As jewellers we are often asked about the great variety of metals in jewellery, what determines their quality or price and how to pick the right one. There are indeed many reasons to research what precious metal is right for you. From the way the colour of metal will compliment your skin tone, to what maintenance each different metal requires over time, the correct type will help you achieve the look you are going for and help you keep in pristine condition.
White metals are very modern, yellow gold is a great classic look, whilst platinum and palladium are harder wearing for all you hands on people.So let;s have a look at some common questions and offer some further information and tips you can make use of, at your next purchase online from HC Jewellers.
What determines the quality of gold?
In general, gold is not cheap, the higher the carat of gold, the more expensive it is per gram. Carat is something to consider when choosing a piece of jewellery, the carat indicates the percentage of gold used to make the piece.
9k gold – 37.5% gold purity
This is the minimum standard used to create gold jewellery in the UK. It is a durable metal and more hard wearing than 18ct gold, as it has half the gold purity. 9ct gold is ideal for dress rings and pieces of jewellery with lots of stones set into them. Look for 9ct to be stamped on the gold or the numbers 375.
14k gold – 58.5% gold purity
This carat gold is mainly used outside the UK, and more commonly used in the US. It is a good compromise between 9ct and 18ct as it is in the medium price range. Look for 14ct to be stamped on the gold or the numbers 585.
18ct gold – 75.0% purity
This carat is mainly used for fine jewellery. A lot of people choose 18ct gold as it is more luxurious, richer in colour and it feels weightier and of a higher quality.
Look out for the numbers 750 or the 18kt stamp.
22ct gold – 91.7% gold purity
This carat is the most expensive gold used the jewellery industry. It is very soft and mainly used for plain gold jewellery, if stones were set into the metal the settings would misshape and the stones would become loose very quickly. Antique and vintage wedding rings are made in 22ct yellow gold, but 22ct gold is not used so much today. Look for 22ct to be stamped on the gold or the numbers 917.
24ct gold – 99.99% gold purity
Pure 24ct gold is so soft, it would not be suitable to use in jewellery designs, it would bend and miss shape very quickly. 24c carat is made into bars of gold more for investment purposes. You can purchase gold bars in different weights.
Platinum – 950
Platinum is hard-wearing and great for jewellery, consider buying platinum for its low maintenance and durability. It is a pure white metal and unlike white gold it does not need to have a rhodium plate added to keep it looking white. This is because platinum is normally 95% pure, meaning it does not need to be mixed with a lot of other alloys. Like all metals, platinum can be scratched or damaged but with a professional clean and polish scratches can be removed. Additional benefits include allergy free properties, so great for people who have sensitive skin.
Palladium – 950
Belonging to the platinum group, palladium is a great alternative to platinum. It is very popular in jewellery as it has the same properties but is softer than platinum and slightly lighter in density which reflects in the price. It is a pure white metal and unlike white gold it does not need to have a rhodium plate added to keep it looking white. This is because palladium is normally 95% pure, meaning it does not need to be mixed with a lot of other alloys. Additional benefits include allergy free properties, so great for people who have sensitive skin.
Yellow gold is mixed with a tiny amount of silver and copper to bring out the warmth of the metal. Different carats of gold mean there are slight colour variations. 18ct carat gold looks richer in colour and has more of a deep golden hue. Usually there is no allergic reaction to wearing gold, and colour does not change over time or tarnish. Yellow gold is easily maintained but with all jewellery keep away from chemicals. You can polish your gold jewellery with a jewellery cloth to bring back shine to yellow gold jewellery. With a professional clean and polish scratches can be removed from gold. Yellow gold also compliment warm skin tones and stands out beautifully.
White gold is made from yellow gold mixed with other metals, which are added to make the alloy harder and whiter. The additional metals used in white gold are usually palladium, silver, zinc, and copper. Even when mixed with whiter metals, white gold still has a yellowish hue, so therefore white gold is rhodium plated to give the metal a bright white finish. Over time you would need to get your white gold jewellery re plated. Nickel is widely used in white gold jewellery in the U.S. So many people are allergic to nickel that it is not used in jewellery in the UK and Europe, palladium would be used instead. Last but not least, white gold better complements lighter cooler skin types.
Rose gold is made from yellow gold mixed with copper, giving the metal a rose hue and a vintage appeal. It is also known as pink or red gold. Rose gold has really come back into fashion. Rose gold is easily maintained but with all jewellery keep away from chemicals. You can polish your rose gold jewellery with a jewellery cloth to bring back shine to rose gold jewellery. With a professional clean and polish scratches can be removed from the gold.
Rose gold generally compliments all skin types. It also matches a wide range of colours which makes it perfect for daily wear.
Keep an eye out for some of our exciting next blogs offering tips and information about a variety of themes, such as: “Caring for your jewellery”, “Wedding band widths and profiles”, “the ultimate diamond guide” and off course “tips on how to pick the perfect wedding ring”.
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