GOLD AND PRECIOUS METALS EDUCATION
Platinum is considered one of the finest precious metals because it is rarer and pricier than gold. For jewelry use, platinum is a silver white metal and is often strengthened with other metals like iridium, osmium or nickel. Platinum is not measured in karats but is stamped with a quality mark denoting the percentage of platinum by its manufacturer.
One of the most desirable of the precious metals, gold occurs naturally with a beautiful yellow luster. Gold itself is highly shapeable but is often too soft in its purest form for everyday jewelry wear. To harden gold it is often blended with an alloy like silver as a strengthening agent. The term karat is used to describe the percentage of pure gold, the purest being 24 karats. White gold is alloyed with nickel, sometimes palladium or zinc, giving it the platinum-like color. Rose gold is gold alloyed with copper to give it a reddish hue.
Silver is popular in jewelry because of its luster and versatility. Like gold, silver is too soft in its pure state for jewelry and is normally alloyed with copper or other metals to prevent scratching. Silver is not rated in karats, but rather with terms like “fine” or “sterling” to denote its purity.
Part of the platinum family, palladium is a rare, lustrous, white precious metal. It has the purity and tone of platinum. However palladium is more cost effective than platinum because of its density.
Titanium is a strong white metal that is both lightweight and durable. Because of its low density, titanium is extremely comfortable and is frequently used in men’s wedding bands.
Tungsten is a chemical element used in jewelry. It is formed into a metal with carbon, nickel or cobalt as tungsten carbide. Because it is the heaviest, hardest, and most durable metal used in jewelry, tungsten is the most popular metal used in men’s wedding bands.