What are the precious metals?
The precious metals are gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Simply put, they are rare metals that hold desirable characteristics, and are valuable, making for beautiful jewellery. When investing in an engagement ring, wedding ring, or any other type of fine jewellery, one of the most important aspects to consider is which metal is best suited for you and your lifestyle.
Each of the precious metals are exceptionally sustainable. They have a high surface lustre, and will not rust or corrode if properly taken care of, meaning that they are durable. The metal of a jewellery item also plays an important role in the appearance, and cost, each varying slightly. We hope that this guide will help you to gain a better understanding of the metals with the best wear for you.
Which metal should I choose?
Gold is well-known for its durability, non-corrosive nature and lasting beauty. Whether you choose yellow gold, white gold or rose gold, this precious metal will always display an unmatched elegance.
One of the most popular shades of gold is yellow gold, which brings timelessness and class to any piece of jewellery. Gold is also a highly sustainable metal. It stays tarnish free, doesn't lose its colour over time, and is always cost effective. This makes it the perfect choice for many jewellery buyers.
However, although choosing gold as your precious metal has many advantages, there are a few aspects to consider. Gold can, at times, become scratched during daily activities such as getting ready, cleaning, and playing sports. In the unlikely event that a gold piece does become damaged, scratched or broken, it can be easily repaired by a professional jeweller.
Of all the precious metals that are readily available in the UK, silver is by far the most cost effective. You can find some stunning silver pieces for a very reasonable price. However, silver’s value extends well beyond its price; its beauty, versatility, lustre and rarity leads this precious metal towards becoming a very desirable choice. In addition, it contains 92.5% pure silver, mixed with other metals, such as copper, to prevent scratching, meaning it is a good option for those with reasonably active and on-the-go lifestyles.
Keeping silver looking its best, though, does require considerably more maintenance compared to the other precious metals. This is due to the fact that silver can react with the air in a process called oxidation, which can cause it to become dull looking. However, this is not a major disadvantage, as oxidation would not extend to the metal underneath the top layer. So the discolouration can be easily removed by a cleaning cloth, or by being cleaned or polished by a specialist, a service that we recommend having every 6-12 months.
Recently, platinum has risen as a popular choice of metal in wedding bands, engagement rings and other pieces. It is a hard-wearing metal, meaning that it is very durable and a popular choice for men’s wedding bands. Platinum is equally as beautiful as it is strong, even when subjected to daily wear and tear.
Although similar in appearance, unlike silver, platinum is unreactive, so will not tarnish or become dull looking. These desirable characteristics are reflected in its price, and its excellent quality as a precious metal, which does mean that it can be considerably more expensive than gold or silver.
Palladium is part of the platinum family, and therefore, displays many of the same attributes that are sought out by jewellery buyers, such as strength and an unreactive nature. It is naturally white in colour, lends a high sheen, and is luxurious in appearance.
Palladium is better for simple jewellery designs, as it can be difficult to work with at times. The secure, durable and easy to maintain attributes of palladium means that it is another fantastic option for men’s jewellery, especially wedding bands that are worn on a day-to-day basis. Despite its many advantages, though, like any other precious metal, palladium is not indestructible, and can scratch or dent.
What is Rhodium Plating?
If you want to extend the life and beauty of your jewellery items you may be offered Rhodium Plating as an option or it may come as standard. Rhodium is a vibrant, white and highly reflective, rare and precious metal used to coat metals to give it a whiter shine, increased lustre and also improved durability. Due to its properties, Rhodium is a harder metal that most precious metals so can withstand knocks and bumps that Gold and Platinum may not, thus extending the life of your jewellery.
What is metal carat?
The metal carat refers to the quantity of pure gold contained in a metal. The purity level is stamped on the piece of jewellery, which is called a hallmark. The most cost effective metal carat is 9ct, which is hallmarked 375, meaning that it is 37.5% pure gold, the rest consisting of other metals. Next is 14ct, which contains 585 (58.5%) pure gold. The highest content of pure gold that you will find at high street jewellers is 18ct. 18ct gold provides a rich yellow or rose hue due to its high content. Therefore, it is durable and considered ideal for engagement rings and wedding bands which are worn daily. The purest form of gold available is 22ct, which contains 916 (91.6%) parts.
Get in touch
For a more in depth, clearer understanding of the precious metal that is right for you, we recommend visiting your local jewellers, or talking to a specialist. Feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at Sonny's Jewellers. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have!