Fine Jewelry Education: Metal Types

13 Nov

New to buying fine jewelry? Well, it’s a good thing that you were able to dig this gold mine of information. This means that you are sensible enough to research first so that you can make an informed buying decision later.

Fine Jewelry and Fine Dining

As you may have already figured, buying fine jewelry is not as simple as choosing the shape, color and style, trying it on and paying at the counter like you do when buying trinkets and other accessories with worth that hinges only on what’s in vogue. It’s easy as ordering and eating lunch at McDonald’s.

Buying fine jewelry, on the other hand, is like dining in a ritzy restaurant. You take pains choosing your outfit and putting on make-up before heading to this plush place with posh interiors and classy ambiance. You take the time to study the heavy leather menu picking the best kind of wine to complement your meal, whether you have chosen fish, lobster, turkey, or steak. And if it is steak, you would also be making a choice to have it rare, medium-rare or well-done before finally deciding on what you are going to have. And we have not discussed desserts yet (!) but I hope that you already get the drift. You would be paying a dear price here (unless, of course, you have a date who’d be picking up the tab) so might as well take the time to make your choice to make sure that you enjoy the night. No wonder, it is also but appropriate for you to be wearing fine jewelry during such special occasions.

As fine as fine dining is fine jewelry. When you purchase fine jewelry, whether it is a birthstone bracelet or a diamond wedding ring, you are not just paying for high-standard items crafted from high-quality materials, but you are also paying for excellent customer service and a trusted reputation. And you only do that kind of business with people who you trust and can deliver that exquisite jewelry you are looking for.

Karat is Gold’s Character

Assuming you have found that trusted fine jeweler, you are now faced with the task of making a number of choices: gemstone, metal, style, etc. So how do you make your final choice? We can’t discuss everything here, so let’s just focus on gold in its different variations.

I’m sure you already know that k stands for karat, that it’s a measure of the purity of gold, and that the greater the karat mark of a piece of jewelry, the bigger its price tag, granting all other factors are equal. Thus, a 24-karat gold is more expensive, though I bet you can’t find a piece of jewelry with this karat mark not necessarily because people can’t afford it, but because this type of gold, which is actually pure gold, is too malleable for fine jewelry.

Having settled that, let’s climb down to the lowest part of the gold totem pole and examine the 10-karat gold – the most affordable karat mark for fine jewelry. It has 41.67% gold content with an alloy composition making up the remaining 58.33%. Despite this low gold content, it is still accepted as gold in the US. Go lower than this, and you may have a bauble.

If you don’t want your diamond hoop earrings to be backed by gold with the least gold content, you may want to go for the 14-karat gold. Having 58.3% gold composition, it is the top choice for many gold jewelry buyers perhaps because it’s a balance between relative gold purity and affordability. Hence, you can find a wide range of choices for you with this karat mark.

However, if what you want is nothing but the best for your fine jewelry, having that optimal balance between gold purity and strength, then you may want to consider the 18-karat gold. It is made of 75% gold and 25% alloy metals.

The Colors of Gold

We know that gold is a color in itself, characterized by a somewhat shiny yellow color. But there are different colors of gold for fine jewelry: yellow, white, rose and several others. Let’s zoom in on the first two.

The favorite gold color for diamond jewelry is yellow. This copper-zinc-silver-alloyed gold is touted as the classic metal choice. It can be deformed without losing toughness and is not easily corroded and compressed.

For a timeless looking fine jewelry, there’s white gold, which contains the alloy copper, zinc and nickel. The gold content of white gold differs depending on how much of the alloy is used. White gold is gaining ground against yellow gold because it is stylish, not susceptible to tarnish and is highly reflective allowing the diamond to sparkle even more if this gold is used as a setting.

Platinum Outshines Gold

Yes, platinum is not gold but let us include this precious metal in the discussion because it also makes for a more durable, but oftentimes more expensive alternative to gold, especially to white gold as it also has that silvery white finish that brings out the sparkle in diamonds. It is long-lasting, making wedding or engagement rings more symbolic. The equivalent of 18-k gold is platinum 950, which means that it is 95% pure platinum alloyed with other metals. Although both will look similar, the platinum 950 would be heavier and more durable compared to the relatively soft 18-k gold.

So, with this gold mine of information, I hope to help you reach an educated buying decision, making the process much easier for you. Whether it’s an 18-karat white gold diamond bracelet, a platinum 950 diamond engagement ring or a 14-karat yellow gold pendant, that you choose, you now have a clear understanding of how precious your fine jewelry can be.


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4 Responses to “Fine Jewelry Education: Metal Types”

  1. Olga November 14, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    Hey Aleya, great to have you back! Missed reading your blog. Great jewelry info, love me some bling.

    • Aleya November 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Thanks you! I’ve never appreciated electricity so much in my life. I learned a thing or two from this post as well.

  2. Valley Goldmine Dallas November 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Great information on jewelry! It is a solid introduction to looking for a peice of fine jewelry whether it is your first purchase or you are a seasoned jewelry shopper.
    Valley Goldmine Dallas recently posted..Gold Buyers PlanoMy Profile

    • Aleya November 21, 2012 at 2:33 am #

      Yes, I also learned a lot from this post.