Choosing the appropriate metal for your diamond jewelry is important. Many consumers do not have a well-rounded understanding of the differences between metals used in jewelry. For example, white gold and platinum are commonly mistaken as the same metal, but they are absolutely different. May Diamonds has created a metal tutorial to provide consumers with a clear insight on the differences in jewelry metals.
Gold (Au) is a unique chemical element, which has unique chemical and physical properties for the production of jewelry. Gold is very malleable, which makes it easy to shape and sculpted into jewelry. Pure gold is very soft making it difficult to withstand daily wear and use. Other metals are mixed with pure gold to increase the strength and durability of gold.
The purity of gold is measured in the karat units. Karat range from 1 to 24, one being the lowest purity and twenty-four being pure gold. The higher the gold karat: the more pure the gold. Goldsmiths often understand karats as fractions of pure gold. For example, 18 Karat (18K) gold is 18 units of gold out of a total of 24 units; the (24 – 18 = 6) remaining 6 units consist of other metals. Gold Karat and diamond carat units are not related.
Gold alloys are produced from other metals, which are added to the pure gold. The alloying of gold can create a variety of colored gold. Different metals have a different affect on the color of the gold. For example, white gold is created using palladium or nickel with gold. Gold alloys are harder than pure gold making it better to hold stones.
Another popular jewelry metal is platinum, which is a fairly new and advanced metal. Jewelers discovered how to work with platinum at the beginning of the twentieth century. Platinum is one of the strongest and most durable metals, which rarely shows any wear or material loss. The strength of platinum allows it to hold stones better than any other metal and platinum is the heaviest of precious metals making it feel more significant. Platinum is a pure metal, which will not tarnish and is hypoallergenic. 14K gold is only 58.3% and 18K is 75.0% pure gold. Jewelry made of platinum is at least 90% pure platinum. Like gold, many jewelry manufacturers alloy pure platinum with other metals, iridium or ruthenium creating a stronger alloy.
If platinum is 100% pure, then it is known as Platinum 1000. If the platinum alloy were 95% pure platinum, then it would be classified as Platinum 950. The purity of platinum is measured out of 1000 units.