Metal Guide

18 Karat Gold NY City Skyline with Diamonds

Yellow Gold

Gold comes out of the mine as 24 karat yellow gold, but it is so soft that if we made it into jewelry you would be able to bend it with your mind (not really, but you get the point). That’s why harder metals are added that we call alloys. The amount of alloy added determines the karat content of the gold. 18 karat gold has less alloy in it than 14 karat and 14 karat gold has less alloy in it than 10 karat, etc.

The color of the gold can also be determined by the alloy used. For example, white gold is made by adding more silver, nickel, platinum or palladium.

Sometimes people ask if we can make jewelry using their gold. We can, but we don’t recommend it. We believe in using the highest quality gold and the alloys in your jewelry have become brittle from the chlorine that’s in the water you use to wash your hands. We don’t want your new jewelry to be brittle too.

White Gold

Made from yellow, White Gold still has a yellowish hue. That’s why it is plated with a pure white metal called Rhodium. Over time, the rhodium wears off, but for a nominal fee we can make your jewelry look new again.

Platinum

Platinum is hypoallergenic and has a natural white beauty that is a perfect complement to diamonds. Compared to gold, however, platinum is five times as rare, making it much more valuable. It is not nearly as soft as gold, so jewelry made of Platinum contains only 5 or 10% alloy (compared to 14 karat gold which contains over 40% alloy). Platinum is also much heavier than gold, but don’t worry…it doesn’t make you look fat.

Gold In Art Jewelers carries only a few pieces of Platinum Jewelry, but many of our pieces can be made in Platinum if you want. One word of caution, though. Some people are not satisfied with their Platinum jewelry because it scratches easily and begins to look dull. While we can restore it’s original beauty, there is nothing we can do to prevent it from happening again.

Silver

Like gold, pure silver is too soft to be used in jewelry and is combined with other metals to increase its strength. In order to be called Sterling silver, it must be 92.5% pure silver. For that reason Sterling silver is significantly more durable than regular silver. If it is not stamped “Ster”, “Sterling” or “925” it is not Sterling silver.

Although most jewelry metals are resistant to tarnish, silver is not. It’s important to remove tarnish before it builds, otherwise it can cause long-term damage to your jewelry. If you want to know the best way to clean silver, let your fingers do the walkin’ on the world wide web. Look at our name, we are not silver experts 🙂 Only about 15% of our jewelry is made of Sterling silver.

Other Metals

Gold In Art Jewelers does not stock these items, but our in-store catalogs have a great variety from which to choose.

Titanium

Titanium is a fairly recent addition to fashion jewelry. Admired for its unique appearance and maximum strength, titanium is much lighter than steel, yet three times stronger. It weighs 1/3 less than gold and is highly resistant to dents and bending. It is also hypoallergenic and will not corrode over time. The most classic colors of titanium are gray and black with beautiful finishes such as satin, frost or high-polish. It’s important to note that, because of its composition, titanium rings cannot be sized.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is becoming very popular among jewelry wearers. The chromium present in stainless steel (generally at least 10.5%) resists the process of oxidation, preventing rust or “stains” from appearing on the steel’s surface. Stainless steel is also greatly admired for its strength.

Tungsten

One of the newest metals to the jewelry industry, tungsten has many fine qualities. It is resistant to corrosion and is four times harder than titanium. Its supreme strength ensures that the metal cannot bend, but it also cannot be resized. The finish on tungsten jewelry can be permanent, meaning little maintenance is required.