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Gold is most renowned in its ultimate form of jewelry. Amazingly throughout the centuries the ritual of gold adornment still continues. People are caught up in gold’s allure through the acquisition and purchase of any number of pieces of jewelry, whether it be a ring, chain, necklace, earrings, bracelet or watch.
Gold Facts and Information
The allure of gold
From the beginning of time, gold has been one of the most valued and sought after of the precious metals. At various times it has been accorded magical and mystical properties, has been fought over prized as a form of international exchange, had the badge of royalty, and has lured people of all cultures to vast unknown lands in search of it. Always, a gift of gold has been the symbol of lasting love and devotion. Over centuries of increasing sophistication and technology, gold has assumed many additional roles. Not only is it still prized as an essential component of jewelry, it also has many applications in contemporary modern day life.
The uniqueness of gold
Of all the world’s precious metals, only gold combines the four basic characteristics that make it a universally and eternally treasured possession – lustrous beauty, rarity, durability and workability.
The naturally intense colour and distinctive lustre of gold combine to give this precious metal its unique and lasting beauty. This beauty is further enhanced by the soft and exquisite shades of colour achieved by combining it with small amounts of other precious and base metals known as alloy. The many colours of gold include yellow, white, pink and green and, to a lesser extent, shades of blue and purple. All are beautiful in their own right, and in combination.
Although gold is everywhere around us – in the earth’s crust, in the seas, rivers and plants – the difficulty and expense of obtaining it makes recovery of any substantial amounts unlikely. Where gold is found to exist, several tons of ore may be required to extract just one ounce of gold. This rarity alone is enough to bestow a certain symbolism and status to gold and when combined with its other inherent characteristics,it becomes an even more desirable possession.
Gold virtually lasts forever. It does not rust, tarnish or corrode. An example of its incredible durability is evident in the gold coins found in galleons sunk centuries ago. Each coin is as bright and shiny as the day it was made. Another familiar example which has overwhelmed millions of people are the treasures of King Tut. When the boy King Tutankhamen died in 1350BC he was buried with vast amounts of gold artifacts and jewelry. Today, more than 3000 years later, the breathtaking array of items are gleaming and lustrous as when they were buried.
Gold has the best working qualities of any metal, thereby making it the ideal precious metal for fine jewelry. It is so soft and malleable that one ounce can be stretched into a wire an incredible 80 kilometers long, or hammered into a sheet so thin that it covers well over nine square meters and becomes transparent. It is this workability that enables it to be alloyed with other precious and base metals to produce special qualities or to achieve variations of color. Gold can be re-melted and used again and again and it can be made into a vast array of jewelry items. From the most intricate bracelet to exist in a multitude of forms and shapes…
How do you know it is real gold?
When purchasing an item of gold jewelry, always look for a karat mark which should be stamped on it. This is a quality mark and refers to the proportion of pure gold in the item. Pure gold, which is 24kt, the metric equivalent being 1000, is generally considered too soft for practical uses in jewelry and is alloyed with other precious and base metals to increase its durability. Some of the common markings found on jewelry, with their metric equivalents, are: 22kt or 916, 18kt or 750, 14kt or 585, 9kt or 375. In some cases you will also find a P after the karat stamp, this is the reference to Plumb Gold which is a standard in the industry for exact gold content and reference to the karat. Every country has its own standards of karat in metal, as an example, Italy sells only 18kt gold in the country and exports 14kt as well as 18kt. The U.S. requires manufacturers trade- marks and karat stamping on all gold.
Markings on jewelry items are not limited to the karat or quality mark. You may find a manufacturer’s trade mark, logo or initials on some jewelry.
Care of gold jewelry
Like all jewelry, gold should be periodically cleaned and checked for wear and breakages. You can clean it yourself with warm, soapy water, but we at DesCar can re-polish it and add that extra sparkle. Also, store your jewelry so that items don’t scratch or scuff each other. Perhaps use a jewelry box, with separate compartments, stored in a secure place.
“I can’t wear gold … it leaves a black mark”
This is called “the mystery of the gold smudge”. Under normal conditions gold won’t tarnish or corrode, but there are generations of stories about “not being able to wear gold.” Research into the “gold smudge” has five basic reasons why gold can sometimes leave a black mark or a rash.
- Sometimes skin secretion and perspiration contain chemicals which react with the molecules of other metals in the gold alloy. This can happen when changes occur in body chemistry for example, during pregnancy.
- Outside chemical influences, such as medications, cosmetics, hairsprays and perfumes may sometimes be to blame for the “smudge.” Always allow these products to dry before putting on your jewelry. Some shampoos, for example, those produced specifically for dandruff or scalp problems may leave a residue on the skin that will continue to tarnish lower karat gold.
- Air pollutants from industry may cause the “smudge” which can rub off onto the skin when jewelry is worn.
- Minute particles of dust or powder may be embedded in the skin which can result in extremely small particles of gold alloy being rubbed off and left on the skin.
- The fifth and least likely cause may be an allergy to gold or one of the other metals in the alloy, such as an allergy to nickel which is commonly used in fashion jewelry, some white golds and some modern hard gold-plating methods.
Sterling silver is the standard for beautiful high-quality silver jewelry. It’s over 90% pure silver, mixed with alloys to add strength and durability. And it won’t wear down, as silver plating can.
For jewelry that lasts, all our silver jewelry, like our Sweetheart Locket, is quality sterling silver.
Silver Facts and Information
The silver jewelry and accessories available at DesCar are made of beautiful sterling silver. For our collection, we have chosen classic designs created by some of the finest silver craftsmen. Our guide will help you learn to identify quality in silver jewelry and accessories.
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable, and easily damaged so it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Although any metal can make up the 7.5 percent non-silver portion of sterling, centuries of experimentation have shown copper to be its best companion, improving the metal’s hardness and durability without affecting its beautiful color.
The small amount of copper added to sterling has very little effect on the metal’s value. Instead, the price of the silver item is affected by the labor involved in making the item, the skill of the craftsperson, and the intricacy of the design.
Most high quality silver items are stamped with a “fineness” or “quality” mark. This mark designates the precious metal content of the jewelry, and under federal law, must be accompanied by a maker’s mark or registered trademark.
Because pure silver is so soft, it should only be used when malleability is required, such as in handcrafted jewelry featuring weaving and other intricate designs. Sterling silver is most often used for jewelry and household accessories because of its combination of beauty and durability. Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver include: sterling, sterling silver, ster .925.
With proper care, your sterling silver will last a lifetime. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewelry either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.
Care should also be taken to prevent silver tarnish build-up, a dulling that naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the ambient air. To clean your silver, use polishes formulated specifically to remove tarnish. You can find fine silver polishes, solutions, or cloths appropriate to remove tarnish in most jewelry stores and in grocery stores. Great care should be given to the use of these cleaners, please read label carefully. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible.
Although wearing your silver jewelry often is the best way to prevent tarnish from building up, regular cleanings of all your silver items will prevent tarnish and keep your silver bright and sparkling.
What is Platinum?
Platinum is one of the rarest and purest precious metals in the world. Platinum is regarded by many as a “new” metal. In actuality, Platinum was discovered long before the concept of “modern” came into vogue.
Platinum is incomparable. The ability of Platinum to hold gemstones immovably secure, while enhancing their brilliance and depth with its subtle, deep white luster, makes it a setting without equal. Platinum will never tarnish, and, despite its inordinate flexibility, Platinum does not expand or distort even when exposed to heat. Platinum is hypoallergenic, and Platinum lasts.
Platinum Facts and Information
The platinum group metals, comprise six closely related metals: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium and Osmium.
Platinum was excepted as a precious metal only after second half of 19th century and has a deep luster and a rich, white color. It is rarer and heavier than all precious metals and considered to be more valuable than gold.
Platinum is one of the most beautiful metals used in jewelry today. Its rich white luster and understated elegance are beyond compare. Platinum is the metal of choice for today’s discriminating jewelry buyer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Platinum Jewelry
Why is platinum’s purity important to me?
Because platinum is so pure, it is hypoallergenic, resists tarnish, is one of the world’s strongest jewelry metals and is extremely durable.
Is platinum the same as white gold?
No, it is quite different. To create white gold, yellow gold is alloyed with copper and silver along with small amounts of nickel and zinc to achieve a white look. However, it does not have the same purity, strength, rarity, durability or natural white color as platinum.
How should I care for and clean platinum jewelry?
Platinum jewelry should be cleaned the same way you clean other fine jewelry. Use a pre-packaged jewelry cleaner or have it professionally cleaned by your jeweler. As with all precious jewelry, store with care, not allowing pieces to touch or scratch each other.
Platinum is Strong.
It is the heaviest of the precious metals, weighing almost twice as much as karat gold. A six inch cube of platinum weighs 165 pounds. It is one of the world’s strongest and most enduring metals, and will hold diamonds and gemstones securely in their mountings. Even after many years, platinum will not wear away or wear down. For example, after many years of wear, a gold wedding band’s shank will wear down and become thinner. This is not the case with platinum. As with all precious metals (gold, silver, etc.), platinum can be scratched. However, with platinum, there is actually no material lost from the scratch as there is with gold. If your platinum jewelry becomes scratched, simply bring it to DesCar Jewelry Design for polish.
Platinum is Pure.
In America, platinum jewelry contains either 90% or 95% pure platinum. By comparison, 18 karat gold is 75% pure and 14 karat is 58% pure gold. Platinum will never tarnish or lose its rich white luster.
Platinum is Rare.
Ten tons of ore must be mined to produce a single ounce of platinum. It takes five months to process platinum ore into pure platinum. Only after this time can skilled hands work their creativity and craftsmanship, transforming platinum into pieces of wearable art.
Platinum jewelry made in America contains either 90% or 95% pure platinum. Platinum jewelry marked “IRIDPLAT” contains 90% platinum and 10% iridium. When marked “PLAT,” an item is at least 95% platinum, with 5% ruthenium. In Europe, platinum is identified by the following marks: 950 or PT950.
- Palladium is a member of the PMG or Platinum Group Metals. The PMG group is also referred to as “Noble Metals” because of their superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation.
- Palladium is one of the most rare and scarce metals in the world.
- Palladium rings ar 95% pure.
- Palladium is nickel free.
- Palladium is a silver-white metal that will not tarnish in air and remains forever white.
- A Palladium ring is very durable and will last a lifetime, to be passed down for generations to come.
- Palladium is hypoallergenic
- Palladium contains NO skin irritants
Palladium was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston, an English chemist, in 1803 while analyzing samples of ore that were obtained from
South America. Although it is a rare element, palladium tends to occur with deposits of platinum, nickel, copper, silver, and gold and is recovered as a byproduct of mining these other metals.
Palladium vs. Platinum
In most jewelry today, platinum is still considered to be the king of metals.
Platinum wedding bands are approximately 60%-70% heavier than gold or palladium wedding bands. They are extremely durable and will last much longer than comparable gold wedding bands. Although, palladium will stay forever white unlike platinum which takes on a pewter color over time and would need to be professionally polished by a jeweler.
Why Choose Palladium?
Palladium offers many of the same desirable characteristics of platinum at a much lower price. Palladium is whiter than platinum and white gold, is hypoallergenic and never needs rhodium plating, and is more precious than white gold. And being in the Platinum Group Metal, palladium wedding bands provide wearers with the same durability that platinum wearers have learned to treasure. But perhaps the best part is that palladium wedding bands offer a pricing choice right between white gold and platinum wedding bands.
The (PGM) Platinum Group Metals are:
From the Greek word Titans, the mythological “first sons of the Earth”.
Titanium was discovered in 1791 by the Reverend William Gregor, an English pastor. Pure titanium was first produced by Matthew A. Hunter, an American metallurgist, in 1910. Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the earth’s crust and is primarily found in the minerals rutile (TiO2), ilmenite (FeTiO3) and sphene (CaTiSiO5). Titanium makes up about 0.57% of the earth’s crust.
Titanium is a strong, light metal. It is as strong as steel and twice as strong as aluminum, but is 45% lighter than steel and only 60% heavier than aluminum. Titanium is not easily corroded by sea water and is used in propeller shafts, rigging and other parts of boats that are exposed to sea water. Titanium and titanium alloys are used in airplanes, missiles and rockets where strength, low weight and resistance to high temperatures are important. Since titanium does not react within the human body, it is used to create artificial hips, pins for setting bones and for other biological implants.
Your Titanium Wedding Band
Titanium’s unique properties make it an excellent choice for a wedding band, although it’s very different than gold or platinum. Its a very lightweight metal, almost like aluminum, weighing only 1/3 as much as gold! Many people prefer this light feel because they hardly notice they are wearing a titanium ring at all! Its grayish color is close to white, but a few shades darker than platinum and white gold, more like the color of stainless steel, or gun-metal gray.
Even though titanium is very strong, under normal wear titanium wedding bands will begin to show small scrapes and scratches just like gold and platinum wedding bands. Although titanium is a very hard and durable metal, it can still be scratched by abrasive materials like rocks, sandpaper, and even hardened steel tools and utensils. A proffesional jeweler should be able to make your titanium ring look new again with a little polishing. Titanium rings look great and have a nice shine when they have been polished! Due to the incredible strength and durability of titanium, it is difficult to cut and shape this metal compared to gold, silver and platinum.
Titanium is not a rare or precious metal, it is readily available to those who want to use it in any industry. Most of the cost in making a titanium ring is in the skilled labor to craft the ring from such a hard metal. Titanium will not irritate or discolor your skin and will not harm the body in any way. Titanium is used in the medical and dental fields in surgical implants, bone screws, hip replacements, heart valves and more. Titanium rings are superior in durability to precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Titanium wedding bands will last a lifetime.
Black Titanium Wedding Bands: What is Black Titanium?
Natural titanium is grayish in color and, when alloyed with specific metals to increase its strength, has recently become a popular choice for wedding bands. The light weight of titanium and the grayish color appeals to many people, as well as the incredible strength and hypoallergenic properties. Under carefully controlled manufacturing conditions and using a special titanium alloy, the exterior surface color of naturally gray titanium wedding bands can be permanently changed to a rich and luxurious black. This color is not a paint or coating that is applied to outside surface after the wedding band is finished, but it actually forms on the titanium wedding band during part of the manufacturing and treatment process.
What is Tungsten Carbide?
Tungsten is a very hard and dense metal, mined from Wolframite ore and symbolized by a (W) on the periodic table of elements. It melts at an extraordinary 6,100 degrees Fahrenheitthe highest melting point of all metals. On its own, tungsten is vulnerable to scratches and damage just like any other metal, such as titanium and steel. Tungsten does not gain its extreme hardness until it is combined with a carbon alloy, transferring it into tungsten carbide (WC) with a hardness between 8.5 and 9.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (diamond is a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale). Diamond is the hardest substance known to man. Tungsten carbide is four times harder than titanium, twice as hard as steel, ten times harder than 18 karat gold, is virtually unscratchable, and has been widely used for decades in industrial applications such as cutting tools, mining machinery, and rocket engine nozzles.
Tungsten Carbide is created by firing tungsten combined with carbon powder in an oxygen-free oven at 6,200 degrees fahrenheit. This process called sintering creates the hardest metal used for making jewelry.
Will Tungsten Carbide Scratch?
Tungsten carbide can only be scratched by a substance harder than itself, like abrasion from diamonds or corundum (genuine sapphire and ruby). Therefore, activities that would normally require the removal of conventional wedding bands for their protection can be performed without concern by the wearer of a tungsten carbide wedding band. While extremely strong and scratch-resistant, Tungsten carbide is a bit more brittle than traditional metals used in wedding bands.
Engraving and Sizing Tungsten Carbide Wedding Bands
Because of the extreme hardness and durability of tungsten, tungsten wedding bands cannot be sized, so extra care should be taken in determining the proper ring size. Also, engraving a tungsten wedding band is very difficult, due to the extreme hardness of this metal.