Metallurgy

Sterling Silver

Fine Silver that is 99.9% pure is too soft to be used in jewelry so an alloy called “Sterling Silver” is used.  Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper.  As the purity of silver alloys decrease, the likelihood of tarnishing increases.  If you wear your silver jewelry, it is less likely to tarnish, but it can’t prevent it completely.  Some proprietary alloys are now being produced that can help limit tarnishing.  For more information please visit: www.silverinstitute.org.

Platinum

Platinum is a relative youngster in the precious metal world.  One of the first references to platinum came in a 1557 writing by an Italian and it was described as the metal “which no fire or Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy.”  Platinum that is used in jewelry is alloyed to purities between 90 %– 95% platinum and the remaining 5% – 10% being traditionally iridium or ruthenium.  Platinum and the other platinum group metals are hypoallergenic, making it ideal for someone with sensitive skin.  Platinum is much denser than gold, making similar styled pieced much heavier than their gold counterparts.  For more information on platinum, please visit:  www.preciousplatinum.com.

Gold

Gold has been valued as a precious metal for thousands of years, dating back to Egyptian references from 2600 B.C. Gold is particularly fond of forming alloys with different metals.  Because pure gold is so incredibly soft, jewelry is often made from these alloys. “Pure” gold is represented by 24 karats (24k).  Alloys in jewelry are indicated by a number that references the amount of pure gold in the alloy (i.e. 10k is 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals, or 41.6% pure gold, 14k is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals or 58.3% pure gold). Silver and copper are the two more common metals used in gold alloys.  It’s the additional metals that can change the color of the gold.  Higher silver content can give gold a greenish yellow to white appearance and higher copper content will color the finished product in varying shades of red.  For more information on gold, please visit: www.gold.org.

Alternative Metals/Materials

These are a group of metals that are becoming more and more popular in jewelry applications.  Metals in this group can include: titanium, stainless steel, tungsten carbide, carbon fiber and ceramic.   These metals are particularly popular in the men’s jewelry segment due to their higher durability.  Rings, bracelets, necklaces and cuff-links are the most common items.  These metals also pair nicely with other additions like leather, neoprene rubber, and black onyx.  Often you can find these metals combined with the precious metals too!  For more information on any of these metals, please feel free to email us your questions at: info@rasmussendiamonds.com.