Rarity and Market
A given metal is precious if it is rare. If mining or refining
processes improve, or new supplies are discovered and exploited, the
value of such a metal declines.
An interesting case of
a precious metal going common is that of aluminum.
Aluminum was, when it was first discovered, extremely difficult to
separate from the ore
it was part of and, since the whole of the Earth's aluminum was bound
up in the form of compounds, the most difficult metal on earth to get,
despite the fact that it is one of the planet's most common.
For a while, aluminum was more valuable than gold; bars of
aluminum were exhibited
alongside the French crown jewels at the Exposition Universelle
is said to have used aluminum plates for his most honored guests at
dinner. However, the price dropped continually and collapsed
altogether when an easy extraction method, the Hall-Heroult process, was discovered in 1886.
The rarity of various
metals may again be in for a shift, however. Meanwhile, silver is in a
structural supply deficit, with 300 million troy ounces (9,000,000 kg)
more being consumed each year than is mined--it may currently be more
rare than gold.
Some of the precious
metals currently used for jewelry include Yellow Gold, White Gold, Silver,
Titanium, Platinum and Copper.
GOLD - Pure gold is too
soft to withstand normal wear and tear put on jewelry. Gold
needs to be combined with other metals to increase its hardness and
therefore, durability for use in jewelry. Karats are the
standard measure of how much gold is contained within an article of
jewelry. The range of karats is from 1 to 24. 24 Karat is PURE GOLD
and is much too pliable and soft to make hard jewelry. Based on this
24 part measurement system, 14 Karat (14K) gold is 14 parts of gold to
10 parts other metals, and 10 Karat gold is 10 parts gold combined
with 14 parts other metals.
18 Karat gold is 18
parts gold, 6 parts other metals - the BEST and FINEST mixture for all
14 Karat gold is
acceptable for fine jewelry and is the most common level of karats for
10 Karat gold is the
minimum legal Karat level for gold jewelry sold in the USA.
Please note that KARAT
is not the same as CARAT. KARAT measures gold content while CARAT
measure the specific weight of diamonds and various gemstones. (I am
not sure why they had to make the names so close? :-)
Most gold used in
jewelry is alloyed with silver, copper and small amounts of zinc to
produce various shades of yellow gold, or with nickel, copper, zinc
and rhodium to produce white gold. The color of these gold
alloys goes from yellow to white as the proportion of nickel in them
increases. Alloying gold with copper creates what is known as
rose or pink gold.
Since nickel is the
most popular alloy used in white gold, it is important to note that
some people may be allergic to nickel. People with this sensitivity
can avoid problems by choosing 18-Karat gold, instead of 14-Karat
(since there is more pure gold and less alloys in 18 Karat gold), or
by choosing platinum settings. (See additional information on
Yellow Gold - Yellow
gold is one of
the most popular precious metals. Yellow gold has a higher cost and therefore, higher
status than silver. Commonly used for bridal/wedding, engagement and
Gold - White
gold has gained a lot of popularity in the last ten to twenty years.
It is now a staple in the jewelry and diamond circuits - from rings to
bracelets to earrings - white gold is available and gorgeous.
14kt White Gold Black Pearl and Diamond Ring
1/4 CT. T.W. Princess Cut Certified Diamond Solitaire 18K White
Titanium - Mostly
men's jewelry at this time....
Platinum - Understanding
the inherent qualities of Platinum will help when shopping for that
perfect Platinum jewelry piece.
During the early years of this century, Platinum was considered the
precious metal of choice for discriminating jewelry purchasers. When
World War II began, Platinum was declared a strategic metal to be used
for military purposes only. During the war, white gold gained
popularity to fill the gap left by Platinum's absence. Today, Platinum
is regaining its popularity as one of the hottest precious metals on
1. Platinum jewelry is 50 times more rare than gold jewelry.
2. Platinum is pure. It is a hypoallergenic precious metal. One can
wear it and not have to worry about an allergic reaction on their
skin. They can also wear Platinum if they are allergic to nickel (an
alloy frequently used in karat gold) without an allergic reaction to
3. Platinum is a naturally white metal. When Platinum comes out of the
ground, it is white. When gold comes out of the ground, it is yellow
and must be bleached or dyed white with other metals such as nickel
and rhodium in order to create white gold. Platinum will always stay
white. It needs no special maintenance over the years to remain that
beautiful white color.
is one of the world's strongest metals. It weighs 60% more than karat
gold. Just holding it in your hand, you can feel the difference.
5. Platinum is durable. Not only does Platinum feel heavier than gold,
prongs are stronger and therefore more securely hold precious
stones in place and require less maintenance than karat gold prongs.
6. Look for markings on Platinum jewelry that tell you it is Platinum.
Iridplat, 900 Plat or 900 PT are markings that mean that the
alloy mix is 10% iridium (a platinum group metal) and 90% pure
Platinum. PLAT, 950 Plat or 950 PT are markings that mean a piece
of jewelry is 95% pure Platinum and 5% another metal. The other metals
are usually ruthenium or iridium (both Platinum group metals).
7. The newest, exciting
additional to the jewelry family is Karat Platinum. Simply put,
Karat Platinum is made with the same eye toward affordability while
maintaining the beauty and luster of Platinum as is 14K gold. As
14K gold is marked 14K or 585, Karat Platinum is marked 585Pt/415CoCu. The
alloys used in creating Karat Platinum (or 14K Platinum), that give it
durability and strength while maintaining the luxurious Platinum
luster, are typically cobalt and copper.
8. Not everyone can own Platinum jewelry because there simply isn't
enough of it in world. For example: all the Platinum ever mined would
fit in an average sized living room.
CARE AND CLEANING
Like all jewelry, you
will want to put your platinum jewelry on as the final touch before
your begin your day. While platinum is a much harder metal than
gold, it can still show scratches. Therefore, you should
not do any household or rough work while wearing platinum. Soaking
your platinum jewelry in a mild solution of warm soapy water and
gently scrubbing it with a soft brush (makeup brush) is generally all
that is required to keep your platinum looking beautiful for years.
If you are shopping for a different look, try Platinum - nature's most
precious of metals.
Platinum 1.00 CTW Channel Set Diamond Anniversary Band
Platinum Solitaire Diamond Ring
Copper Medical Alert Cuff Bracelet (1 Line)
Men's Stainless & Copper Chronograph by Croton
Definitions courtesy of: Wikipedia.org. Thanks for this great