The experience of buying jewellery can be eye-opening and also somewhat confusing if you don’t know the basics about jewellery materials. Particularly precious metals, which becomes confusing when so many variations of metals are involved and especially when your shopping for the perfect engagement ring, wedding ring, necklace or bracelet. Since precious metals in contemporary jewellery play such an important role in the appearance, durability, and cost of any piece, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few basic metallurgy terms. With the information in this blog post, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions the next time your buying precious metals jewellery pieces, that’s just right for you.
Our experienced team at Ickinger will guide you step by step throughout this amazing experience of buying custom jewellery. We are respected and trusted gold and diamond dealers and our team of designers and artists create truly unique jewellery pieces for you – Our Client!
Precious metals are simply very rare metals that also have desirable characteristics — like their ability to make beautiful jewellery for instance. It’s a naturally occurring element of high value so seldom found in the Earth’s crust that it is considered exceptionally rare. A very interesting fact is that the total amount of pure gold ever mined could fit into two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Platinum and palladium are even more scarce.
There’s a common misconception that copper is a precious metal because of its use in the jewellery industry and currency. However, the fact is copper is far too common to be considered a precious metal. Metals can also lose or gain “precious” status under certain circumstances. Aluminium, for makes a great example. The extraction process of aluminium used to be a gruelling one. These factors made aluminium more expensive than gold at times despite it being abundantly available in the earth’s crust. However, since the huge advances in mining technology, aluminium has now become an inexpensive material to purchase.
Precious metals used to make jewellery are also “noble” metals. Unlike easily-oxidized base metals like nickel, brass, and copper, noble metals have a high surface lustre and do not rust or corrode, which means they can last for many, many years. (Recall the gold burial mask of Egypt’s King Tutankhamun, which shines as brightly today as it did in ancient times!)
Below we will be discussing in detail each element of what constitutes precious metals.
A Karat, noted by a number followed by “k”, indicates the metal’s purity and is a measure of the percentage of gold to alloy contained in gold jewellery. Gold is mixed with alloys for strength. Twenty-four Karat (stamped 24k) is considered pure gold and is too soft to be used for jewellery. It is, however, important to remember that the purer gold is, the more expensive its value will be. The popular 18k gold contains 75% pure gold however Jewellery marked 9K is much more predominant in the South Africa market, whilst consumers overseas prefer 14K to 18K. Copper and silver are the alloys primarily used with yellow gold, however, gold is available in many forms such as yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. Yellow and white gold are similar in strength and suppleness, making them perfect for jewellery that is worn daily. White gold, however, is alloyed with nickel, copper and zinc and while it looks similar to platinum, but it differs considerably.
Yellow gold looks remarkable on anyone but is particularly beautiful when contrasted with olive and darker skin tones. Whereas white or rose gold might be a better choice for someone with a lighter skin tone. Some other considerations to keep in mind when comparing yellow gold with rose gold and white gold is that yellow gold, particularly high-karat yellow gold, can be easily scratched and dented. It needs to be cleaned and polished regularly. When it comes to Yellow Gold ring settings you should know that they make a great choice for modern and vintage-inspired styles and they always look fantastic for all kinds of wedding and engagement rings. After all, it is historically the most popular metal for wedding and engagement rings, as it is the most malleable, or easiest for jewellers to manipulate, it is also a good choice for rings that may have to be resized at a later date.
Ickinger has a wide range of white and yellow gold, fine jewellery pieces that they currently have in store. If you’re looking at engagement rings we’ve got the perfect piece for you. Our Cushion Cut Topaz Engagement Band is Bold and contemporary. This Ickinger halo creation is rich and vibrant in hue and tone. You can shop our whole selection by clicking here
Carl Fabergé a renowned Russian jeweller mixed yellow gold and copper to create a blush-toned colour, which was known as “Russian gold”. He used this mix of alloys in one of his famous creations – the Fabergé Eggs. And as this precious pink gold metal became popular among jewellers around the world, it was renamed “rose gold”.
Rose-coloured gold is made by combining specific amounts of silver, copper, and gold into one combined substance which forms the rose gold colour. The saturation of colour varies from piece to piece and according to the gold content. Its value is based on several key factors such as fineness or Karat count, weight in grams and the workmanship reflected in the piece. 18k jewellery is purchased for a special occasion or as a special gift, mostly used in engagement rings. 9k is purchased for its durability so it can be worn every day. Ickinger features a whole selection of rose gold inspired fine jewellery pieces such as our Rose Gold Beaded Engagement Ring that features intricate detail. Care for your jewellery by keeping it away from harsh chemicals such as chlorine and cleaning fluids.
This will reduce abrasions and prolong your gold’s lustre, to find out more about caring for your fine jewellery pieces click here
Rose Gold jewellery pieces gained its current popularity due to the comeback of bold and expressive colours we now see in the fashion industry. Rose gold beautifully complements the frilly shades and neutral colours. Rose gold jewellery also holds a deep meaning for those who buy it for themselves or someone else. Some women choose rose gold engagement rings because it has a vintage appeal. The colour makes the ring look like it could be an heirloom that can be passed down one day.
Other reasons for the popularity of rose gold jewellery are:
Pure silver is soft and easily damaged if not careful. It is combined with copper to give it more durability when creating jewellery, which is then, called sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, but this alloy does not affect the value of the metal. The price of the silver item is affected by the labour involved in manufacturing the item, the skill of the craftsperson, and the intricacy of the design.
The Benefits of Silver jewellery are:
Regardless of whether you are selecting a gift for someone else, buying a treat for yourself or just looking for something to replace your expensive golden and diamond jewellery, silver jewels have a lot of advantages and only one of them is the cheaper price. Certain silver jewels can look classier and in some cases even look more expensive than some golden pieces. It's greatly admired because of silver’s ability to blend with almost any skin complexion. Silver jewellery elegantly complements any colour or skin tone.
To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewellery either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment in your jewellery box. Avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water as these chemicals can damage silver. Silver tends to tarnish as it reacts with sulphur or hydrogen sulphide in the air. Cleaning and wearing it regularly will help maintain its shine and prevent this. When noticing discolouration, use a polish made specifically for removing tarnish. Silver is an affordable and ideal gift for a loved one or even a valentine’s gift.
The selection of precious metals is entirely up to personal taste. The benefit of shopping from a local jeweller is that you can book an appointment and come see us so that we can discuss your next custom jewellery piece. Not only are you supporting a local business, but you will also be working with experienced professionals who have come to earn the title of RESPECT in the trade. Ickinger is a family business and when you walk in through our doors, you become a part of that family. If all this seems too much to remember, feel free to contact us for professional assistance in your journey to finding the perfect jewellery piece.