We know when it comes to understanding precious metals and their purity's it can seem a bit confusing. We want this page to help you in understanding what metals are used in all jewelry purchased from Gemstone Collectors U.S.
The noblest of all precious metals pure gold is 24K meaning that 24 out of 24 parts of the metal are Gold. Gold purity content is categorized using the Karat system. Depending on the ratio of pure Gold to other alloys, the Gold used in jewelry is usually categorized as 10K, 14K,18K, 24K. Lower Karat Gold is not tarnish resistant, higher Karat Gold is much more resistant to tarnishing.
- 10K: 10 karat Gold is made up of 41.7% Gold and 58.3% alloy, or 10 out of 24 parts Gold. 10K Gold is the least pure, least expensive, and the most durable form of Gold used in jewelry today. 10K Gold has a more pale Gold appearance with as significantly less rich yellow tone then higher purity's of Gold. It's a personal preference whether you like it or not. Some people like it for its visual subtlety while other prefer the richer Yellow tone of higher purity's. 10K Gold is the most affordable type of Gold used in the U.S. making it a good option for those shopping for jewelry on a budget. 10K Gold is also highly durable it's very difficult to scratch, scuff, or bend making it a well worth consideration for those in a work environment with hard surfaces. A slight disadvantage of 10K Gold is the risk of causing skin irritation if you have an allergy to certain metals. A list of some other alloys used in 10K Gold are, Copper, Silver, Nickel, Zinc, or Iron.
- 14K: 14 Karat Gold is made of 58.3% Gold and 41.7% Alloy, or 14 out of 24 parts Gold. 14 Karat Gold is the middle range of purity and the most popular Gold for jewelry in The United Sates, The United Kingdom and other western countries. 14K Gold has a rich classic Gold appearance that most customers look for in jewelry. It's color is slightly less saturated and intense than 18K Gold, making it an excellent choice if you want Gold jewelry that's rich and attractive but not overly yellow. 14K Gold is more affordable then 18K, making it a good option if your looking for a mix of durability, quality and Value for your money however, it is slightly less durable than 10K. 14K Gold still has the potential to cause skin irritation for those with metal allergies.
- 18K: 18 Karat Gold is made of 75% Gold and 25% Alloy, or 18 out of 24 parts Gold. 18K Gold is usually the most pure form of Gold used for wearable jewelry. 18K Gold has a rich Yellow appearance and high end appeal, the disadvantage of 18K Gold jewelry is that it is expensive and is easy to scratch. Since 18K Gold is almost pure there is very little risk of jewelry made using this material causing a skin irritation if you have a metal allergy.
- 24K: 24 Karat Gold is pure gold or 24 out of 24 parts Gold. Since it's very soft and malleable this type of gold isn't usually used for jewelry. Meaning it bends and warps easily, making it a poor metal for jewelry that needs to retain its shape. It scratches easily and the color of pure gold is much brighter and more orange then most people associate with Gold used in Jewelry. Lastly it's very expensive due to its pure state.
- Yellow: Yellow Gold is made of pure Gold mixed with alloy metals mixed with Copper & Zinc.
- White: White gold is made of a mixture of pure gold and white metals such as Nickle, Silver, & Palladium, usually with a Rhodium Coating.
- Rose: Rose Gold is made of pure Gold mixed with Copper & Silver Alloys.
- 925 Sterling Silver: Because pure Silver or "99.9% Fine Silver" is much too soft to be used in jewelry, it is often combined with other metals to make a more durable metal. Sterling Silver has a purity of 92.5% and 7.5% of alloy is made of Copper, Nickel or Zinc. Although 925 Sterling Silver is more durable then pure Silver, the additional metals in the alloy are more prone to tarnishing. However, this is prevented in higher end jewelry by finishing and plating a piece with any of the precious metals Rhodium, Platinum or Gold thus making it more hypoallergenic as well.
- A naturally bright white metal, Platinum is typically utilized in a nearly pure form for jewelry ranging from 95%-98%. Platinum looks almost identical to White Gold although it is rarer than Gold, naturally hypoallergenic, heavier, and more durable than Gold. The only downside for Platinum is that it's significantly more expensive then White Gold even though it looks almost identical to White Gold. This is the most rare and prestigious metal available when it comes to high end jewelry.
A member of the Platinum group, Rhodium is a shiny white metal that is highly reflective, durable, and expensive--much more expensive than even Platinum. Rhodium is often used as a hardening agent for Platinum. In jewelry, it is plated on other metals like 925 Sterling Silver to increase luster and eliminate tarnishing.
- Typically Vermeil is a Gold finished material that is composed of a thick layer of Gold over solid 925 Sterling Silver. Industry standards dictate that the Gold portion must be 10K or above for a piece to be considered Vermeil in the United States. Most high quality pieces are 14K,18K or 24K Vermeil depending on the thickness of the jewelry. The thickness of the Gold portion is what really sets Vermeil jewelry apart from simple Gold plated pieces.The thickness of the Gold portion must me a hefty 2.5 microns or above. If you want to build a collection of high quality jewelry without the high price point of solid Gold, then Gold Vermeil is a great option. Vermeil is durable but can become warn and abraded and need refinished if proper care isn't taken.
- Surgical Grade Stainless Steel is very affordable and the most durable all hypoallergenic metal available that doesn't corrode, tarnish or rust. Great for daily wear or those who are a bit rough on jewelry. Very popular in Men's Jewelry & fashion.