The standard measurement of gold is Karat. Pure gold is known as 24K gold, but most jewelry is made from either 18K gold, 14K gold or 10K gold. Because pure gold is too soft to be used for jewelry, it is combined with other metals, like silver, copper, nickel, zinc, to increase its strength and durability. Jewelers can create stunning golden shades – white gold, pink gold, rose gold, orange and even green gold.
Platinum is considered the most precious of all jewelry metals. The majority of platinum jewelry is 95% pure platinum combined with 5% iridium, palladium, ruthenium or other alloys. For guaranteed quality in platinum, look for the marks 950Plat or Plat. This hypoallergenic metal is heavier than most metals and commonly used as a secure diamond setting. Like gold, it is tarnish and rust resistant.
Like gold, silver is too soft to be used by itself in jewelry. For this reason, it is mixed with other metals to enhance its durability. One of the most popular jewelry metals is sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Sterling silver jewelry is stamped in various ways such as ‘sterling’ or ‘925’ to indicate its content. Although some jewelry metals are resistant to tarnish, silver is not. If you have a silver piece that you do not wear very often, tarnish can build on its surface. Regular polishing with a silver cleaner can be a quick and easy solution. It’s important to clean tarnish before it builds. Otherwise, it can cause long-term damage to your jewelry.