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Metal Education

When it comes to engagement ring settings and wedding rings, there are several metals to choose from. Each metal has its own characteristics, so personal preference really plays a part when selecting a metal type for your jewelry. Of course, there is much more you’ll need to know…

 

Platinum

Platinum is one of the rarest metals and so it is extremely valuable. The annual worldwide production of platinum is only around 160 tons. Compare that to the approximate 1,500 tons of gold being produced worldwide per year and you can understand platinum's huge appeal. Plus, it can only be found in very few regions of the world, with South Africa leading the way. Simply put, platinum is more valuable than gold and more expensive too.

Platinum has grown increasingly popular in recent years due to its great beauty and durability. Its rich color and sheen makes platinum a popular choice for settings, because the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond are greatly magnified on a platinum setting. While all metals scratch, when platinum is scratched, the metal is merely displaced.

One of platinum's greatest assets is that it is very strong and can withstand a lot of stress - more so than any other precious metal. No matter what fine gemstone or diamond you choose as a center jewel, color is one of the primary determiners of the rarity and therefore the cost. Diamonds with little or no color are typically most desirable. Consequently, the optimal setting is a white metal that won't reflect color into the stone. Platinum is a naturally pure white metal that will keep its brilliant white luster. All gold is naturally yellow metal. White gold is mixed with other alloys to make it look white, and over time it will lose its whiter shade and begin to yellow. In order to maintain its white look, it may need to be re-plated during its lifetime.

 

Caring for Platinum Jewelry

If platinum is worn daily, it may develop a slight sheen. Although most people prefer this look, you can always have a jeweler polish and restore it to its original shine. Soaking platinum jewelry in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush is pretty much all that is needed to keep the metal looking good. To keep your jewelry shining and scratch-free, store them in their original boxes, soft cloth bags, or a fabric-lined jewelry box.

 


Yellow Gold

Gold is the absolute oldest of all metals. It doesn't corrode, tarnish or rust, so you can count on it to always stay gorgeous. Despite being a strong metal, it is still more "flexible" than the other precious metals. To keep gold solid and suitable for jewelry, pure gold is commonly mixed with different metals to increase its strength.

Yellow gold is the most common form of gold found in jewelry and is usually mixed with copper and silver. Its color depends upon the amount of pure gold in the alloy.

The purity of gold in an alloy is expressed in carats. Pure gold is 24 carats, but it is too soft to be used in jewelry.

18 carat gold is made up of 75% gold and 25% other metals. It is commonly used in fine jewelry.

14 carat gold contains 58.3% gold. This is the most common form of gold found in jewelry where strength matters.

10 carat gold is made up of 41.7% gold. This is the minimum amount of karats an item needs to be classified as real gold in the U.S.

Caring for Yellow Gold Jewelry

To keep your gold shiny and free of scratches, store it in a soft cloth bag or a fabric-lined jewelry box. Make sure to keep gold jewelry away from harmful chemicals such as bleach, ammonia and chlorine. Always use a soft cloth to dry your jewelry, never paper towels


White Gold

White gold is quickly becoming the most popular style of gold. Often, white gold is purchased in 14 carat jewelry because it looks more similar to platinum. White gold basically has the same attributes as yellow gold, except it is mixed with different metals - nickel, zinc, silver and palladium - that give it a white color.

Often, white gold is plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a shiny, white metal that is a member of the platinum family, and is used to give white gold an even whiter appearance. White gold is a great choice to compliment very white diamonds, as it strongly enhances their brilliance and sparkle.

Caring for White Gold

Even though gold is resilient, there are still measures you can take to keep you jewelry looking good as new. First, be sure to store your gold jewelry in a soft cloth bag or a fabric-lined jewelry box. Second, be sure to keep your gold jewelry away from corrosive chemicals. Third, clean your gold with mild soap and warm water only. Make sure to use a non-metallic, soft brush (like a toothbrush). Forth, make sure to dry your gold with a lint-free towel (no paper towels).