Types of Metal in Jewellery
At C W Sellors, the vast majority of our jewellery is handmade in our very own workshops. Using only the finest materials, our team of skilled craftsmen are able to produce some of the most luxurious jewellery available. There are a number of different metals used to produce the pieces, and knowing the difference between different types of metal can help you choose the right metal for your needs.
Gold is by far the most sought after metal in the jewellery industry. It is easily worked and can be a star choice for rings, bracelets, necklaces and more. Gold is available in the UK in a number of carats, but the most commonly seen are 9ct, 18ct and 24ct gold.
The carat value refers to the purity of the gold. 24 carat gold is 99.9% pure, where are 9 carat gold is around 40 per cent as it is mixed with other metals such as zinc or copper. While this can be off putting, the mixing of the metals means that the gold is harder, and less likely to dent or scratch. It also means that clasps are less likely to break on bracelets, and diamond settings are less likely to snap on engagement rings. For this reason, 9 carat gold is often a firm choice for types of jewellery that is likely to come into contact with foreign objects. In contrast, 24 carat gold is purer, but softer as a result. It is commonly seen in necklaces, where the piece isn’t likely to come into much contact.
Gold Plated Jewellery
Gold plated jewellery uses a base metal, sometimes silver but more commonly steel or brass, which is electroplated with gold. The basemetal is emerged into a gold plating solution before an electric current is passed through the jewellery. The current attracts the gold to the metal and fuses it to the surface. The layer is fairly thin, and wears off with continued use over time.
White Gold Jewellery
This modern alternative mixed regular yellow gold with white metals such as zinc, nickle, silver or platinum, before being plated with rhodium or platinum. It is as durable as gold, but the plating can wear off with continued wear, often resulting in the piece looking more like yellow gold. However, It can easily and cheaply be replated to regain its original colour.
Rose Gold Jewellery
Rose Gold is a metal that combines gold with copper to produce a gold with a red tone. It has become increasingly popular over recent years and offers the same qualities as yellow gold at a similar price point. There are varying ratios of copper to gold on the market, offering an intense red hue to the colour, or a milder hue if desired. The colour will often become lighter over time.
Platinum is one of the heaviest metals used to create jewellery but it is one of the most robust. It offers a similar colour to white gold, without any risk of discolouration over time. It is one of the more expensive metals but due to its durability, it is a common choice for engagement rings or wedding bands that are of high sentimental value. In item advertised as platinum should be at least 95 per cent pure.
Much like gold, silver is quite soft and is regularly mixed with other metals to increase its strength. There are several levels of purity which should be stamped on the jewellery when made. Fine silver has a 999 purity level, and is commonly referred to as pure silver. It is incredibly luxurious, but unsuitable for daily jewellery items as it is very delicate. Sterling silver varies slightly in purity but must be at least 92.5 per cent silver. It is often stamped with 958 or 999 sterling, which should not be confused with pure silver.