Metal & Hallmarking Guide
Choosing the right metal for your piece of jewellery is crucial to the design, feel, finish and price of each piece. With so many metals now on the market it can be a little overwhelming.
Platinum is very durable and takes a fine polish that is resistant to wear. It is naturally a greyish white and is often rhodium plated to make it even whiter. It requires a higher level of craftsmanship to work on.
Pure gold is yellow in colour but to satisfy the demand for white precious metals ‘white’ gold alloys can be produced by mixing yellow gold with naturally white precious metals such as palladium or silver, or non-precious ‘white’ metals to reduce the yellowness of the resulting alloy. White gold is routinely electroplated with Rhodium, a precious white metal which imparts a bright white finish. Depending on the level of wear, this finish wears off and white gold thus requires more care and maintenance to keep it bright. Consumers should bear in mind that their white gold jewellery may require re-plating at variable intervals.
Red or rose gold is created by increasing the amount of copper in the alloy. Introducing other metals (or removing them completely) can make other colours of gold, including unusual tones such as green and blue but these are not generally available.
Many people believe that due to its higher purity and the inherent relative softness of the pure metal, that 18ct gold is less durable than 9ct alloys. In fact, with modern alloy technology, there is little to support this belief. Today’s 18ct alloys are equally as durable as their 9ct equivalents and offer the additional benefits of tarnish and corrosion resistance, to say nothing of appealing to the consumer’s desire for a more pure and natural product.