Learn About Precious Metals: Buying Guide for Different Types
Precious metals are naturally occurring rare metals of high value, the most valuable of which is rhodium, followed by platinum. Most jewelers offer jewelry in three precious metals: platinum, gold, and silver.
Platinum is the most expensive of precious metals used to form jewelry. The reason for the elevated price of this element is a consequence of the high density of platinum increasing its weight in troy ounces and thereby its price. Being dense and extremely durable, platinum makes a secure metal for settings due to its hardness.
Platinum can be viewed as the hardest metal by standard measure among gold, platinum, and silver and is known for its resistance to tarnish. It also keeps its light color without needing to be recoated. Over time, platinum does develop a natural patina, which gives it a softer, less shiny look. To maintain the white, high-polish look of new platinum, the jewelry should be professionally buffed by a jeweler once or twice a year.
With a rich and long history, gold’s popularity worldwide endures today. Gold jewelry is both highly durable and resistant to tarnish. Though available in three colors, gold’s natural color is yellow.
Because pure physical gold is too soft for daily wear, along with not being very scratch resistant, jewelers almost always mix this commodity with other precious metals to produce more durable gold alloys. The type and percentage of other precious metals are used to determine the gold’s color and value. The gold alloys that jewelers use to create the beautiful jewelry we all love make it many times harder, despite gold not being the hardest metal.
The proportion of pure physical gold is indicated in ‘karats’ (K or kt). The karat system divides the gold composition into 24 parts, meaning 100% pure gold is 24-karat gold, 18-karat gold is 75% pure gold, and so on, and these compositions will have an impact on the value of this rare metal.
- A popular choice among precious metals for diamond jewelry, white gold provides the beautiful color of platinum at slightly more affordable prices. The metal alloys used to create a white gold account for their hardness and their similar appearance to platinum despite being lower in cost. Jewelers combine pure gold with other precious metals such as silver and palladium. This process produces a white color. White gold jewelry may be slightly more expensive than yellow gold jewelry due to the costs involved in the chemical reactions that include mixing and coating.
- White gold is usually plated with rhodium to give it a more dazzling white finish. Prior to plating, white metal retains a slightly yellow hue. This is the reason white gold jewelry appears to be “yellow” over time; it is simply the rhodium-plating wearing down. Periodic re-plating can restore this white metal to its original vibrancy.
- A mixture of the elements pure gold, silver, and copper give yellow gold its warm hue. The higher the proportion of pure gold, the more yellow the gold appears. One key advantage of yellow gold alloy is that its color does not fade over time, so you can be assured that your yellow gold jewelry will stay in good condition and remains to be a good investment.
- Rose gold’s pure gold and copper mixture gives it a peachy pink hue. Sometimes called red or pink gold, rose gold first rose to popularity in 19th century Russia. Rose gold jewelry remains a favorite for many people as it often complements most skin tones and appears more aesthetically pleasing than other metals.
Most silver products are made from sterling silver, the finest quality of silver. Silver is very soft and malleable in its pure form, making it unsuitable for jewelry and having low intrinsic value. Sterling silver’s composition of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metal elements (usually copper) increases its resistance, making it a great investment compared to other metals. Silver does tarnish over time but, with proper care, can be kept lustrous and comparable to other valuable metals.
Metal Durability & Care
Frequently Asked Questions
The most expensive precious metal is Palladium, and this is mainly down to its rarity compared to other precious metals such as gold and silver. This physical metal is used in jewelry as well as being a critical part of pollution-control devices in motor vehicles. Palladium serves as a catalyst in catalytic converters in motor vehicles along with other industrial engine machines. Additionally, palladium coins are worth investing in as their price continues to increase.
It is very difficult to say which is the purest of the precious metals, although it is generally accepted to be 24k gold. Other precious metals, once they have been through the smelting process to remove impurities, would also be classed as pure.
Physical metals such as Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium, in the current market, are more expensive than gold and silver when purchased in their purest form. In some cases, as with Palladium, this is due to the lack of supply and increased demand. Investing in precious metals such as these can be considered a good choice due to the volatility of the prices at which metals sell.
The rarest metal on earth is francium, but it is an unstable element and only has a half-life of 22 minutes, so it has no practical use compared to purchasing precious metals like gold and silver. There’s less than 1 ounce in the world at any given time, making it extremely rare. It is not a safe choice if you’re thinking of investing in precious metals such as this.
Cleaning silver is as simple as regularly polishing with a soft, lint-free cloth to minimize tarnishing. You can also clean silver in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
They are similar in rarity and durability. Platinum, Gold, and Silver are some of the most popular precious metals.
Tungsten is the most durable and strongest material for jewelry. Platinum is stronger than gold and silver and doesn’t tarnish, making it a good choice for jewelry.
Tungsten is the most durable and strongest material for jewelry.
If you’re thinking of investing in precious metals, you should be aware that Rhodium is the most valuable metal considering market conditions and exists within the platinum group of metals. It is used in jewelry for a final finish on white gold jewelry but is unreachable for the average investor.
If you want to buy precious metals, you should look into the price of gold as it is the best metal to wear as it’s long-wearing and doesn’t tarnish.
It’s composed of copper, and silver helps strengthen it and give it its rose color It is considered one of the precious metals.
Gold does not tarnish, rust, or corrode, making it a sustainable long-wearing metal. Pure gold is very soft, so it is mixed with other alloys to strengthen it, making it useful as a setting for jewelry. The price of gold is also justified because of how durable it is, allowing it to last a lifetime in its physical form.
Because platinum’s high density makes it heavier, the cost of these metals is higher. It can cost up to twice the value of white or yellow gold prices.
Platinum is considered to be the most durable and densest metal making it the safest and best choice for jewelry and a great investment for many investors. It is corrosion-resistant and remains stable at high temperatures.
The higher the karat, the higher the gold content, but this also means the less durable the metal. Gold needs to be mixed with other alloys to strengthen it. 18Kor 14K gold is used for wedding and engagement rings.
The main difference between the precious metals of white gold and yellow gold is the color. White gold is a little stronger and more durable than yellow gold, but the two are relatively the same, as they’re both made of gold and other alloy metals. 18K gold will always cost more than 14K gold despite the color.
Copper is considered to be the most affordable and easiest metal to work with for jewelry.