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Precious metals for your precious jewelry

When you buy a beautiful piece of diamond Jewelry, the setting for your diamonds will be made from one of the precious metals. After all, you want your diamonds to be displayed in the perfect setting, one that is beautiful in its own right but that doesn’t detract from the centerpiece. You also want a metal that will last for years and that doesn’t require excessive care and maintenance. For this reason, gold or platinum are often the metals of choice for diamond jewelry settings.

So, you’ve made the decision to buy a new piece of diamond jewelry, perhaps you’ve even chosen a design – but now you need to decide which metal you want for your jewelry’s setting. This is obviously a matter of personal preference and even budget. Before you make your final decision, we want to give you some information about the precious metals used here at Jordan River Diamonds.

Gold – The Most Desirable Of The Precious Metals

Everybody loves gold, it’s the most malleable of metals and is unaffected by air, water or most corrosives. It’s an exceptionally rare metal that is very difficult to mine. On average some 31 tons of ore have to be processed to extract just 1 ounce of gold.

Pure gold (24 Karat) is far too soft and malleable to be used for jewelry. That’s why, in order to increase its hardness and durability, various metals, including silver, copper, zinc and nickel are used to create gold alloys. The metal used and the quantity affects the color of the gold and its karat value.

18K And 14K - Facts And Figures To Help You Choose

18K gold contains 75% gold and 14K gold contains 58.5% gold. The concentrations of gold effects the metal in a number of ways:

  • 14K gold is less expensive than 18K gold for obvious reasons.
  • 14K gold is slightly less prone to damage which, if you lead an active lifestyle could be an advantage.
  • 14K gold is less vivid than 18K gold although the difference is almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
  • Gold develops a patina over time. With 14K gold this takes longer due to the larger concentration of other metals.
  • 14K gold is said to be used primarily in the United States, 18K in Asia and Europe.

Platinum - Better Than Gold?

Platinum, like gold has some unique characteristics which make it a highly valuable metal, much in demand for fine jewelry.

So, what makes platinum so special and how does it compare with gold?

Like gold, platinum is extremely rare with an annual production estimated to be just 130 tons. That’s just 6% of the annual world gold production. Mining and processing platinum is a time consuming and costly process. It takes some 10 tons of ore to obtain one ounce of platinum and up to six months to process.

Platinum is exceptionally durable – it never fades, tarnishes and is often called the “eternal” metal. That’s because it’s a very dense metal (11% denser than gold) with just a single six inch cube being equivalent to the weight of an average man.

Platinum has the unique characteristic of almost completely indestructible. If it’s scratched none of its volume is lost but rather displaced across the surface. This means that no matter how much the metal is polished, it never wears down.

Like gold, platinum is alloyed with other metals, primarily iridium, ruthenium and cobalt. The amount and type of material added to the platinum will determine its hardness, ease of use and color. Pt900/Ir (900 parts platinum, 100 parts Iridium) is one of the more versatile alloys and perfect for jewelry.

Cost Comparison

Platinum and gold command similar prices per ounce on the open market. However, and this is an important point to remember, because platinum is denser it is heavier so, by weigh, more platinum is used in a setting that the equivalent amount of gold.

Durability And Other Issues

Platinum is stronger and more durable than gold. As a result it is better able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.

On the other hand despite being more durable than gold, platinum tends to be slightly softer than 14 K gold alloys and is more prone to scratching.

Platinum is a true, white metal that retains its color over decades. White gold, however, may need to be re-polished due to the yellow hue that eventually comes through.

Because platinum is denser, so platinum jewelry tends to be heavier. This may not be a problem but is something that should be taken into consideration when considering comfort.