|Gold, Platinum, Palladium & Silver|
Pure gold has many unique and desirable characteristics that make it valuable. For instance, it doesn’t tarnish, it is non-allergenic, it is very malleable/workable, polishes to a mirror-like shine, is rare, and it is highly valued in every country in the world. However, it is very soft in its pure state and is generally considered to be unsuitable for jewelry.
In order to make gold jewelry that is durable and long lasting, gold is combined with other metals--called alloys--to make it stronger. The amount of gold in the mixture is measured in Karats, abbreviated K. A Karat is a unit of purity for gold alloys. The higher the karat number, the higher the percentage of gold in the item.
Alloys add strength, but dilute the amount of the gold. In an attempt to achieve the best balance between the strength of alloys and the desirable properties of gold, several different karat gold combinations have become standard: 22K, 18K, 14K, and 10K.
Each of these has the following percentage of gold:
- 24K = 100% gold
- 22K = 92% gold, 8% alloy
- 18K = 75% gold, 25% alloy
- 14K = 58.3% gold, 41.7% alloy
- 10K = 41.7% gold, 58.3% alloy
Platinum is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewelry in almost its 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. Platinum is very dense (heavy), so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18K gold ring.
Palladium, like Platinum, is a naturally white metal, hypoallergenic, will not tarnish and remains white forever. It is lighter in weight than its sister metal, Platinum. Palladium is 95% pure when used in jewelry, is extremely durable, and does not require any alloy metals and/or plating to prevent discoloration. It will remain white as long as you own your jewelry.
Pure silver is very malleable, soft and easily damaged. As a result, like gold, it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular silver alloy is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.