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Precious Metals

Gold

The colour of gold depends on the number of impurities it contains. Gold in its natural state is a golden yellow but it is very soft. For use in jewellery gold needs to be alloyed with other metals to increase its hardness.

By clever use of these alloys, different colours of gold can be achieved. For instance, to achieve rose or pink gold, copper is added. White metals such as silver, platinum and nickel are added to achieve white gold which is then often plated with rhodium to give it the hard white finish associated with white gold jewellery.

Gold purity is defined by the amount of pure gold present and is expressed as its carat (ct) value. In the UK, the main purities of gold available are 9ct, 18ct and 22ct. 14ct is often seen in foreign jewellery.

9ct gold contain 9 parts pure gold per 24 or 37.5% pure gold. 18ct contains 18 parts pure gold per 24 or 75% pure gold while 22ct is 22 parts pure gold or is 91.6% pure.

9ct and 18ct are the two main alloys used for jewellery in the United Kingdom but 22ct has traditionally been used for ladies wedding rings.

Gold is the most popular precious metal used for jewellery. We currently supply a range of gold bracelets, gold cufflinks, gold earrings, gold necklaces, gold pendants and of course gold rings.

Silver

Silver is a white metal that is again very soft in its natural state. It is alloyed with other metals but to a lesser extent than gold. The most common standard used for silver is Sterling Silver which contain 92.5% or more pure silver.

Most modern silver jewellery uses this standard. Because of its softness even in its alloyed state, silver is not used for jewellery with very expensive stones in. Less precious gemstones are usually set into silver and silver jewellery is normally a lot less expensive than gold and platinum jewellery.

Brittania silver is not used as much these days but it has a standard of 95% or more pure silver.

Platinum

Platinum is the rarest and most precious of the three precious metals. It is chemically inert and resistant to corrosion so it will not tarnish like gold and particularly silver does.

It is silvery grey or grey white in colour. It is slightly more dense than pure gold and about twice as dense as pure silver. It also requires a much higher temperature to melt it (about 1773C).

It is much more durable than gold so it makes a much better long term solution in terms of wear than silver and gold.

John Hollins Fine Jewellery
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