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Metallurgy Info

Metallurgy Information

Oxidized silver is darker than other types of silver, with little to no luster. Oxidized silver is created through a process of controlled oxidation, where the silver is exposed to the environmental factors that cause tarnish. Oxidized silver requires less maintenance than sterling, and further tarnish simply makes the silver more beautiful.

Rhodium is a silvery-white precious metal and a member of the platinum family. It is the material most often used to plate jewelry because of its highly-reflective finish, hardness, and corrosion resistance. It is also hypoallergenic, and will prevent yellow and white gold from leaving a greenish tinge on the skin. Rhodium-plated sterling silver jewelry will resist tarnishing, and new white gold and platinum jewelry are often rhodium-plated to provide a brighter finish. The current trend is toward white gold, so many women are having their yellow gold rings plated in rhodium, which is relatively inexpensive compared to buying new jewelry! Plating can be done by a qualified jeweler, and can also be removed again if desired.

Pewter is the fourth most popular metal used in jewelry, behind gold, silver, and platinum. In the past, lead was often used in pewter. Today, because the adverse impact of lead on the human body is well-documented, almost all pewter items created in the U.S. are made lead-free. Pewter is popular because it can be polished to a high shine, chemically darkened for an antique look, or “brushed” to leave a rough surface. Because of its low melting point, those who work with pewter are able to create jewelry with intricate detail. Pendants, rings, buttons, belt buckles, and earrings are all popular ways in which people wear and exhibit their favorite pewter pieces.

The main advantage of buying Gold-filled jewelry is that it is an inexpensive alternative with the same look as gold. With proper care, gold-plated jewelry can last for years. Gold-filled jewelry is more expensive than gold-plated. It has an amazing, quality alternative to solid gold and can last for a lifetime for an affordable price. It is the “next best thing” to solid gold. Solid gold is beautiful, expensive, and can last for generations. The best is 24k, followed by 18k, 14k, and 10k gold.

What is the definition for gold filled and gold plate?

The term gold filled refers to the manufacturing process in which a sheet of base metal, usually brass, is mechanically bonded with thinner sheets of gold. A "sandwich" is formed by mechanically bonding a layer of gold on both sides of brass. This "sandwich" is then cold worked by rolling until a much thinner gauge metal is achieved. Products are then formed or die-struck from this layered material.

When a layer of gold is affixed on all surfaces by any mechanical means, and the weight of the gold is a minimum of 1/20th of the total weight of the metal in the article, it may be marked “Gold Filled (GF)”. The quality of the gold used is typically 10, 12 or 14 karat gold with 10 karat being minimum. Hallmarking would look like “10kt GF” or “14kt GF”.

The terms “Rolled Gold Plate” and “Gold Overlay” refer to the same bonding process; however, the weight of karat gold is less than 1/20th but not less than 1/40th of total weight of metal. Hall marking would look, for example, like, “1/30th 12kt R.G.P”, “1/40th 10kt Gold Overlay”.

When a product is referred to as gold, rhodium, or nickel-plated, this indicates that it has been electroplated with a thin layer of that particular metal. An article of jewelry is “Gold Plated” when gold is electroplated or mechanically sheathed with a mini¬mum thickness of 1/2 micron (20 millionths of an inch) of fine gold. The quality of the gold used is typically 10, 12, 14 karat. The karat quality of the gold plate must be disclosed and it can be described as “12kt Gold Plate” or “2μ 12kt G.P.” for an item plated with 2 microns of 12 karat gold.

About Gold

Pure gold (fine gold) is softer than pure silver but harder than tin. Its beauty and luster are unmatched by any alloyed golds. The extreme malleability, ductility, and softness of pure gold make it practically useless for jewelry applications.

Alloying elements (other metals) are added to gold to increase the toughness and hardness of the gold alloy. While almost any metal can be alloyed (melted) with gold, only certain metals will not dramatically change the color or make the metal brittle. The addition of indium, for instance, turns gold purple and gives gold alloy the workability of glass.

Over time, certain percentages of gold have become legally recognized "karats." The karat indicates the amount of gold as a percentage of the total, i.e. 24 karat is 100 percent gold. Thus 14 karat is 14/24's gold or 58-1/3 percent gold. Gold standards vary around the world. In the United States, 24, 22, 18, 14, and 10 karat gold are the only karats allowed to be sold as karated gold.

In karated gold, there is a known proportion of metals in the non-gold percentage. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated golds. Typical alloying elements and their color effect are:

Copper Reddening • Silver Greening • Zinc Bleaching • Nickel Whitening • Palladium Whitening

Examples of the compositions of different colors are: • Yellow: Gold, copper, silver, zinc • White: Gold, copper, nickel (or palladium), zinc • Red: Gold, copper • Green: Gold, silver

Adjusting the proportions of base metals (non-precious metals) provides the array of colors on the market. They also enhance properties such as castability, grain size, hardness, corrosion resistance, workability, ultimate strength, and ductility. These additions can dramatically change the properties of the karated gold for better or worse.

GOLD (Au) 24 Karat gold is a dense, malleable precious metal that is bright yellow in color and can be polished to a high luster. In its pure form it is considered too soft and not suitable to use in jewelry. Gold is commonly mixed with other metals, or alloys, to create a wide range of color variations and working properties.

White Gold is a silvery-looking gold alloy that contains gold mixed with palladium, nickel, or sometimes zinc to achieve its color. White gold has yellow undertones and is commonly rhodium-plated to create a whiter appearance. The plating will eventually wear away at which time it can be replated. X1 White Gold is a super white alloy that does not require rhodium-plating.

24 Karat gold fine (99.7% gold)

18 Karat gold is 18 parts gold or 75% pure gold content, which may be marked as 750

14 Karat gold is 14 parts gold or 58% pure gold content, which may be marked as 585 10 Karat gold is 10 parts gold or 41% pure gold content.

PLATINUM (Pt) Platinum is a dense, malleable metal that is white in color with cool undertones. It is almost always used in its purest form in jewelry, 95%. Platinum is substantial in weight. Comparatively, a ring in platinum will weigh almost 60% more than the same ring in 14kt gold. For these reasons a platinum ring is significantly more expensive than the same item in a gold alloy.

PALLADIUM (Pd) Palladium is a member of the platinum metal group and is a soft, silvery-white color with slightly gray undertones. It is also used in an almost pure form in jewelry, 95%.

SILVER (Ag) Silver is a soft, lustrous metal that is very malleable and silvery-white in color. Sterling silver is a common alloy comprised of 92.5 % silver and 7.5 % copper. Continuum™ sterling silver is an alternative that is 92.5% pure, resistant to oxidation, and harder. Continuum™ sterling is suitable for gem setting and offers added longevity.

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