The precious metal family is comprised of Gold, Silver and the Platinum family of metals. In the jewellery industry, Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium are used commonly in combinations with each other and with other metals to produce alloys with specific properties that make them ideal for jewellery making.
At Richardsons Jewellers we stamp all our jewellery in accordance with Australian standards. Australian standards are used to regulate the carat of precious metal in the jewellery’s alloy. These stamps ensure the quality and purity of the metal.
Gold is both described & known as a precious metal its rarity & beauty has throughout history made it a universal symbol of wealth. It has been highly sort after long before history records show and has been used as currency by many different cultures. It is very malleable metal which means it is very easily worked or hammered into sheets so thin that light can pass through. It is also a ductile metal which means it can be drawn into long thin wire. Gold also resists corrosion and oxidation, which means it will not rust, tarnish or corrode.
Pure Gold is rich yellow in colour and is far too soft and malleable to be used in jewellery, so fine gold is mixed or alloyed with other metals to give it strength and durability. Alloying Gold creates a vast spectrum of colours and carats, carat being the scale of purity of Gold Alloys, the higher the carat, the higher the gold content. For example, 18ct Gold contains 75% pure gold by weight and 9ct Gold contains 37.5% pure gold by weight.
Not all golds are created equal, and this is a very important piece of information to remember when you are purchasing a new Gold Bracelet, Bangle, Earring, Chain or Rings. The Australian and Italian refining process is often regarded as the superior process for gold.
Is 9ct Harder than 18ct?
There is a lot of incorrect information out there about the difference between 9ct gold and 18ct gold. We often hear customers say that 18ct is softer than 9ct and doesn’t wear as well, which is simply not the case.
In fact, the 2 metals are very similar with 9ct being slightly harder, however 18ct is significantly denser. As a result, 18ct gold is the harder wearing metal of the two and will outlast 9ct gold. 18ct Gold is a much harder metal to bend than 9ct, what this means in basic terms is that an 18ct Gold shank or band on your ring, is less likely to bend out of shape than the same thickness shank or band in a 9ct ring.
9ct has 37.5% Pure Gold and 62.50% of other metals such as Copper and Silver. 18ct has 75% Pure Gold and 25% of other metals such as Copper and Silver. This is also why 18ct Gold is a richer yellow colour than 9ct. The different combination of these other metals will determine the colour of gold.
Is the most popular colour of all the Golds. The amount of Silver and Copper that is added to the Pure Gold is weighed very precisely, without the correct proportions of other metals throughout the refining process it can create an inferior quality metal. This is why at Richardson’s Jewellers we like to sell Australian Gold. This metal is stamped for 9ct – 375 or ‘9ct’ or 18ct – 750 or ’18ct’
In the 1920’s White Gold was created by mixing fine Yellow Gold with other precious white metals like Platinum, Palladium and Silver. White Gold’s popularity grew over the decades as it became known as a less expensive alternative to Platinum, but still possesses its own distinctive white hue and characteristics.
There are two main types of white gold. White gold with nickel or white gold with palladium. White gold (nickel) is a hard white metal which is difficult to bend or work. Which is ideal for ring shanks or bands. White gold (palladium) is a more malleable white metal with a very high melting point which allows the jeweller to work in very ornate (filigree) or fine settings without melting the metal during the making or repair process. white gold (palladium) is a much whiter metal then white gold (nickel).
The colour of white gold is a naturally dull metal therefore all white gold jewellery is Rhodium Plated at finishing. It gives the metal a beautiful lustre and shine. It is very important to note that all white gold jewellery 9ct or 18ct should be re rhodium plated at least every 12 to 14 months. By doing this it will preserve the quality of the metal and keep the ring looking as good as the day you bought it.
Rose Gold found its status in fashionable early European society in the nineteenth century, being worn to adorn large gemstones, and to mix with other hues of precious gold. The Rose Gold alloy utilises the rich yellow of gold and the reddish hue of copper to produce its warm tones. Rose Gold is created by adding larger proportion of copper than silver in the refining process. It is truly one of the prettiest coloured metals we use in the jewellery industry and is best appreciated in 9ct.
Platinum is the rarest, and most valuable of all the precious metals. It has inspired legendary fashion icons. Only a small amount of Platinum is produced each year, which enhances its rarity. Platinum jewellery contains more fine metal than most other jewellery, being at least 95% pure. It has about 5% of other rare metals added to make it into a workable metal and a better wearing metal. Platinum is normally stamped 950 or ‘Plat’. Its rich purity makes Platinum hypoallergenic, and its natural white colour will not tarnish or lose its lustre.
One of the strongest metals used in jewellery, platinum will endure through all uses. It will resist wear even after a lifetime of use and is Platinum is ideal for making the collet or the setting that holds your Diamond.
The Platinum 600 range is new to the Australian market and is a good alternative to white gold for customers looking for a harder wearing & maintenance friendly metal option. Platinum 600 is an alloy of 60% Platinum 40% alloy. Platinum 600 measures harder on the international Vickers scale then 9ct, 18ct gold & Platinum 950. Due to its hardness platinum 600 is very resistant to scratching and general wear and tear. Being an alloy of platinum is naturally a white metal (no rhodium plating required).
Palladium is rich in lustre and has a slightly warmer shade of white to its sister Platinum.
This rare white metal has been found among early Egyptian artifacts, but it is only in the last few years that it has rapidly gained recognition as a vibrant addition to use in finished jewellery. As strong and as naturally white as Platinum; Palladium is durable and will last forever. Palladium, although very similar to Platinum, has differing characteristics making it a unique and naturally stunning precious metal. Palladium is 95% pure and is stamped 950 or Pall.
Silver is the brightest reflector of any precious metal (except liquid mercury) and can be polished to an unmatched sheen. Silver used in jewellery is usually alloyed with copper to make sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure and accordingly stamped 925. For centuries Sterling Silver has been used in jewellery and domestic utensils as a form of embellishment and due to its malleability, it was perfect for ornamental purposes. Like Gold, Silver has been used as a form of monetary exchange and was seen as a sacred metal in ancient times. Silver’s popularity has not wavered, its bright, naturally white colour and flexibility to form many shapes has ensured its perennial attractiveness.
Titanium is commonly known as an industrial grade material and has many commercial uses. Titanium in jewellery is used in almost pure form and as such is hypo-allergenic and naturally a grey colour. Titanium is also corrosion resistant, light weight, strong & has a high impact toughness.