UNDERSTANING PRECIOUS METALS

Gold

Gold is the oldest precious metal known to humankind and has been crafted into the jewelry as long as man has walked the earth. It is prized for it’s luster and beauty. Gold is the world’s most malleable (able to be pounded thin ) and ductile (able to be drawn to a fine wire) of all metals. Gold’s softness and malleability makes it the perfect metal to create jewelry. It is also nontoxic, resists tarnishing, doesn’t corrode, is hypoallergenic, and retains its value making it very popular to wear.

The natural color or shade of gold is yellow, which also happens to be the most commonly used shade of gold when making jewelry. Yellow gold is alloyed usually with copper or silver to add strength because of how soft pure gold really is. Another popular shade of gold is white gold made by mixing yellow gold with zinc, nickel, palladium, or copper.

When buying gold always look for the karat mark to ensure that it is real. Pure gold is usually 24K and is much too soft to make jewelry so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. At King, to identify the gold content in our jewelry, look for the following quality marks: 18 karat gold will be marked with 18k or 750 14 carat gold will be marked with 14k or 585 Care for Gold Since gold is so durable and malleable it is ideal for settings containing diamonds, pearls, or gemstones. If a piece of a setting breaks you can always bring it to KING to have it repaired by our in house jeweler.

The following shows the proportion of pure gold in the most common karat counts:

Gold Purity by Karat Count KARAT MEASURE GOLD VS. ALLOY CONTENT

  • 24 Karat 100% Pure Gold
  • 18 Karat 75% Gold, 25% other metal(s)
  • 14 Karat 58.5% Gold, 41.5% other metal(s)
  • 10 Karat 41.66% Gold, 58.34% other metal(s)

At King, we rarely sell 10k gold and we don’t stock it as part of our inventory. On occasion, we will order something for a customer in 10k gold or use it for repair of 10k gold items.

Platinum

Platinum is relatively new as a fine metal for jewelry. Yes, there were a few early civilizations that used platinum but only in the 1800s when large deposits were discovered and ways of fashioning it, did platinum become popular. It’s popularity soared in the early 1900s but during World War 2, platinum was termed a strategic metal and was removed from the consumer market. In the 1990s, platinum enjoyed a renaissance that continues today.

Platinum is a white metal and much rarer than gold. It is also more pure than gold when used in jewelry. Most platinum jewelry is either 90% to 100% pure. There are some manufacturers that are using platinum with high concentrations of alloy, but you won’t find that type here at KING. Platinum is denser making it heavier than gold so a piece of jewelry made from platinum will be heavier than the same piece made in gold.

Because it is more pure when made into jewelry, is denser and is more rare than gold making it more expensive on an ounce for ounce basis, and rarely has alloys added, jewelry made from platinum is more expensive and more valuable than jewelry made in gold. Platinum is the pinnicle of fine metals for making fine jewelry.

At KING, look for these quality marks stamped on our jewelry made from platinum:

Platinum, Plat, Pt1000, 1000pt, 1000plat       100% Platinum

Platinum, Plat, Pt950, 950pt, 950Plat              95% Platinum

Pt900, 900pt, 900Plat                                         90% Platinum

Sterling Silver

Silver has been a part of human culture for at least 4500 years. Until the 19th century, Silver was the only white precious metal but in the 1800s, Platinum and White Gold became available and Silver suffered. Silver has been relegated to “fashion” status and that is what many fine deigners like to use becasue they can create beautiful and durable products at more affordable prices.

Silvers affordability is a prime feature of the metal and when artistic creativity is added, silver shines with loads of appeal. Many designers today, Rhodium plate their silver designs to afford tarnish and the need for extra polishing.

Most silver jewelry sold at KING is sterling. This means 92.5% of the item is pure silver, the rest being alloy to make it stronger. The recipe was developed in England during the 1300s. At KING, look for these quality marks found stamped in our sterling silver jewelry: Sterling, ster, or 925.

VISIT OUR JEWELRY SHOWROOM IN LAURELWOOD FOR MORE INFORMATION.