gold & platinum

Introduction to Gold and Platinum

Without gold, it is said, there would be no jewelry. For thousands of years, men have fought, sailed oceans, braved jungles and moved mountains for gold. Every great civilization has left a legacy of gold jewelry that unfailingly dazzles the modern eye.

Too soft for tools or weapons, gold was thought to be the metal of the sun, coveted for its natural beauty and worshiped for its mystical powers. Today, gold is cherished not just as a rare precious metal. Its physical properties are unrivaled for creating fine jewelry.

Stretch an ounce of gold into 50 miles of fine wire. Hammer an ounce into a square, 100 feet wide. It resists tarnish and rust. It is immune to corrosion, oxidation and acids. Gold's value comes from both its beauty and scarcity. All of the gold mined in the past 6,000 years would fit into a cube 60 feet tall.

What are Karats?

Karats are a measure of the percentage of gold to alloy contained in gold jewelry. Gold is mixed with alloy for strength. Metal stamped 24K, meaning 24-karat gold, is considered pure gold and too soft be used for jewelry. More common 18K gold contains 75% pure gold. Jewelry marked 14K appears the most widely. Anything under 10K cannot be labeled or sold as gold.

Gold

Yellow gold, capturing the metal's classic natural color, is by far the favorite. Copper and silver are the alloys used most with yellow gold. For the fashion-conscious, white gold is hot and trendy.

The value of gold jewelry is based on several factors: fineness or karat count, weight in grams and the workmanship reflected in the piece.

Platinum - The Royal Metal

From ancient Egypt to pre-Columbian South America, platinum plays a leading role in the creation of exquisitely fine jewelry. Not until the 18th century did it begin to appear in the jewelry of Western Europe. It soon became the metal of royalty.

Platinum ranks among the rarest of metals. Ten tons of ore yield one ounce of platinum. For every 15 to 20 ounces of gold extracted, only a single ounce of platinum is mined. Mountains of rock must be crushed to meet world demand and the refining process takes nearly a half-year. Unlike gold, which doesn't work well in its purest form, platinum is used in jewelry at 90-95% purity. Platinum of this fineness is stamped 900Pt, 950 Plat or just Plat. Even in this pure state, platinum contains five other metals -- iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium and ruthenium. Like gold, it is tarnish and rust resistant.

Safekeeping Gold and Platinum Jewelry

Many of us treasure the gold and platinum jewelry pieces that have become family heirlooms. Proper care protected the jewelry as it passed from generation to generation. When you purchase gold or platinum jewelry from Estate Diamond Exchange, we hope you will follow a few simple rules for its care and safekeeping. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives. Don't wear rings, bracelets and other jewelry while working with power tools. Store each piece separately in a soft cloth pouch or in the separate compartments of a jewelry case. Check that gem settings are secure. If not, ask a professional jeweler to re-set them.

Certified Gemologist on Staff