Diamond Education - Precious Metals
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Platinum is the strongest precious metal used in jewelry. Its high
melting point ensures good resistance to corrosion and chemical attacks.
Each time other metals are scratched or polished, a tiny bit of the
metal is lost. Though a scratch in platinum may leave a mark, the
metal is so strong that it will not readily chip or splinter.
Some appealing characteristics of platinum are its subtle beauty and
its tendency not to add color of its own. This helps enhance the natural
brilliance and fire of a diamond because the light entering the diamond
does not take on the color of the platinum. This makes platinum is
a popular choice for diamond jewelry settings.
To make sure that the jewelry you are purchasing is indeed platinum,
check the amount of platinum content on the back of the piece. Look
for the marks of "950Pt", "950 Plat", or "Plat",
to ensure that the jewelry does indeed contain platinum.
When cleaning your platinum a warm solution of water and mild soap
can be used. Soak the piece in the solution and gently scrub it with
a soft-bristle brush. By doing this you will be able to maintain the
Due to its physical characteristics, gold is extremely well suited
for use in jewelry making. Gold will not tarnish, rust, or corrode,
and even though it is very strong, it is the most malleable of all
Gold in its purest form (24k) is too soft to be used in functional
jewelry. Abrasions caused by daily wear would begin to degrade a piece
of jewelry made from 24k gold. Therefore it is alloyed with other
metals to give it strength. The percentage of alloys that are added
to the metal determine the color of gold. When alloyed with silver,
copper, and zinc, the shade of yellow will vary. When alloyed with
nickel, copper, and zinc, it becomes white gold. Yellow and white
gold share the same strength and malleability characteristics.
The purity of gold is measured in karats. 24k is 100% pure gold and
is far too soft for jewelry. 18k is 75% pure gold and is recommended
for fine jewelry. 12k is 50% pure gold and is unacceptable for jewelry.
Gold's value depends on its purity and weight. Also taken into consideration
is the design and the construction of the piece of jewelry.
To care for your gold jewelry, avoid exposing it to chlorine and other
harsh cleansing agents. To clean your gold jewelry, wash it in a warm
solution of water and a non-detergent soap. Scrub gently with a soft-bristle
brush. Finally, store your gold jewelry in its own soft cloth pouch
or individual compartment in a jewelry case. Following these recommendations
will help to maintain the luster of your gold jewelry.
In its purest form, silver is soft and very malleable. Pure silver
is very susceptible to damage, so it is usually combined with other
metals (most often copper) to produce a more durable alloy. The most
popular of silver alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5%
silver and 7.5% copper. Marks that indicate the quality of silver
include: "sterling", "sterling silver", "ster",
The value of silver is based less on its purity and more on the skill
and creativity of the artist, as well as the intricacy of the design.
To care for your silver jewelry, avoid exposing it to chlorine and
other harsh cleansing agents. Store your silver jewelry in its own
soft cloth pouch or individual compartment in a jewelry case. Following
these recommendations will help to maintain the beauty of your silver
To clean your silver, use polishes formulated specifically to remove
tarnish. These tarnish removers can be found at hardware stores and
craft stores. Remember, tarnish is most easily removed when it first