HalfBanner_750x500_Images_Metals-101

Metals 101

A Guide to Precious & Semi-Precious Metals

HalfBanner_750x500_Images_Metals-101

Metals 101

A Guide to Precious & Semi-Precious Metals

Types of Gold

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The purity of gold is measured in karats. When a metal is 100% pure, such as with 24K gold, it is too soft and malleable to create long-lasting jewelry. Consequently, it must be alloyed with other metals to give it strength.

– 18K Gold – 18 parts gold, 6 parts other metals by weight (75% pure)
– 14K Gold – 14 parts gold, 10 parts other metals by weight (58.3% pure)
– 10K Gold – 10 parts gold, 14 parts other metals by weight (41.7% pure)

3_Column_500x300_Images_TypesofGold

The purity of gold is measured in karats. When a metal is 100% pure, such as with 24K gold, it is too soft and malleable to create long-lasting jewelry. Consequently, it must be alloyed with other metals to give it strength.

– 18K Gold – 18 parts gold, 6 parts other metals by weight (75% pure)
– 14K Gold – 14 parts gold, 10 parts other metals by weight (58.3% pure)
– 10K Gold – 10 parts gold, 14 parts other metals by weight (41.7% pure)

Yellow Gold

With its warm hue, yellow gold is the most common precious metal. It is commonly composed with small amounts of copper, alloy, and silver, making this metal resilient, while maintaining its timeless shine.

White Gold

White gold has a silver appearance and is composed of gold, nickel, zinc, and alloy. It is also commonly plated with rhodium to add to its shine and hardness.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is composed of gold, copper, alloy and silver, giving it a unique pink-ish hue — like a rose. The copper is what gives it its distinct pink coloring. It’s strong enough for daily wear, and has been used in creating jewelry for centuries.

Caring For Gold

  • At Marlow’s Fine Jewelry we are always happy to professionally polish and clean your jewelry.
  • For desired cleanings at home it’s recommended to clean your gold jewelry with a mild detergent like Windex and water (one-part Windex to six parts water). Avoid any solution/moisture when cleaning pieces that contain pearls, opal, or soft gemstones
  • Use a soft brush to gently clean intricate filigree designs and under
    gemstones
  • Do not use any kind of abrasive material that might scratch the gold
    Rinse and wipe jewelry after cleaning

Caring For Gold

  • At Marlow’s Fine Jewelry we are always happy to professionally polish and clean your jewelry.
  • For desired cleanings at home it’s recommended to clean your gold jewelry with a mild detergent like Windex and water (one-part Windex to six parts water). Avoid any solution/moisture when cleaning pieces that contain pearls
  • Use a soft brush to gently clean intricate filigree designs and under
    gemstones
  • Do not use any kind of abrasive material that might scratch the gold
    Rinse and wipe jewelry after cleaning

Could money be hiding in your Jewelry Box?

The experts at Marlow’s Fine Jewelry are always ready to buy your unused or broken items. If you have unused gold, silver, platinum, jewelry and other treasures around your home – bring them to the experts at Marlow’s for a free no obligation estimates of your valuables! We pay you the top recovery for your items. “Trust the Store That Always Gives You More.”

Could money be hiding in your Jewelry Box?

The experts at Marlow’s Fine Jewelry are always ready to buy your unused or broken items. If you have unused gold, silver, platinum, jewelry and other treasures around your home – bring them to the experts at Marlow’s for a free no obligation estimates of your valuables! We pay you the top recovery for your items. “Trust the Store That Always Gives You More.”

White Metals

Platinum – Rarest Metal

Five times more rare than gold and maintaining a bright white shine, platinum has been used in jewelry making for centuries.

Of the three noble metals, platinum is the most valuable because of its rarity and purity. It also has many other desirable qualities for jewelry making, notably enduring elegance. Platinum is soft, ductile and easily worked, yet strong and durable, making it an excellent metal for gem settings. Platinum prongs show little wear, providing great protection for precious stones.

Sterling Silver

Like 24k gold, silver is too soft for making jewelry and will lose its shape over time. Sterling silver, however, is alloyed with metals like copper to create a harder metal. Still, silver is much more easily scratched than other fine metals and is not used for jewelry that is used for daily, long-term wear. Traditional sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper with traces of nickel, which is what can cause an allergic reaction in people with intense jewelry allergies. These allergies can be avoided through rhodium plating, since rhodium is hypoallergenic.

Caring For Platinum

To maintain the luster of your platinum jewelry, Marlow’s recommends a professional polishing. To simply clean your platinum jewelry at home, use a soft cloth or tooth brush and mild soap or an ammonia solution (one part ammonia to six parts water). Do not soak or brush delicate gemstones that are mounted in your platinum jewelry such as opal, pearls or soft gemstones. 

Caring For Sterling Silver

Create your own cleaning solution (do not use this method with jewelry that contains gemstones). Line a bowl with aluminum foil and pour in hot, salted water. Drop your silver jewelry in and move it around with a wooden or plastic utensil to ensure all of the surfaces come in contact with the aluminum foil. When the metal has become bright again (it should only take a few minutes), remove the jewelry and rinse under the tap. Wipe gently with a towel and polish with a soft cloth.

White Metals

Platinum – Rarest Metal

Five times more rare than gold and maintaining a bright white shine, platinum has been used in jewelry making for centuries.

Of the three noble metals, platinum is the most valuable because of its rarity and purity. It also has many other desirable qualities for jewelry making, notably enduring elegance. Platinum is soft, ductile and easily worked, yet strong and durable, making it an excellent metal for gem settings. Platinum prongs show little wear, providing great protection for precious stones.

Caring For Platinum

To maintain the luster of your platinum jewelry, Marlow’s recommends a professional polishing. To simply clean your platinum jewelry at home, use a soft cloth or tooth brush and mild soap or an ammonia solution (one part ammonia to six parts water). Do not soak or brush delicate gemstones that are mounted in your platinum jewelry such as opal, pearls or soft gemstones. 

Sterling Silver

Like 24k gold, silver is too soft for making jewelry and will lose its shape over time. Sterling silver, however, is alloyed with metals like copper to create a harder metal. Still, silver is much more easily scratched than other fine metals and is not used for jewelry that is used for daily, long-term wear. Traditional sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper with traces of nickel, which is what can cause an allergic reaction in people with intense jewelry allergies. These allergies can be avoided through rhodium plating, since rhodium is hypoallergenic.

Caring For Sterling Silver

Create your own cleaning solution (do not use this method with jewelry that contains gemstones). Line a bowl with aluminum foil and pour in hot, salted water. Drop your silver jewelry in and move it around with a wooden or plastic utensil to ensure all of the surfaces come in contact with the aluminum foil. When the metal has become bright again (it should only take a few minutes), remove the jewelry and rinse under the tap. Wipe gently with a towel and polish with a soft cloth.

Alternative Metals

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten Carbide has a metallic, silvery tone. Tungsten is a very hard and it’s 4x harder than titanium and 2x harder than steel. Despite its hardness, tungsten can shatter with pressure or upon impact in some situations. This is because of how it is produced. Tungsten and carbide are ground to a powder, bound together using nickel, and compressed into a solid state, making it porous, brittle, and susceptible to shattering.

Titanium

Titanium has superior structural integrity and is 3x stronger than steel. Titanium is very light weight (1/3 as much as gold). Although a very hard and durable metal, titanium can still be scratched by abrasive materials like rocks or hardened steel tools.

Titanium also plays a role in gems. Traces of titanium dioxide impurities cause the asterism phenomenon in Star Sapphires and Rubies. Blue sapphires can get their blue color from traces of titanium as well.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a metal composed of iron alloy and a minimum of 10.5% of chromium. The chromium makes the metal resistant to staining, corroding, and oxidation. Stainless steel comes in many grades that determine the application of the metal. This is a relatively hard, durable, and affordable metal, which typically comes in light gray.