Exploring Fine Jewelry Metal Types

Fine Jewelry Metal Types

These tips will help you determine which metal type is best for your fine jewelry purchase.  Silver is not included in these tips as it is generally not considered a precious metal. However, yellow gold, white gold and platinum are. Learn what determines the different karat marks on gold, differences between white gold and platinum, the fluctuating price of gold and ways to care for your jewelry.

A karat refers to the measure of the purity of gold alloys. Gold is a mixture of alloys and the karat refers to how much of the alloys are made of gold. For example:

24k is 100% pure gold. 10k means that 10 out of 24 alloy parts are gold or 41.66% gold. This is also the minimum gold requirement in order to be sold as gold in the United States. 14k means that 14 out of 24 parts are gold or 58.33% gold. This is a very popular karat amount in the jewelry industry. 18k means that 18 out of 24 parts are gold or 75% gold. Some common alloys used are copper, silver, nickel, and zinc. It is common for you to see abbreviations for gold such as YG= yellow gold, WG= white gold, K=karat, and PT= platinum.

The appearance of platinum and white gold is very similar. Although platinum is a natural white metal, gold on the other hand is naturally yellow when it first comes out of the ground. To get it lightened, you have to mix the gold with other metals until the desired appearance is achieved. When it comes to comparing white gold and platinum, the only noticeable difference to most people is the weight. Since platinum is heavier, a piece of jewelry made in platinum vs. gold weighs more. Platinum is considered one of the rarest and purest precious metals in the world.

The price of gold is calculated per ounce and can fluctuate daily. If you want to follow the price of gold, you can use Kitco.com (http://www.kitco.com/market/) or Gold Price (http://www.goldprice.org) as one of your references. The price of gold and platinum is quoted in the price per ounce. Recently the price of gold was close to $1300.00 per ounce and platinum was close to $1700.00 per ounce. As you can see, platinum is a third higher in price than gold.

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