METALS AND HALLMARKS

METALS AND HALLMARKS

PRECIOUS METALS

The precious metals we use in our jewellery are gold, silver, platinum and palladium and each one has the ability to complement a diamond or gemstone in different ways.

All precious meals used in jewellery are alloys mixed with other metals to make them more suitable for producing jewellery pieces. They also have different properties which can determine how much care they each need.

Gold

The term "Gold" is from the Old English word "Geolo" meaning yellow. Being malleable, gold is very easy to work with. When used in jewellery, pure gold is easily bent and dented and so it is always alloyed (mixed) with other metals to make it more durable and practical for ornamental use. Gold also has very good resistance and won't tarnish, discolour, crumble or be affected by most solvents.

Karat vs Carat

Karat when used in gold is a unit of purity. The karat (k) measurement determines the percentage of gold to other metals on a scale of 1 to 24 with 24 karats being pure gold. Carat is a unit of weight where 1 carat = 200 milligrams.

Platinum

Rare and exotic, platinum jewellery is the fastest growing jewellery material in the world. Its value exceeds even that of gold. Naturally hypo-allergenic, platinum can be worn every day and it does not change shape so your jewellery will last a lifetime. Platinum is an incomparable metal.

The name "Platinum" is from the Spanish word "Platina"; meaning "Silver". Unlike silver, platinum does not tarnish and will not get damaged or discoloured by chlorine, bleach, or detergents. As it is incredibly dense, platinum also feels a lot heavier than other metals - a platinum ring would be around 40% heavier than the same ring made from gold.

Pure platinum may be tougher than all precious jewellery metals, though due to its flexible tenacity, it still must be alloyed (mixed) with iridium to prevent it from bending. Platinum jewellery is usually 90 to 95 percent pure.

view Precious Metals Guide to Gold and Platinum.pdf (Adobe Reader or similar required)

Palladium

Palladium is the newest precious metal and is rare, lustrous, and naturally white. A platinum group metal, palladium has the purity and white tone of platinum, but is less dense, making it more affordable. Since palladium isn't as heavy as platinum, you can wear elaborate palladium earrings or large palladium bracelets without feeling like a heavy weight is pulling you down.

Silver

Since the earliest of times, Silver has been used for ornamental purposes and is one of the most famous precious metals. Looking classy and beautiful, Silver also complements any gemstone. It has a colour that is versatile and this makes it easy to match for any occasion.

The name "Silver" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name, "Siolfur" meaning "Silver". Pure silver is very malleable so the silver used in jewellery is an alloy (mix) called sterling silver consisting of approximately 92.5% silver and the remaining 7.5% being copper. It is this mix which gives it durability.

Silver is a very resistant mineral, however, avoid exposing it to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can cause damage.

For more information

Please contact us if you need any more information on gold, platinum, palladium or silver.  We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

 

HALLMARKS

A precious metal and needs to be mixed with other elements to make it flexible and durable for jewellery pieces. Even the most experienced jeweller cannot tell how much precious metal there is in an alloy piece, just by looking at it, nor whether for example, a thick plating of gold is covering a base metal interior. Precious metal commands a high price that offers a huge opportunity for fraud and there has therefore always been a need to protect the public and honest suppliers from those who are tempted to cheat them.

Any item sold as precious metal in the UK must be hallmarked to confirm that it meets the legal standard. This cannot be done by the manufacturer or importer, but must be submitted to one of the four UK Assay Offices, or an Assay Office belonging to the International Convention. The Assay Office Birmingham has a long established reputation within the jewellery trade as an independent centre of quality assessment and expert opinion.

view Hallmarks Chart.pdf  (Adobe Reader or similar required)


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