What metal is best for me?

Apr-06,2013 02:15 AMCST   CkyBuy   Bookmaker: CkyBuy Admin    
SUBJECT: Earring   Necklace   Ring  

There are several metals used in the creation of fine jewelry. 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 jewelry.

The metal types commonly used to make jewelry include Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Titanium, Silver, Tungsten and Stainless Steel.

Below you will find information about each of these metal types, together with information about which metals are best for particular types of jewelry.

Gold is the most popular metal choice for fashion rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets.

There are two things to consider when looking at gold. First, which color of gold (yellow or white).  Second, which karat (10K, 14K, 18K).  14 Karat gold is the most widely used Karat in the USA jewelry industry.

GOLD KARAT/PURITY

There are several karats available for gold.

The karat in gold measures the proportion of pure gold mixed with other metal alloy to make up the final metal.

The karat of gold is represented in the USA by the abbreviation K or Kt.  Other countries might use Ct.

The higher the proportion of gold used in the final metal, the more valuable and expensive the metal will be. So, all other things being the same, an 18kt ring will be more expensive than a 14kt ring and a 14kt ring will be more expensive than a 10kt ring.

  • 10kt gold contains 41.7% pure gold (417 parts per thousand).
  • 14kt gold contains 58.5% pure gold (585 parts per thousand).
  • 18kt gold contains 75% pure gold (750 parts per thousand).
HOW GOLD IS MARKED/STAMPED

The remainder of the metals is made up of a combination of alloys.  Alloys are different metals which help to give the metal a unique appearance, such as a different color.

Jewelry is normally stamped with a marking to show the type of gold.

  • For 10kt gold the stamp will normally be either the number 416 or 417, 10kt, or 10K.
  • For 14kt gold the stamp will normally be either the number 585, 14kt or 14K.
  • For 18kt gold the stamp will normally be either the number 750, 18kt, 18K.

 

The stamps only indicate the karat of metal. They do not indicate the color of the metal. So for example an 18kt yellow gold ring would have a stamp of 750 as would an 18kt white gold ring.

10kt, 14kt and 18kt gold are each relatively hard and durable metals and are suitable for use in all types of fine jewelry. Gold is also suitable to be used in jewelry that is worn on an every day basis.

When choosing jewelry, particularly rings, many people consider the hardness and durability of gold to be used in their ring.

There is another difference that should be considered when comparing 10kt and 18kt. 10kt is more difficult to bend and is a little more springy and therefore a fine 10kt ring may be less likely to bend out of shape than a fine 18kt ring. However, if the ring is of a good sturdy construction neither metal will be likely to bend out of shape.

GOLD COLORS

Gold is available in several different colors. The most popular is yellow and white gold, followed rose gold.  Other gold colors are sometimes available, such as pink, red and green gold.

Jewelry can also be made using a combination of different gold colors. These jewelry items are sometimes called two-tone, three-tone or multi-colored gold.

The difference in color between yellow, white and rose is determined by the metals used in the alloy mix.

As the color difference is due to the metal components in the alloy mix, the color of yellow gold and rose gold will not fade or wear off with age.

Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with alloy metals such as copper, silver and zinc.

Rose gold is made using a mix of pure gold with alloys including copper. The copper provides the rose-reddish color.

White gold is an alloy of pure gold and some white metals such as silver, nickel, tin and palladium.

Traditionally, nickel was used in white gold, however, nickel is not used in most white gold made today. Nickel can cause reactions with some people.

When white gold rings are new they are generally plated with another white metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is a white metal in the platinum family. Rhodium shares many of the properties of platinum including its white color.

The rhodium plating is used to make the white gold look whiter. The natural color of white gold is actually a light gray color with undertones of yellow.  The yellow color in white gold comes from the pure gold used to alloy the metal.  The rhodium is very white and hard, but it does wear away eventually. To keep a white gold ring looking its best, it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 6 to 18 months. Most local jewelers are able to rhodium plate jewelry.

There can be a difference in color between the different karats of gold.

18kt yellow gold is more yellow than 10kt yellow gold with 18kt yellow gold having a richer golden color.

When comparing the price of the gold colors in the same karat, white gold is normally a little more expensive than yellow gold and rose gold. Yellow gold and rose gold normally have approximately the same price.

When trying to decide between the gold karat types there are three things to consider.

  1. The metal's performance with every day wear.
  2. The difference in color between the 10kt, 14kt and 18kt gold.
  3. The difference in price between the gold karats.

In practical terms, 14kt and 18kt hold up to everyday wear better than 10kt.  They also tend to look better than 10kt as it ages over the years. This is one of the reasons why when selecting gold for an engagement ring most people will opt for 14Kt or 18Kt.

QUICK REFERENCE - WHAT TYPES OF JEWELRY ARE SUITABLE FOR GOLD?
 Ladies Wedding Ring  14 K or 18 K
 Men's Wedding Ring  14 K or 18 K
 Ladies Colored Stone Ring  14 K or 18 K
 Men's Fashion Ring  14 K
 Pendant or Earrings  14 K
 Bracelets and Necklaces  14 K

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