Circle of Love
The Precious Metals
James & Scott exchange their WRW wedding bands during their historic ceremony at the Marston House Formal Gardens, Balboa Park CA on June 21, 2008. Photo: Big Mike, San Diego CA
Lewis Barnes of Wedding Ring Workshop has provided the following information for couples to take into consideration as they select and create their own wedding bands: The Metals:
Precious metal jewelry is manufactured from three main families of metals: gold, platinum and silver.
Each karat is a weight measure of fine gold present in the alloy equivalent to 1/24th. There are numerous qualities local to areas such as Europe and the Far East. These include 8K, 9K, 10K, 20K and 21K, but there are only three hallmark qualities recognized internationally: 14K, 18K and 22K.
Gold: Yellow Gold White Gold Colored gold Platinum: Palladium Rhodium Platinum Alloys of Gold – Why Not Pure Gold?
Pure gold is too soft for “everyday” jewelry. It will bend quite easily and dent, scratch etc with very little pressure. So jewelers blend it with other metals (such as silver, copper, nickel and zinc) using a technique known as “alloying,“ giving it durability and wear-resistance.. The technique also allows jewelers to vary the color of the resulting alloy, giving a range of hues for yellow gold alloys and creating families of red, green and white gold alloys.
14K is 14/24ths or 58.3% fine gold by weight
18K is 18/24ths or 75%
22K is 22/24ths or 91.7% fine gold
In nature there exist only two true colored metals: gold and copper. All other metals are various shades of grey. Not only is gold a precious, inert and highly reflective metal, it also possesses a naturally beautiful yellow color that has captivated humankind for thousands of years. Are All Yellow Gold Alloys the Same Color?
The lustrous deep natural yellow color of gold is only possible when it is pure. It changes as other metals are mixed with it for strength and, sometimes, to meet the demands of a currently fashionable color.
The Karats of Gold
The different levels of gold found in alloys are measured in “karats.” (The word “karats” is derived from the time when gold was compared to a specific number of carob beans.)
If the alloy contains: · High percentage of copper = pink hue · High percentage of silver = gold with a greener shade of yellow · Equal amounts of copper or silver = gold that is “neutral yellow” · High percentage of nickel or palladium = white gold Do Karats Affect Colors?
As the karat level of an alloy is decreased, the yellow color is also decreased. However, when added to lower karat alloys of gold, silver and copper, zinc helps restore richness. 22 KARAT GOLD - This high karat metal, close to pure gold, has a desirable color but is too soft for use in jewelry, especially rings. RED, PINK & ROSE GOLD - All 3 of these high copper/silver/gold alloys have similar properties. Adding more copper to the alloy = reduction in percentage of silver, giving the metal a warm hue. WHITE GOLD - Regardless of karat, white gold alloys fall into two categories: those that use nickel to bleach the yellow gold, or those that use palladium. NICKEL ALLOYS - The majority of white gold jewelry in the US is manufactured using alloys containing nickel as the bleaching agent, because nickel has the strongest “bleaching power” in gold alloys. Nickel and gold do not mix together well, so rings are commonly plated with rhodium for a bright, silvery appearance. PALLADIUM ALLOYS - Palladium –a member of the platinum family- is also used to make white gold alloys, and plating of jewelry is not needed.