When choosing a jewellery piece you need to decide on what metal you want it in, Gold, Platinum, Silver or Titanium? The Articles below will assist you in deciding which metal will be best suited for you.
A carat, noted by a number followed by “ct”, indicates purity and is a measure of the percentage of gold to alloy contained in gold jewellery. Gold is mixed with alloys for strength. Twenty-four carat (stamped 24ct) is considered pure gold and too soft to be used for jewellery. The more pure gold is, the more expensive it is. The more popular 18ct gold contains 75% pure gold. Jewellery marked 9ct is more prevalent in South Africa. The preference overseas is for 14ct to 18ct. Copper and silver are the alloys primarily used with yellow gold. Gold is available in yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. Yellow and white gold are similar in strength and malleability, making them perfect for jewellery that is worn daily. White gold is alloyed with nickel, copper and zinc and while it looks similar to platinum, it differs considerably. Rose-coloured gold is alloyed with copper and is often used to offset white or yellow gold. The saturation of colour varies from piece to piece and according to gold content. The value of gold jewellery is based on several factors: fineness or carat count, weight in grams and the workmanship reflected in the piece. In caring for your jewellery keep it away from harsh chemicals such as chlorine and cleaning fluids. This will reduce abrasions and prolong your gold’s lustre. 18ct jewellery is purchased for a special occasion or as a special gift, mostly used in engagement rings. 9ct is purchased for its durability so it can be worn every day, mostly used as gent’s wedding bands or as earrings or necklaces.
Platinum is the most durable of fine jewellery metals. It does not chip or splinter easily, making it perfect for diamond and gemstone settings. It is similar in colour to white gold, but by comparing the two, the difference is clear. Platinum jewellery is usually 95% pure platinum with 5% iridium or palladium alloy. It can also be 90% pure platinum with 10% iridium or palladium alloy. Caring for jewellery, soak it in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrub it with a soft-bristled brush to maintain the metal’s lustre. This is the ideal metal for everyday wear and tear and the perfect metal to set a diamond in.
Pure silver is soft and easily damaged. It is combined with copper to give it more durability when creating jewellery, which is then, called sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, but this alloy does not have an effect on the value of the metal. The price of the silver item is affected by the labour involved in manufacturing the item, the skill of the crafts person, and the intricacy of the design. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewellery either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment in your jewellery box. Avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water as these chemicals can damage silver. Silver tends to tarnish as it reacts with sulphur or hydrogen sulphide in the air. Cleaning and wearing it regularly will help maintain its shine and prevent this. When noticing discolouration, use a polish made specifically for removing tarnish. Affordable and the ideal gift for a girlfriend or boyfriend or even a valentine’s gift.
This metal is light in weight (roughly a third the weight of gold) while simultaneously being extremely hard and resistant to corrosion. It has only recently been used to manufacture jewellery, as opposed to its traditional usage in the industry. Due to its strength, it is manufactured out of a block of solid metal and can therefore not be resized. Titanium is available in many grades, sometimes alloyed with other metals for even greater strength. It may still show slight scratches but it can easily be polished to keep it looking new. Generally only used for men’s jewellery or even as men’s wedding bands, as it is very tough metal that can handle the life style of a man who likes working with his hands and who does not want to remove his jewellery. Titanium is also very affordable.