There are several metals used in the creation of fine jewellery. By knowing information about the different metals, their benefits compared with each other and their unique qualities you will be able to make a better and more informed decision about purchasing your jewellery.
The metal types commonly used to make jewellery include gold, platinum and silver. Metals including rhodium and palladium are also used with jewellery.
Below you will find information about each of these metal types, together with information about which metals are best for particular types of jewellery.
Gold is the most popular choice for men’s and ladies wedding rings and engagement rings. Gold is also very popular in dress rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets.
There are two things to consider when looking at gold. First, which gold carat to choose and second, the gold colour or the combination of gold colours available.
There are several carats available for gold.
The carat is the gold content of the metal. The carat measures the proportion of pure gold mixed with other metal alloy to make up the final metal.
The carat of gold is represented in many countries by the abbreviation ct. Carat can also be called karat, represented by kt or K.
You may notice that carat or ct is also used to measure the weight of diamonds and gemstones. Although the same name is used, the two measurements are measuring different characteristics of jewellery.
The gold carats normally used in men’s wedding rings are 9ct, 14ct and 18ct.
The higher the proportion of gold used in the final metal, the more valuable and expensive the metal will be. So an item of jewellery in 18ct ring will be more expensive than the same item in 9ct.
9ct gold contains 37.5% pure gold (375 parts per thousand parts).
14ct gold contains 58.5% pure gold (585 parts per thousand parts).
18ct gold contains 75% pure gold (750 parts per thousand parts).
The remainder of the metals is made up of a combination of alloys, different metals which can help to give the metal its unique appearance, such as a different colour.
Other gold carats are used in different parts of the world including 10ct, 22ct and 24ct. It is generally considered that 22ct and 24ct gold are too soft to be used to make men’s wedding rings.
10ct gold (417 parts pure gold per thousand parts) is very similar to 9ct gold and the reason why some countries use 9ct and other countries use 10ct is due to historical reasons, rather than one being superior to the other.
Jewellery is normally stamped with a marking to show the type of gold.
For 9ct gold the stamp will normally be either the number 375, 9ct, 9kt or 9K.
For 14ct gold the stamp will normally be either the number 585, 14ct, 14kt or 14K.
For 18ct gold the stamp will normally be either the number 750, 18ct, 18kt or 18K.
The stamps only indicate the carat of metal. They do not indicate the colour of the metal. So for example an 18ct yellow gold ring would have a stamp of 750 as would an 18ct white gold ring.
9ct, 14ct and 18ct gold are each relatively hard and durable metals and are suitable for use in all types of fine jewellery. Gold is also suitable to be used in jewellery that is worn on an everyday basis.
When choosing jewellery, particularly rings, many people consider the hardness and durability of gold to be used in their ring.
Platinum is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewellery in almost it’s pure form (approximately 95% pure). Platinum is extremely long wearing and is very white, so it does not need to be rhodium plated like white gold does.
Platinum is very dense and heavy metal, so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18ct gold ring.
Platinum is, however, significantly more expensive than gold. With all other things being the same, a platinum ring will be approximately twice the price of an 18ct white gold ring, it is a prestige choice and is often chosen for its sophisticated appeal and popularity amongst the rich and famous however is normally not used in the full range of jewellery products due to its higher price.
Platinum is mainly used in ladies engagement rings, ladies wedding rings and men’s wedding rings but can also be used to make dress rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces.
Sterling silver is a white-grey coloured metal which is less expensive than gold and platinum.
Silver is a popular metal for use in jewellery such as earrings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and dress rings. It is best used for jewellery that will not be worn every day for an extended period. For that reason it is usually not normally recommend for wedding rings and engagement rings.
The metal itself is also more prone to oxidisation, sometimes causing the silver to turn black. At Kyri, we can polish your silver jewellery to make it look like new again. Please pop in for an estimate.