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Precious Metals - a brief intoduction

Articles about Jewelry

Gold, silver, and platinum are traditionally described as precious metals.

Fine Gold: Fine gold (pure gold) is known as 24-karat gold. It is very soft and rarely used for jewelry purposes. The melting point of 24-karat gold is 1945°F.

Karat Gold: Karat gold is a measure of fineness.
Fine gold is 24-karat gold.
18-karat gold: Fine gold is 18/24 of the total weight.
10-karat gold: It is 10/24 fine gold by weight.
Metals used in alloying fine gold are silver, copper, zinc, and nickel.



Colored Golds: The component metals used in various colored golds are as follows:
Yellow gold: gold, silver, copper, and small amount of zinc.
Green gold: gold, silver, copper, and small amount of copper.
White gold: gold, nickel, and small amount of zinc.
Red gold: gold, copper, and small amount of silver.

Platinum: Platinum is the hardest of precious materials.
This gray-colored inert metal is resistant to tarnishing. It is the most costly of the precious metals, partially due to its relative weight.
The melting point of platinum is over 2912 °F.

Fine Silver: Fine or pure silver is very soft and finds little use in handmade jewelry.
Fine silver melts at 1761°F.

Sterling Silver: Sterling silver is made of 925 parts pure silver and 75 parts base metal, which is usually copper. The melting point of sterling silver is 1640°F.

The word sterling came from the “Esterlings” which was the name of a band of traders in eastern Germany in twelfth century. These traders came from five free towns where the people made not only their own laws but also their own currency. In trading with English merchants they gave silver coins in payment. The English learned that coins, which were referred to as the coins of Easterlings, could be depended upon as containing 925/1000 fine silver. The original designation, Easterlings, was later abbreviated to sterling.

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