Precious Jewelry Metals
Having arrived on this earth over 2 billion years ago via meteorite, platinum has long been the diva of all metals. From kings to princesses to celebrities to ordinary people, this diva of a metal is the most sought after metal in value, eternal pure beauty, and historical significance.
And, though it is the most expensive among all metals, it can still affordable for those who strive to obtain it!
In 1751, Theophil Scheffer, Swedish scientist, officially named platinum as a precious metal. Since then, kings sought to own platinum in various ornamental forms, which were then passed down for the generations to come. Platinum holds an unyielding historical significance which in turn places it as the most valuable metal today.
In 1803, WH Wallaston, British scientist, discovered a way to make platinum malleable, which in turn made it available for commercial use.
In the early 1900′s, Louis Cartier was the first jeweler to successfully create platinum jewelry. It was here, in particular, that platinum was exposed for its amazing capabilities to help expose the brilliance of diamonds! Since then, royals around the world clamored to Cartier’s creations.
In 1924, the world’s largest platinum deposit was discovered near Johannesburg, South Africa, which gave significant rise to the world’s modern platinum industry.
Platinum is a natural white metal that will not change color or fade over time. It is 95% pure, making it the purest of all precious metals. Platinum’s purity makes it naturally hypoallergenic, which is appealing to those with sensitive skin. Platinum’s density makes platinum highly durable, so it doesn’t wear away over time. Platinum’s strength and durability makes it the most secure setting for diamonds and precious gemstones. Platinum prongs offer better protection for diamonds.
Gold is unique in that for thousands of years it has been used in many different facets of life. Ranging from ornamental royal wear, to a currency and a standard for global currencies, its many properties have enabled it to play a central role in human history and development.
Gold is the only yellow metal on earth, and is the only metal that does not form oxide film on its surface in air at normal temperatures. This ensures that gold will never tarnish or rust.
The higher the proportion of gold used in the final metal, the more valuable and expensive the metal will be. For example, 14kt gold contains 58.5% pure gold (585 parts per thousand parts), while 18kt gold contains 75% pure gold (750 parts per thousand parts). In other words, 18kt gold is more valuable and expensive than 14kt gold.
White gold is an alloy of gold, and at least one white metal which is typically nickel, manganese, or palladium. Alloys which are mixed 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy create 14-karat gold, 18 parts gold to 6 parts alloy creates 18-karat gold. There are literally hundreds of different alloys that can be applied to gold, but most often silver is used to color the gold white. Any off-white coloring in white gold is often touched up with rhodium-plating.
Palladium and nickel act as primary bleaching agents for gold in the United States. In much of Europe, nickel is not used when creating white gold, as the statistics state that one out of eight people develop allergies to wearing white gold over time.
Palladium is a fairly new metal in the market arena compared to gold and platinum. It was discovered in 1802 by William Hyde Wollaston, who also named in palladium after the asteroid Pallas. Wollaston found palladium in crude platinum ore from South America.
Palladium by itself has been used as a precious metal in jewelry since 1939, as an alternative to platinum for making white gold. This use resulted from the naturally white color of palladium, which required no rhodium plating. Palladium is much lighter than platinum in proportion. Similar to gold, palladium can be beaten thin. Unlike platinum, palladium may discolor upon heating to above 400 °C (752 °F).
Palladium is one of the three most popular metals used to make white gold alloys, the other two being nickel and silver. Palladium-gold is a more expensive alloy than nickel-gold, but seldom causes allergic reactions the way nickel-gold can