Precious Metals Education

Do you know what a platinum’s patina is? Or that gold is almost always mixed with other metals when used in jewelry making? How about that silver in its true form is too soft for jewelry setting? These three metals are most commonly used by craftsmen to make fine jewelry, and ICONIC is no different. The Precious Metals guide will answer all your questions and give you the information you need when making the choice: gold and silver or platinum?


Learn About Precious Metals

Precious metals are naturally occurring metals of high value, the most valuable of which is rhodium, followed by platinum. ICONIC offers jewelry in three precious metals: platinum, gold, and silver.

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Platinum

Platinum is the most expensive metal used to form jewelry. Dense and durable, platinum makes a secure metal for settings. 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, jewelry should be professionally buffed by a jeweler once or twice a year.


Gold

With a rich and long history, gold’s popularity endures today. Gold jewelry is both durable and resistant to tarnish. Though available in three colors, gold’s natural color is yellow.

Because pure gold is too soft for daily wear, it is almost always mixed with other metals to produce more durable gold alloys. The type and percentage of other metals used to ermine the gold’s color and value.

The proportion of pure gold is indicated in ‘karats’ (K or kt). The karat system divides 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 metal’s value.

White Gold

  • A popular choice for diamond jewelry, white gold provides the beautiful color of platinum at a slightly more affordable price. Pure gold is combined with metals such as silver and palladium to produce a white color.
  • 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 “yellow” over time; it is simply the rhodium-plating wearing down. Periodic re-plating can restore this white metal to its original vibrancy.

Yellow Gold

  • A mixture of 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 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.

Rose Gold

  • Rose gold’s mixture of pure gold and copper 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 continues to remain a favourite for many people.

Silver

ICONIC’s silver products are made from sterling silver, the finest quality of silver. In its pure form, silver is very soft and malleable, making it unsuitable for jewelry. Sterling silver’s composition of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals (usually copper) makes it much more durable. Silver does tarnish over time, but with proper care can be kept lustrous.

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Metal Durability & Care

Metal Durability Details Care
Platinum
  • Very dense and durableStrongest metal for settings
  • Somewhat prone to scratching
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Most expensive of all jewelry metals
  • Heavier than other metals
  • Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth or brush. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Take to a jeweler for professional cleaning 1-2 times a year.
White Gold
  • Very durable
  • Most scratch resistant precious metal
  • Requires periodic rhodium re-plating to maintain white colorClosest alternative to platinum in look, durability and feel
  • Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth or brush. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Keep away from harsh chemicals, including household products.
Yellow Gold
  • Most scratch resistant precious metal
  • No re-plating required
  • Gold color least likely to cause allergic reaction
  • Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth or brush. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Keep away from harsh chemicals, including household products.
Rose Gold
  • Most scratch resistant precious metal
  • No re-plating required
  • Most durable gold alloy due to copper content
  • Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth or brush. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Keep away from harsh chemicals, including household products.
Silver
  • Less durable thanother metals
  • Tarnishes over time
  • Most affordable precious metal
  • Wearing silver jewelry is the best way to prevent tarnishing.
  • Regularly polish with a soft, lint-free cloth to minimize tarnishing.
  • Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Keep away from harsh chemicals, including household products.
  • Pieces with more severe tarnish should be professionally cleaned.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most expensive precious metal is Palladium, and this mainly down to its scarcity. The metal is used in jewelry as well as being a critical part of pollution-control devices in motor vehicles.
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.
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.
Rhodium, Platinum and Palladium, in the current market, are more expensive than gold when purchased in their purest form. In some cases, as with Palladium, this is due to the lack of supply and increased demand.
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.  There’s less than 1 ounce in the world at any given time making it extremely rare.
Regularly polish with a soft, lint-free cloth to minimize tarnishing. Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Clean in warm water using a mild detergent. Rub gently with a soft cloth or brush. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Both are rare and durable. 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 doesn’t tarnish making it a good choice for jewelry.
Tungsten is the most durable and strongest material for jewelry.
Rhodium is the most valuable metal and exists within the platinum group of metals. It is used in jewelry for a final finish on white gold jewelry.
gold is the best metal to wear as its long-wearing and doesn’t tarnish.
 its composed of copper and silver helps to strengthen it and give it its rose color and 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.
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.
Platinum is considered to be the most durable and densest metal making it the safest and best choice for jewelry. It is corrosion-resistant and remains stable at high temperatures.
The higher the karat means 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. 18K or 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 between the two is 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.
Cooper is considered to be the most affordable and easiest metal to work with for jewelry.