Types of metals used in jewelry design
There are several metals used in the design and production of jewelry. The metal types commonly used to make jewelry include Gold, Platinum, Sterling Silver, Stainless Steel, Palladium, Titanium and Tungsten. We’ve provided you with information about these metals, their benefits and unique qualities. In the future, this may allow you to make a better and more informed decision when buying jewelry.
First, which colour of gold jewelry? Second, which karat? There are 10K, 14K, 18K, 22K and even 24K gold. 24K gold is pure, non-alloyed gold. This type of gold only contains gold, without any silver, zinc, nickel, palladium, copper or other metals. It's the purest type of gold. 14 Karat yellow gold is the most widely used Karat in the USA and Canada in jewelry.
White gold is a mixture of pure yellow gold and other white metals. It is often plated with rhodium to give it a whiter appearance resembling platinum. A special note should be made about white gold. When considering white gold jewellery it is best to consider the following questions and discuss them with your jeweller:
- Does the white gold jewellery you are considering buying contain nickel? It is important to note that for some people nickel in white gold can cause a mild to severe skin reaction. Sometimes this reaction only occurs later in one’s life. An alternative to white alloy with nickel would be white gold alloyed with palladium which is hypoallergenic. Another option would be to choose a different white metal or metal alloy.
- Is the white gold jewellery that you are considering purchasing plated with rhodium? Rhodium plating is often used to make white gold look whiter. Depending on the karat, white gold is actually a light grey colour with undertones of yellow. Although rhodium is very hard it does eventually wear away. White gold jewelry may have to be replated every 6 to 18 months. Most local jewellers offer rhodium plating services.
Finally, pink gold, also known as rose gold, has a pinkish-reddish hue. It's made using a mix of pure gold with alloys including copper which provides the rose-reddish colour.
Platinum is a very long-wearing and naturally light gray metal. When used for jewelry it is between 90% and 95% pure and should not be plated. It is also very dense. This means that a given ring in platinum will be heavier than that same ring in 18k gold. It is also considerably more costly than gold.
Sterling silver is less expensive than gold, platinum and titanium. Silver is a softer metal than gold, titanium, and platinum, and does not have the hardness of the other metals and therefore scratches more easily.
Silver is a popular metal for use in jewelry such as bracelets, sterling silver necklaces, earrings, pendants and rings. Sterling silver is a great choice for everyday jewelry to help enhance your look and give it that extra elegance and sophistication depending on the occasion.
Stainless steel is very hard and durable making it most popular in men's jewelry. Particularly common in men's bracelets, necklaces, men's wedding bands and men's rings.
Many brands of men's watches are made of Stainless Steel. The range of stainless steel jewelry is generally more restricted than for other metals.
Titanium is a natural element, which has a silver-grayish-white colour. It's also the hardest natural metal in the world.
Titanium provides several unique characteristics that make it a great choice of metal for jewelry. Titanium is very strong, lightweight, and is also dent, bend and scratch-resistant. It is available in a wide range of colours.
Palladium, a platinum group metal, was first used for jewelry in 1939. It's most popular use is a whitening agent for white gold. It is hypoallergenic and a particularly great choice for someone with a sensitivity to nickel.
Tungsten is a very hard, strong and durable metal. It's also very heavy. It has very high scratch resistance. Unlike gold, platinum and even titanium, tungsten rings don't scratch with everyday wear.
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