The purity of gold is measured in karats. Pure gold measures 24
karats but is too soft in this state to be used effectively in jewelry. So it
is alloyed with other metals--silver, copper, nickel, and zinc--to increase its
strength and durability. Common measurements once the alloy is added are 18
karat (75% gold), 14 karat (58%), and 10 karat (47.7%). In the United States,
the legal karat limit for the metal to still be considered gold is 10 karats. A
higher karat measurement in gold content indicates a greater value of the
jewelry piece. Gold jewelry should always be stamped with the karat mark,
either 18k, 750 (European marking for 18k), 14k, 585 (European marking for
14k), or 10k. In addition, to assure its quality, the piece should be stamped
with the manufacturer's trademark or country of origin.
Yellow gold is the most common color and is usually alloyed with
silver and copper. Yellow and white gold are similar in strength and
malleability, making them perfect for jewelry that is worn daily. White gold is
alloyed with nickel, copper, and zinc--and while it looks similar to platinum,
it has vastly different properties. Rose-colored gold is alloyed with copper
and is often used to accent white or yellow gold. The saturation of color
varies from piece to piece and according to gold content.
To keep gold shining and scratch-free, avoid contact with
chlorine and other harsh chemicals. Do not wear jewelry during rough work and
be sure to store it in a fabric-lined jewelry box or pouch. To clean gold
jewelry, use warm water, a mild soap, and a soft bristled brush, if needed.Silver
Pure silver is soft and easily damaged. To give it more
durability when creating jewelry, it is combined with copper, which makes it
sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, but this
alloy does not have an effect on the value of the metal. To ensure that the
silver is high quality, jewelry should be stamped with a quality mark.
According to federal law, the mark must be accompanied by a registered
trademark or maker's mark. Acceptable marks for silver include: sterling,
sterling silver, ster, .925.
Silver should not come into contact with harsh household
chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, or chlorine. To avoid scratches, store
silver in a jewelry box or pouch. Silver tends to tarnish as it reacts with
sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air. Cleaning and wearing it regularly will
help maintain its shine and prevent this. Immediately upon noticing
discoloration, use a polish made specifically for removing tarnish.Platinum
Platinum is the most durable of fine jewelry metals. It does not
chip or splinter easily, making it perfect for diamond and gemstone settings.
It is similar in color to white gold, but compared side by side, the difference
is clear. Platinum jewelry is usually 95% pure platinum with 5% iridium or
palladium alloy. It can also be 90% pure platinum with 10% iridium or palladium
alloy. To guarantee its quality, each piece should be stamped with a 900 Plat
to denote 90% platinum or a 950 Plat or Plat mark to denote 95% platinum.
Cleaning platinum jewelry with mild, soapy warm water should be
sufficient to maintain the metal's shine and polish. As with other fine
jewelry, it should be stored in a fabric-lined box. Do not wear platinum while
doing rough work, and avoid contact with harsh chemicals. If platinum becomes
scratched or a patina begins to develop, a jeweler can restore the original
Platinum™ and 14 Karat Platinum® are brand names for an exclusive
platinum alloy of 58.5% pure platinum combined with 41.5% cobalt and
copper. This remarkable platinum is indistinguishable in beauty,
luster, and durability from 95% platinum. Its unprecendented
flexibility allows the creation of a full line of elegant jewelry at a
fraction of the cost of conventional platinum.
Platinum™ is platinum it looks, feels and has the same radiant sheen as
950/50 platinum. In rigorous laboratory corrosion and abrasion tests
designed to check for tarnishing, Karat Platinum™ actually outperformed
conventional 950/50 platinum, emerging from the tests without
colorations or stains. Like conventional platinum, Karat Platinum™ is
hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive skin.
Platinum™ is identical in color to 950/50 platinum and brighter than
white gold. A major difference is that white gold achieves its
whiteness through an alloy or plating process, and it may need
replating to retain its color. Karat Platinum™ is a natural white metal
that maintains its luster and beauty forever.
Karat Platinum™ jewelry with mild, soapy warm water suffices to
maintain the metal's shine and polish. As with other fine jewelry, it
should be stored in a fabric-lined box. Do not wear platinum while
doing rough work, and avoid contact with harsh chemicals. If platinum
becomes scratched or a patina begins to develop, a jeweler can restore
the original lustrous surface.