helps to reflect the true radiance of diamonds. Because it is generally 95% pure platinum jewelry does not fade or tarnish. It keeps its looks for a lifetime. Platinum’s purity makes it hypoallergenic–an idea metal for those with sensitive skin.
It is a coveted treasure of discerning individuals. There is little platinum on earth, and it is found in few places around the world. This exquisite metal is 30 times more rare than gold. In fact, it is estimated that if all the platinum in the world were poured into one Olympic swimming pool it would be scarcely deep enough to cover your ankles. Gold would fill more than three pools. Platinum’s rarity makes it exclusive and distinctive–a celebration of your individuality.
Platinum jewelry is the perfect choice for a lifetime of everyday wear. Its density and weight make it more durable than other jewelry metals. You can easily feel the additional weight of a platinum piece of jewelry compared to one fashioned from either gold or silver. Platinum does not wear away and holds precious stones firmly and securely. Like all precious metals, platinum scratches. However, the scratch on a platinum piece is merely a displacement of the metal and none of its volume is lost. Therefore, even though wearing it everyday may leave an impression on the surface, it remains what it was–a symbol for all things eternal weighing the same as the day it was new for a lifetime and beyond.
Proper care is vital in order to keep platinum jewelry elegant and refined. When wearing platinum jewelry, it is wise to refrain from engaging in athletic activity or performing heavy labor. When cleaning, use a pre-packaged jewelry cleaner, or soak platinum in a mild solution of soap and warm water. If scratches appear on platinum jewelry pieces, you may take the pieces to a qualified jeweler for polishing or leave it as is and allow it to take on its natural soft look. Lastly, store your platinum jewelry in safe place, and make sure to insure it sufficiently.
While Platinum is beautiful, there are also some challenges presented when owning Platinum. First of all, it’s very expensive; it can cost up to three times the amount of gold. It is also very costly and labor intensive to resize. Platinum scratches so easily that it needs to be buffed just as much, if not more, that a white gold piece. In regards to the environment, it takes 10 tons of ore to produce 1 oz of pure platinum.
For centuries, silver has been revered as a highly valued metal. It is the most abundant of all the precious metals. Its most common use is in jewelry. Silver earrings, bracelets, watches, and rings are attractive, classy, and widely available.
In its purest state, silver can be as soft as gold. For this reason, the metal is generally alloyed with copper to add strength. Silver is a strong and durable metal, and is known for the ease in which it can be shaped into various patterns and designs. The finish of silver depends on the techniques applied. It can be matted, brushed, sandblasted, or oxidized. It can also be polished to a high sheen that even platinum cannot attain. On occasion, silver will take on a worn looking finish when tried on due to a response with the wearer’s skin. For this reason, before purchasing silver jewelry, it is imperative that you establish that you’re not allergic to silver.
Most of the designer and high end silver jewelry comes with a finish on it to prevent tarnishing. If a jeweler does work on the piece or it gets a great deal of wear, this finish will wear off and the piece will tarnish as any other piece. It is important to try to preserve the protective finish as long as possible.
- Polish silver regularly with a silver cleaner which you can purchase at Russell and Ballard.
- Wipe silver with a soft cloth after wearing it.
- Avoid exposing silver jewelry to moisture or direct sunlight when it’s not being worn.
- Store silver in a zip-loc plastic bag, jewelry box, or pouch, separate from other gemstone jewelry.
Need more information?
Let us know what you are thinking or any questions you may have.