Fine precious metal jewelry

Fine precious metal jewelry
Diamonds, gold, silver, platinum, and semi-precious gemstones...

Monday, August 28, 2006

precious metal : Precious metal status

A metal is deemed to be precious if it is rare. The discovery of new sources of ore or improvements in mining or refining processes may cause the value of a precious metal to diminish.

An interesting case of a once-precious metal that is now common is that of aluminium. Although aluminium is one of the most commonly occurring elements on Earth, it was initially found to be exceedingly difficult to extract from its various ores. This made aluminium more valuable than gold. Bars of aluminium were exhibited alongside the French crown jewels at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, and Napoleon III was said to have reserved a set of aluminum dinner plates for his most honored guests. Over time, however, the price of the metal gradually dropped; the discovery of the Hall-Héroult process in 1886 caused the high price of aluminium to permanently collapse.

The rarity of other precious metals may shift in the future; the supply deficit of silver - 300 million troy ounces (9 million kg) more silver are currently consumed per annum than are mined - may ultimately cause it to become rarer than gold.

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precious metal : Bullion

Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots, or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money. Many nations mint bullion coins, of which the most famous is probably the gold South African Krugerrand. Although nominally issued as legal tender, these coins' face value as currency is far below that of their value as bullion. For instance, the United States mints a gold bullion coin (the Gold Eagle) at a face value of $50 containing 1 troy ounce (31.1035 g) of gold — as of January 2006, this coin is worth about $550 as bullion. Bullion coins' minting by national governments gives them some numismatic value in addition to their bullion value, as well as certifying their purity. The level of purity varies from country to country, with some bullion coins of as pure as 99.99% available, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. Note that a 100% pure bullion is not possible, as absolute purity in extracted and refined metals can only be asymptotically approached.

One of the largest bullion coins in the world is the 10,000 dollar Australian Gold Nugget coin minted in Australia which consists of a full kilogram of 99.9% pure gold; however China has produced coins in very limited quantities (less than 20 pieces minted) that exceed 260 troy ounces (8 kg) of gold.

Gold as an investment and silver as an investment are often seen as a hedge against both inflation and economic downturn. Silver bullion coins have become popular with coin collectors due to their relative affordability, and unlike most gold and platinum issues which are valued based upon the markets, silver issues are more often valued as collectables, far higher than their actual bullion value.

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precious metal : Precious metal

A precious metal is a rare metallic chemical element of high economic value.

Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high luster, and have higher melting points than other metals. Historically, precious metals were important as currency, but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.

The best-known precious metals are gold and silver. While both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewelry, and coinage. Other precious metals include the Platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded. Plutonium and uranium could also be considered precious metals.

The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use, but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Palladium is, as of July 27 2006, valued ($312.501 USD per ounce) at a little under half the price of gold ($636.084 USD/ounce), and platinum ($1,229.00 USD/ounce) at around twice that of gold. Silver is substantially less expensive ($11.47 USD/ounce) than these metals, presently at 1/49 the price of gold, but is often traditionally considered a precious metal for its role in coinage and jewelry.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

precious metal : An Introduction To Platinum

People have always been fascinated with precious metals, and given their rarity, people have also put a lot of value on them. Some of the more common precious metals include gold, silver, copper, titanium and platinum. Among these metals, gold is the most popular given that it has been used for various purposes such as jewelry and for a time, the amount of gold that a country had was the measure of its wealth. In addition to this, the high value that people placed on gold is also because finding gold is very difficult as it has to be mined and it takes a huge amount of ore to produce a small quantity of gold. However, platinum, which is rarer than gold, is becoming very popular and it may be on its way in replacing gold as the precious metal of choice for jewelry.

Platinum Facts

The Ancient Egyptians discovered platinum 2,500 years ago, but throughout history, gold has been more popular. However, platinum is more rare and it is 60 percent more dense than gold, which makes it more valuable. An illustration of how rare this metal is that estimates show that if all the platinum that has been mined throughout history were compiled, it would only produce a cube that would measure 17 feet on each side, which is equivalent to less than 5,000 cubic feet. In addition to this, a typical 6-inch cube of platinum would weigh about 165 pounds. It also usually takes up to ten tons of ore just to produce one once of platinum, which is twice of what is needed to produce the same amount of gold.

Platinum Jewelry

Given that platinum is considered more valuable, it has become the preferred option for use in jewelry. Apart from its value, platinum has also become the preferred choice for certain types of jewelry, specifically diamond jewelry because its white color perfectly matches with diamonds. Platinum has also been proven to be stronger than gold and it has also been proven to be tarnish resistant. Given these facts, platinum has now been considered the metal equivalent of diamonds as it is said to last forever. Apart from this, platinum has also been considered the ideal choice for people with sensitive skin because the metals that platinum is alloyed with are mostly hypoallergenic. Due to all of these factors, many people have been reconsidering platinum, and it is now also considered a worthy investment, as well.

By Damian Sofsian

precious metal : Men's Silver Rings

Men's silver rings are rinngs that are intended to be worn by men and that are either made entirely of or are coated with silver or a silver-colored metal. Earlier, jewelry was associated only with women but today, men's jewelry has come to occupy a prominent place in the fashion world. Men's silver rings available in a graceful blend of modern and masculine designs now rule the market.

Designed by highly skilled artists, men's silver rings come with copper and bronze inlays, or with significant messages engraved on them. Intricate and elaborately designed rings are also available. Men's silver rings are the perfect complement for both formal and informal wear.

Men's silver rings come in different eye-catching models, sizes, and shapes to meet the taste of all generations. Some of the prominent models are captive rings, LT blue millefiori marquise rings, stingray rings, and multi CLR millefiori marquise rings. Men's silver rings are also ornamented with birthstones and precious stones such as diamond, ruby, emerald, black onyx, lapis lazuli, and turquoise.

Men's silver rings are available at affordable prices and are ideal gifts for graduation, father's day, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, birthdays, and as tokens of love. For special occasions like wedding, designer rings and rings with name engraved are also available.

By Max Bellamy

precious metal : My Gold Jewellery

As I write gold is worth about $630 US an ounce. Since August 2005 the price of gold has risen from $447 US which represents a whopping 43% increase.

So yes, your jewellery must be worth a little more if it is made of gold. Silver too has increased a good deal. However, don’t forget that the gold in your jewellery is made from an alloy of gold. That means that other, usually less costly metals, are mixed in with the pure gold to make its carat.

Chinese people like to buy jewellery made from 24 carat gold and some folks from the Arabic counties prefer 22 carat gold, but the rest of the world likes 9 carat which is the most used in Australia and a good deal in England, 14 carat and 18 carat which is used in the USA and Europe.

Let’s have a look at the factors that are important to the price of your jewellery. If your gold jewellery is made from nine carat yellow gold then it only has 37.5 percent gold in it, if it is 14 carat then it only has 58.5 percent real gold in it.

Now understand that an average ladies ring might have 2.5 grams of gold in it and at current retail rates that gold content might be worth say, $30 per gram. So if gold went up a further 50% then the gold in your ring won’t go up 50% because it is an alloy and not pure gold, and there is only a small bit of gold in the ring so your $600 ring might be worth another $30 or so.

Jewellery is priced on not just the cost of the gold content and the cost of even the precious stones but also the difficulty to manufacture it, and the design and the brand name of the manufacturer.

by Gary Hocking

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

precious metal : Investing In Precious Metals

Despite the fluctuating trade price of precious metals, a lot of investors have seen and probably even experienced the stability and assurance that precious metals have in the commodity market. Through the years, the price of precious metals has been steadily increasing despite the notion that their prices might decrease due to new discoveries in mining and separating them from less expensive metals. Yet the appeal of investing in precious metals has remained constant and intense despite fluctuating prices.

Bullions are the only accepted form for precious metals that can be traded in commodity markets. Many countries mint bullions coins which vary in trade price. Bullion coins are normally issued as legal tender and their face value as local currency is actually far below than their value as bullions. The United States mints a gold bullion coin with a face value of $50.00 but containing one troy ounce of gold and as of 2006 is worth the same price that gold trades in the market. Bullions also come is different purities, some bullions are actually 99.99% pure just as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. Australia has one of the largest bullions coins in the world which costs $10,000.00 which is actually a kilogram of 99.99% pure gold. Yet China remains to have the largest bullions that exceed 260 troy ounces or approximately 8 kilograms of gold. These, however, are in very limited quantities of less than 20.

Silver bullions are also gaining popularity among coin collectors and investors alike due to their affordability and market value price. They are valued more than collectibles rather than for their actual bullion value.

Investing in precious metals has been deemed as a hedge against inflation and economic turmoil. They have also demonstrated the ability to retain their value despite the hardest economic difficulties and have proven their worth even in times of deep economic uncertainty.

By Elizabeth Morgan

precious metal : Platinum Jewelry

Jewelry that is made out of platinum belongs to the same category of some of the more expensive types of jewelry in the market because platinum is one of the most valuable metals in the world. Given this, a person who may want to buy platinum jewelry can expect to pay more than what he would be paying for if he wanted to buy other types of jewelry such as gold jewelry. However, if you really want to buy platinum jewelry, a good source of some of the best prices is the Internet. This is because the Internet not only provides a wide selection, but also offers some of the best deals on platinum jewelry due to the fierce competition among jewelers online.

Shopping for Platinum Jewelry Online

Before going to the Web sites of different jewelers, it would also be a good idea for you to do some research on the type of jewelry that you want. This is because the information that you would get would help you know what to look for and what to expect in the market. A simple search on the Internet for platinum jewelry can lead you to some facts that would help you know as much about platinum as you need.

Some Platinum Jewelry Facts

Apart from its price, platinum jewelry is also known for a number of characteristics that it has. One of these is that you can expect that platinum jewelry is about 60 percent heavier than gold and that most platinum jewelry are made out of 90 percent platinum, as platinum needs to be alloyed with other metals. Platinum is also known to be hypoallergenic, which is good especially for people with sensitive skin. These types of jewelry are also known to be more durable and tougher than other types of jewelry, and cleaning them can be very simple, as you may only need mild soap and water. Lastly, platinum can also be adorned with other metals or precious stones; the most popular among which are diamonds as the color of platinum blends perfectly well with them.

precious metal : Gold Rings

Men's gold rings are those rings for any of the fingers that are either solid gold or plated with gold, or, in some case, coated with a metallic substance that looks very similar to gold. Men's gold rings have now become one of the widely used jewelry items for men, and they are obtained in a wide variety of designs and styles. Migraine, domed, and comfort fit are included in styles. Gold rings with engraved initials on the ring face are hot favorites.

Men?s gold rings are available as plain rings or rings with diamonds. They also come with precious and semi precious gemstones. Colored and colorless gemstones are available. Some of the common gemstones are emerald, sapphire, tanzanite, ruby, opal, blue zircon, and topaz. Men also prefer gold rings with their birthstones.

Men's gold rings are simpler in appearance and larger in size when compared to gold rings used by women. As the taste and choice of men vary, even intricate and elaborate designed rings are preferred. These gold rings can be of white or yellow gold. The cost depends mainly on the weight of gold measured in terms of karats.

Traditionally, people use gold rings as wedding and engagement rings. Gold was the precious metal first used in men's wedding rings, when such rings gained popularity during World War II. In wedding rings, the gold generally used is 9, 14, or 18 karats. The engagement rings of men have slight embellishments and usually have a stone in the middle.

In general, men's gold rings are perfect choices for anniversaries, weddings, engagements, and other special occasions.

By Max Bellamy

Monday, August 14, 2006

precious metal : The Indus Valley Civilizations part 2

The Indus civilizations were ethnically diverse incorporating many cultures and creeds. Many terracotta, bronze and stone figurines found at the Indus sites display a variety of different styles of clothing, headdresses and ornamentation indicating a multi-ethnic civilization. Some of the figurines were adorned with multiple chokers and necklaces, which appear to represent beaded ornaments of gold, silver, and semi-precious gems. The complex ‘Cire Perdue’ casting technique, meaning ‘Lost-wax,’ was employed in the production of the metallic figures pointing towards a culture of knowledgeable and sophisticated metallurgists.

Further excavations of Mohenjo-daro’s lower levels revealed the living quarters of metal workers, specializing in the production of copper and bronze implements and weapons. Flat axes, spears, knives, arrowheads, chisels, saws and razors were caste in smelting furnaces then simply hammered into shape. Silver, reserved for smaller precious metal objects, was smelted and molded into small vases, vessels, seals, pendants, and brooches. Other crafts in the city included the manufacturing of beads made in a variety of different shells, ivory and semi precious gem types such as alabaster, lapis lazuli and turquoise from Persia, amethyst from Maharashtra, and jade from Central Asia.

By 2000 B.C. the Indus valley civilizations were disappearing due to internal decline. The eventual demise of the Indus Valley Civilization came about in 1500 B.C., with Aryan invaders from the north firstly destroying the outlying villages, and then overrunning the cities of Harappan and Mohenjo-daro. The Indus civilization with their highly advanced knowledge of process metallurgy, gem cutting and jewelry production were eventually pushed further south into India where they created a legacy of fine arts for which India today is known the world over. By the third century B.C., after the reign of Buddhist emperor Ashoka, India was mining its own extensive gemstone resources, and had become the world’s leading exporter of precious metal and semi-precious gemstones.

By David-John Turner

precious metal : The Indus Valley Civilizations part 1

In the majority of Neolithic India, as in most parts of the world at that time, people fashioned jewelry out of seeds, feathers, berries, flowers, bones and shells. But in the north of India, in the Indus valley cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappan, men and women were already wearing jewelry made of gold, silver, copper and set with precious metal and semi-precious gemstones.

The Indus valley civilization, preceding the Vedic, existed from 3000 B.C. to 1500 B.C., and was built in and amongst the fertile lands of what is known today as Pakistan. The Neolithic Indus valley people like others, domesticated animals and harvested crops of cotton, sesame and barley. Contrary to the belief that India only possessed an agricultural economy in this period, evidence has been found at the Indus cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappan, showing the people as having been sophisticated urbanites whose cities were bastions to art and culture.

The brick cities, acting as focal points for a kind of centralized state, towered high above the Indus plains and were established along important trade routes that connected the ‘Far East’ with the ‘Near East’. They were visible for large distances, a landmark to the prosperity of their rulers, inhabited by generations of merchant classes, skilled artisans, farmers and sea-faring adventurers engaged in extensive trading.

Proof of the Indus people’s impact on Neolithic trade was found when archaeologists excavating Mohenjo-daro and Harappan found engraved seals written in cuneiform, the world’s first written language whose origins lay in Mesopotamia in the Near East. The seals, describing the contents of sacks, were used to close bundles of merchandise as cord marks on the reverse side testify. Other similar seals were found in ports on the Persian Gulf near modern Bahrain, and amongst Mesopotamian sites at the city of Ur.

The seals originating from the Indus sites described cargos of textiles, and luxury goods such as semi precious gemstones, ivory, carnelian beads, pearls, mother of pearl and jade sent to Persia and Mesopotamia in exchange for gold, silver, tin, copper, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Bitumen from Mesopotamia, where it occured naturally, was also imported and used as the binding glue in mother of pearl inlay in precious metal items of jewelry and ornamentation. These products and their seals found in various Indus archeological sites bare testament to the presence of foreign traders living amongst the Indus people.

By David-John Turner

precious metal : Jason And The Fleece

Jason’s crew of Argonauts included Castor and Pollux, the brothers of the ill-fated Helen of Troy, and Armenos the first Armenian. Their quest was to capture the Fleece, which was the only payment Jason could use to win back his kingdom from his evil uncle Pelias. The Fleece was rumored to hang from an oak tree near the river Phasis, south of the Caucasus Mountains, in the Colchis region located along the eastern shores of the Black Sea. Jason’s infamous adventures at the mercy of gods and monsters in search of silver and gold riches makes a compelling story, but it is only a window on an even more fascinating truth at the root of the legend.

Around 9500 to 9000 B.C., the world’s climate changed, warming up and signalling the end of the last ‘Ice Age.’ This marked the beginning of the Neolithic period and the rise, although evolving at different times throughout the world, of organized communities. Neolithic communities domesticated livestock, irrigated land, and learnt process metallurgy, refining iron, copper, electrum, gold and silver into weapons, ornaments and items of jewelry.

Through archeology, it has been possible to document that the cradle of the first really organized Neolithic civilizations stretched out over an area from Anatolia in western Turkey, to the Arabian Gulf in the south and east, and the outer fertile ridge that stretched over the Caucasus Mountains to the north. Indeed, much of the gold, silver, electrum, tin and copper used in ancient rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets found throughout this area have been traced to alluvial deposits of rivers and streams that run through the Caucasus Mountains.

For the most part during this time metals used for jewelry were extracted from alluvial deposits, which is where silt-laden water from rainfall collects in rivers and streams after flowing over and eroding the rocks of surrounding hills and mountains. Most methods of searching out precious metals for jewelry depended on the human eye to pick out the gold and silver particles, but because the silver and gold particles were very small they were often washed away. An alternative method for extracting precious metals from these deposits was found by using the fleece of a sheep.

This was done by pouring the silver, gold and electrum bearing gravel over the woolen fleece. The lighter sand and rock particles washed away over the wool, but the heavier precious metal particles sunk into the wool fibers sticking to the lanolin, a naturally occurring oil that coats the wool. The gold and silver-bearing fleece was then hung on a branch and left to dry in the sun, after which it was burned in a high-temperature fire. The silver, gold and electrum particles melted, dropping to the bottom of the fire and after the fire was burnt out the metals were separated from the ashes.

This method was so successful it was used up until the 1930’s to extract silver, gold and electrum from the Paktolas River in Anatolia, famous for King Midas’ jewelry treasures and the minting of the worlds first coins used in monetary circulation: the Lydian Trite.

By David-John Turner

Thursday, August 10, 2006

precious metal : How to Choose the Perfect Precious Metal

Which is the ideal metal for your engagement ring ?

Besides traditional gold , other precious metals available include silver, platinum and titanium.

Here are the pros and cons of each precious metal.

Gold by nature is yellow and is soft. It is mixed with other metals to form an alloy making it stronger. Gold in pure form is known as 24 karat gold. 18 K gold means 18 parts gold and the rest of the 6 parts come from another precious metal.

Gold is also alloyed with other metals to create different colors of gold. Adding copper to gold gives you rose gold. Adding silver to gold gives it an appearance of green color. Adding nickel or Palladium turns yellow gold to white gold. Your gold jewelry can also be made using a combination of two or more colors. They are called two toned or three tone gold.

Higher content of gold in yellow gold makes the metal more yellow than yellow gold with lower gold content. Similarly, 18K rose gold gives a more subtle rose color compared to 9 K rose gold which has a darker rose color. The color of both yellow gold and rose gold will not chip or fade away with age.

People have prefer white gold to yellow gold because diamonds match better with white gold. It is cheaper than platinum.However some people develop allergies due to the presence of nickel.Actually, the color of white gold is light grey but it is coated with a layer of rhodium. Rhodium is very white and very hard but eventually the coating wears off. You need to go for re-coating of Rhodium every one and a half years to keep it shining white.

Silver is a white grey metal which is softer than gold, platinum and titanium. It is best used for jewelry that is worn only occasionally. I would not recommend it for use as an engagement ring or wedding ring. Silver also turns blackish in color due to its tendency to oxidise easily.

Platinum - this is a very interesting metal because it is rarer than gold . It is 60% denser than gold and is white in color which matches diamonds. The advantages of platinum are that it is stronger than gold and is resistant to tarnish.

This precious metal has a long history. The ancient Egyptians used it 2,500 years ago. Platinum does not wear away as a result of wear and tear unlike gold. It simply forms a furrow that pushes the metal to the sides. Platinum is hypoallergenic. The platinum jewelry is almost pure platinum with 5-10 % of metals such as Iridium, palladium, Ruthenium or Cobalt.

The most slender section of platinum permanently retain their shape and providing a secure setting for diamonds. This is known as tension setting diamond jewelry. This means the diamond in the setting is held in place only by the tensile strength of the platinum metal.

Titanium is also getting popular because of its incredible strength and lightness. Titanium is silver gray in color and is 3 times stronger than steel and much stronger than gold , silver and platinum.

Titanium can be available in different colors such blue, purple, bluemoon, night sky, black rainbow, solar ash and sunburst colors besides the natural titanium color. You get the color effect through the process of oxidation of titanium. Even though titanium is very strong and highly scratch resistant the layer of colored titanium can be scratched. The good news you can re-oxidise the ring and the color looks like new again.

Pure titanium is also 100% hypoallergenic . Another selling point of titanium is that it is more scratch resistant compared to gold, platinum and silver. However a ring made from titanium cannot be resized because it is so hard. Therefore, if you intend to get a titanium engagement ring make sure it fits your finger well otherwise you will be stuck with a ring you find uncomfortable for wearing.

By Ian Tham

precious metal : Buying Quality Gold, Platinum, and Titanium

Everything You Need to Know About Buying Quality Jewelry Online

Gold, platinum and titanium are among the most coveted precious metals in the world. Jewelry crafted out of these pure substances is often highly valued and sought out by savvy consumers the world over. Learn everything you need to know about selecting quality pieces right here!

Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry is perhaps the most traditional form of quality jewelry worn by men and women alike in every culture and society of the world. Gold has been used to fashion attractive pieces for centuries. Many historians believe that gold was used as far back as pre-historic times by man as a tool. Later gold jewelry was first discovered dating to around 3000 BC. Gold first became widely used by the Egyptians, who combined gold with other precious metals to achieve varying looks, colors and durability.

So what do you need to know about buying gold? Let's start with the basics. Most gold is assessed via its weight or karats.

14k Gold - 14k gold jewelry is made up of 58.5% gold mixed with copper and nickel among other things. It is the most popular karat of gold purchased the world over, and is known for its affordability and durability.

18k Gold - 18k gold jewelry is popular particularly in Europe. Most 18k gold jewelry is made from 75% pure gold. Most premium jewelry is made with 18 k, which is only slightly more expensive than 14 k gold.

22-24k Gold - 22 and 24 karat gold jewelry is usually considered the most valuable, and is very popular among elite gold shoppers. This form of gold is the most pure, consisting of almost 199% gold. Generally 22 and 24 karat gold products have a richer color than other gold jewelry.

Is one better than the other? The more pure the gold, the softer the jewelry will be and the more likely to scratch. Fine scratches are easily minimized however with proper care and cleaning over time. Quality is more related to craftsmanship than the actual percentage of gold in a particular piece of jewelry. When deciding on a piece that's right for you - you'll want to look for things like symmetry, overall appearance and finishing.

One of the best things about gold jewelry is it is available in both yellow and white. White gold is becoming increasingly popular though it is only available in 14 or 18 k styles. White gold jewelry is often plated with a platinum metal to help give its unique color.

Black Hills Gold

Black Hills gold is extremely popular among gold enthusiasts. Black Hills Gold is named not only after the style but also location the gold jewelry is fashioned in. Legend has it that a French goldsmith became lost during the gold rush of the mid 1870s in the Black Hills of South Dakota. During a dream, he believed he had seen a mountain stream with grape vines; upon awakening, he walked over to find the very scene he dreamed about, and in gratitude decided to devote his life to creating gold jewelry in the shape of grape leaves and clusters fashioned out of gold.

Black Hills Gold jewelry is a particular style of jewelry that must be manufactured in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This gold jewelry is often combined with silver and copper to create green and rose leaved color combinations. Most Black Hills Gold is available in 10, 12 and 14k versions. This makes Black Hills gold extremely popular among jewelry fans looking for attractive yet very affordable gold jewelry.

Platinum & Titanium Jewelry

Platinum and titanium jewelry are among the most expensive jewelry items, in part because they are crafted of white metals. Platinum jewelry is often very heavy and dense as is most titanium jewelry. Platinum jewelry is much heavier than gold jewelry because of the density of the metal used to craft it. Titanium is actually really light. It's only 60% heavier than aluminum and 45% lighter than steel! Platinum jewelry and titanium jewelry are also naturally white or silver, thus do not have to be combined with other metals to achieve a brilliant whitish sheen.

Most platinum jewelry is 90% pure or more, thus platinum jewelry is an exceptional selection for consumers who are allergic or who have sensitive skin. Gold jewelry might cause allergic reactions in people in part because it is mixed with other substances such as nickel, which can be irritating for some people.

Platinum and titanium jewelry usually will hold up well over time and require little maintenance, other than regular cleanings using a mild soap or cleaning agent. Titanium jewelry is in fact considered one of the most durable jewelry selections available, showing few if any signs of wear and tear over the years.

Both platinum and titanium jewelry can be fashioned with gold or silver inlays or adorned with stones. Platinum jewelry is often a popular choice for wedding and engagement bands. Titanium jewelry is slowly becoming more popular as its appeal and durability is more widely known. You can find platinum jewelry and titanium jewelry that is affordable. Most unadorned bands generally can range anywhere from $60 on up. Remember that in general, intricate and ornate platinum or titanium pieces are more expensive than their gold counterparts, and it isn't uncommon to see pieces that cost up to several thousand dollars.

You can find virtually any type of jewelry in platinum and titanium that you can in gold. Most people select one or the other based on style or budgetary considerations. Gold can actually be combined with platinum or titanium to produce unique custom pieces. The most popular platinum and titanium pieces remain rings for the most part; gold jewelry is still the reigning king and favorite it seems among jewelry wearers looking for a combination of rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. That may change with time however, as more and more consumers realize the appeal and durability of other precious metals including platinum and titanium.

By Antigone Arthur

precious metal : Sterling Silver

History of Sterling Silver

Silver jewelry has been a staple in the lives of mankind since humans discovered the versatility of silver and the many uses it has. Silver has been used for functional and aesthetic purposes. In times of old, silver was used to create flatware and armor to protect soldiers on their way into battle. Silver jewelry was later created and used by Phoenician and Egyptian citizens desiring attractive and convenient pieces to add to their jewelry collections. Over time silver has been used to create flatware, decorative art, coins, dental fillings, jewelry and more.

Silver is produced in many different areas, though the highest concentrations of silver output come from Mexico and Peru.

One of the reasons sterling silver jewelry is so popular is its affordability and versatility. Sterling silver can be crafted into many different jewelry items including charms, rings and chains. Silver jewelry is often mistaken for other more precious metals including white gold and platinum.

Common Types of Silver

There are many different types of silver that can be used to create sterling silver jewelry. Silver is considered one of the precious metals along with its cousins gold, platinum and titanium.

Fine Silver - this is silver in its most natural state, when it is considered 99% pure. Often this type of silver is too soft to create ordinary products and is almost liquid in form. Usually silver has to be mixed with other metal alloys in order to create jewelry and household wear.

Sterling Silver - sterling is a mixture of fine silver and other metal alloys. The silver is considered about 92.5% pure. Sterling is usually combined with approximately 7.5% copper to make the jewelry more long lasting and durable. Sterling silver jewelry is usually marked on the inside with a "925", indicative of its purity. Sterling silver jewelry made of just the right combination of silver and metal allows a jeweler to create a long lasting, durable piece that is shiny and brilliant enough to be mistaken for more expensive precious metals. Sterling silver is more likely to tarnish over time because of the presence of copper; however this relatively mild side effect can be minimized through proper care. By consistently cleaning your silver jewelry you'll never even notice anything other than a beautiful shine and luster.

Silver Plating - plating occurs when a base metal such as nickel is covered with a layer of pure silver. This is often one of the most durable forms of silver, and is usually much less expensive than sterling silver because the percentage of pure silver in the jewelry is quite low. Most base metals need a re-coat of pure silver every few years to maintain a shiny outer coat and to prevent the base metal from peaking through the coating.

Nickel Silver - nickel silver is a combination of nickel, copper and zinc that is not actually silver, but resembles silver. It is an inexpensive and popular item that can be used to create look-alike jewelry.

Vermeil - this form of silver was popular in the eighteenth century. Silver is plated in gold, providing a polished and expensive looking custom piece of jewelry.

Caring for Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry does have a tendency to scratch more often than other metals, and may tarnish over time. Proper care can ensure however that the jewelry remains shiny and well kept. The following tips will ensure that your sterling silver lasts a long time and maintains its luster and original appearance:

Sterling silver jewelry should be stored in a cool dry place to reduce environmental damage.
Consider keeping each piece in an individual cloth pouch to prevent scratching.
Use a jewelry cleaner or polishing solution at least once a month to clean the surface of silver jewelry to help maintain its luster.
Use a soft cloth to clean silver; never use a toothbrush or other abrasive material that might result in scratching.
Clean silver at the first signs of tarnishing, when a yellowish tint appears on the jewelry. If you wait until the silver has turned black, you'll have to scrub harder and may damage the shine on the jewelry.
Consider using chemical dipping agents which clean jewelry without scrubbing.
Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia which can also turn silver jewelry black, consider soapy water instead.

Sterling silver is a popular item in part because it is more reflective than many precious metals. Proper care will ensure that silver jewelry remains beautiful for years to come. If you have other items in the house made of silver, such as silver wear or other household items, always use a cleaner or dip specifically designed to clean silver metal. Never put these items in a dishwasher, because you will scratch the surface and cause irreparable damage.

Purchasing Silver

When buying silver jewelry, you should be prepared to take your time to select quality pieces, just as you would if selecting a more expensive jewelry item. Young consumers are often attracted to sterling silver jewelry because it is so affordable and beautiful. Sterling silver also comes in many contemporary and modern designs which are appealing to young consumers.

So what should you look for when shopping? First and foremost always check the interior for the 925 mark, to ensure that you are purchasing premium sterling silver rather than sterling silver plating. Keep in mind that the more pure the silver, the more soft and likely that a piece will scratch, so don't go for anything more pure than sterling silver.

If you are looking to buy many different pieces, you might consider buying wholesale silver jewelry online. By doing so you'll be able to buy in bulk, and acquire large amounts of silver jewelry at inexpensive prices. Many jewelers and home business owners get into the habit of buying wholesale silver jewelry online because they can re-sell the merchandise at a higher price. There are hundreds of pieces to choose from, and you might even find a collection with a certain theme that appeals to you or the people you might be selling to.

Whey buying for yourself you should ensure you know what size jewelry you need if buying a ring. You might consider buying complete sets that include ring, bracelet and charm. Sets are very popular options for consumers purchasing sterling silver jewelry.

Silver is an exceptional choice for consumers looking for fine jewelry that is precious, attractive and inexpensive. From the dawn of time, mankind has invested in silver for practical and aesthetic purposes. If you haven't already, I highly recommend investing in a little silver.

By Antigone Arthur

how to clean or remove dirt your precious metal

Any precious metal may need cleaning now and then to remove dirt, soil, or soap film, as may gems. There are, in general, four methods of cleaning jewelry. Although all are safe for cleaning precious metal and diamonds, all are not interchangeable and safe for all kinds of jewelry. These are the methods most commonly suggested and used, but be sure to read further for the exceptions and for the precautions you should take with specific metals and gems.

-Detergents Bath.

Mix a mild detergent and warm water in a small bowl or cup. Immerse the jewelry, brushing the pieces with an eyebrow brush. Rinse the jewelry under warm running water, being sure to put the jewelry into a tea strainer or cheesecloth for safety’s sake. Pat dry with lintels cloth. Do not use for soft gems or foe any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

- Cold water soak.

In a cup or bowl, combine half cold water and half household ammonia. Put the precious metal in and soak for 30 minutes. Do not leave it overnight or for a long period of time. After 30 minutes, remove the precious metal and gently clean the front and back of the setting, if necessary, with an eyebrow brush before swishing the precious metal in the solution again and draining it dry on tissue. Do not use soft gems or any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

- Quick dip.

Commercial precious metal or jewelry cleaners generally employ the quick dip method. Since cleaners vary, you should read instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Do not use cleaners on nay jewelry not specifically mentioned unless you check with a jeweler first.

- Ultrasonic cleaners.

You will find several of these small machines on the market. In general, the principle is that of using high frequency turbulence to clean jewelry soaking in a metal cup of water and detergent. Again, be sure to read and follow the directions with the utmost care and do not use the machine on any jewelry not specifically mentioned. Not all jeweler, feel these machine are safe even for diamonds. Before buying one, therefore, be sure to check with your jeweler and get his advice.

Protection of precious metal

First of all, think about what you do when wearing precious metal or jewelry. Rings are good example of how common sense can prevent loss.

More Rings are probably lost through carelessness than any other type of precious metal, because they are more apt to be taken off when being worn than pins or necklaces, bracelets or even earrings. So, Precaution Number One, if you wear rings, is to wear them at all times, or be careful with them as you are with your money and credit cards.

Men and women, incidentally, tend to regard rings differently.

- Storing and cleaning precious metal

When you take precious metal off, all jewelry and not only rings, what do you do with it? First, you should have a good and safe place for it. Second, that place should keep the precious metal safe not only from loss but also from damage.

The worst place you can put it is in a jewelry box already filled with other jewelry all jumbled together, where it can become scratched or more seriously hurt. The best place you can put jewelry is in individual leather or cloth cases or bags that will protect each piece from being damaged by other pieces of precious metal or jewelry. If you do not have separate boxes from the jeweler for each piece of jewelry, at least put each piece in an individual case of some kind and do not drop it casually into a jewelry box.

In most cases, a plastic bag is a good substitute for leather or cloth. Plastic, however, should never be used with pearls, opals, and ivory, which need air to retain their beauty. Plastic, nevertheless, does have an advantage for other jewelry in that you can easily see the piece of jewelry that is in the bag. This method, incidentally, is also good for costume jewelry, which can be scratched as easily, if not more so, than precious jewelry.

Cleaning is also important in retaining and restoring the beauty and luster of jewelry with and without gems. Even gold can discolor from soaps and perspiration. Silver can be especially prone to tarnish, although almost all American sterling silver jewelry is coated with rhodium, an element of platinum, to prevent tarnishing. Any other silver that is worn all the time rarely needs polishing either, since wear retards tarnish. It still may need cleaning, though.

How to Buy Fine Precious Metal Online

Nothing more personal than our response to color. Color is the new Language of passion, and nothing captures it better than distinctively styled jewelry. Leave her speechless with our brilliant colorless and fancy colored diamond or bold brilliant gemstone jewelry styles.
The second rule in buying jewelry sounds simple. It is to expect to pay for what you get, and to get what you pay for.

Simple as that sounds, unfortunately, buying jewelry is not simple. Knowing what to look for in jewelry can and may help protect one from being cheated, but the primary protection is not to listen to the larceny in your soul. Human nature may be such that everyone wants something for nothing, especially expensive “something.” Yet, getting fine jewelry, such as karat gold and diamonds of top clarity, color, cut, and size, for next to nothing is impossible. Nobody “gives away” such valuable items, or any other valuable item, out of the goodness of his heart or because you have an appealing face.

To go back to cars and furs. No one interested in buying such a car could mistake a Cadillac for a Rolls-Royce. Anyone interested in furs can learn about them, but all that glitters is not gold, or platinum or silver. All that is diamond-bright is not a diamond. And all that is ruby-red is not a ruby. What the jewelry may actually be is the most difficult knowledge to get or learn of all luxury purchases, in that what we see is not always what it seems to be.

The only way to be absolutely sure of what you buy is to buy it from a reliable and reputable jeweler who stands behind what he sells. That way, if the jewelry turns out to be different from what it was sold as, the jeweler will refund your money or replace the jewelry for the sake of his reputation.

There may be times when you do not know a reliable jeweler, when you may be tempted to buy because of jewelry you see in a store, window, or online store, or when you want to buy jewelry away from home. In those instances, and there are probably others, you want to know what to look for and what to ask. Those considerations hold for both precious metals and gems.

Precious Metal

In United States and other countries, laws require the quality standard to be marked or stamped on precious metal. Do not take everyone’s word that a jewelry is “solid gold,” “pure gold,” or “genuine gold,” or that is sterling silver or any other kind of silver. What one need to see and see for yourself is the quality standard marking, even if you need a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass to do so.

Standards of what can be called gold vary tremendously around the world, and that is another reason for insisting on seeing the quality marking. The U. S. minimum is 10 Karat, with lesser quantities considered to contain too little gold to retain the characteristics of real gold.

In short, just calling an item “gold” tells nothing. The metal should be marked as follows:

22 Karat or 0.916
18 Karat or 0.750
14 Karat or 0.585
10 Karat or 0.417

Silver jewelry standards are universal in comparison to gold. Sterling is marked “sterling” or 0.925. Other marking may also be found, such as 0.800, which is used for some jewelry in some countries. This jewelry may not be sterling, but it still can be beautiful, as long as you know what you are getting.

Hallmark may be used as well. In the United States, a hallmark is the stamp or mark of the manufacturer of the jewelry. On general, however, marks and symbols are signs of quality. Most countries that use them have stiff penalties for their misuse.

One should look at the jewelry just as carefully for other tests of quality. First, rub the jewelry hard with your thumb. The base metal will show through jewelry that is thinly electroplated. At the same time, check for any rough edges. Most better gold jewelry is cast with lost wax method, which leaves no casting marks.

Less expensive jewelry may be more cheaply cast or stamped, leaving the marks of the mold or stamping that have to be filed off afterwards. Anytime there are rough edges or bumps, double check the quality of markings. Fine precious metals are too expensive to be used in any except the most finely made jewelry. If you like the jewelry anyway and the price is so inexpensive (anther indication that it may not be a precious metal) that you feel you can afford to take a chance, go ahead. Otherwise, back off and do not buy that jewelry item.

The article above can be used on your web site or newsletter. When it is published, may I request that you include my name and resource box (the bio, contact and copyright information) that follows the article. I would also appreciate if you could send me an email of notification along with a complimentary copy of the publication. Copyright 2005 Bijan Aziz.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

care and cleaning guide for your precious metal

How to care and protect precious metal?

If your precious metal has value to you, it is valuable enough for you to want to take care of it. Precious metal care means being careful you do no lose it as well as being careful how you store and clean it.

When you buy precious metal, any precious metal or jewelry, from the most expensive fine precious metal to inexpensive costume jewelry, you buy it because it is beautiful. The gleam of the metal and the shine or luster and fire of the gems appeal to your aesthetic sense of beauty, based on what you can afford. The better the jewelry, the longer you want to wear it, perhaps even for rest of your life, and the longer you want it to have that like new glow, although some metals and finishes attain a warm patina with wear. What you don’t want, however, is scratched or gouged settings and dull gems. Accidents can happen, but all too often the precious metal or jewelry is damaged by carelessness or not taking the few moments necessary to tend to the jewelry.

In most cases, being careful is the only care precious metal needs. Some types of precious metal, nevertheless, need special care because the gems may be soft, absorbent, or fragile.

Keep in mind that the harder the gem and the higher it is on the Mohs scale of hardness, the more durable it generally is. At time, a hard gem with high or distinct cleavage is apt to be fragile and may break or cleave if it is struck at the right angle. Hardness therefore is not synonymous with toughness. A tough gem may be soft enough to be more easily scratched but it is less apt to break or shatter. These characteristics have pertinence in wearing, cleaning, and storing jewelry, and in remodeling.

Metals have similar characteristic. The purer the silver and gold, the more easily it can be damaged. Also, you must consider the combination of metal in settings with gem or gems. What may be perfectly good to clean a metal, such as sterling silver, may not be the best for the gems. You have to consider the jewelry as a whole, not as simply metal or gems.

These point are tied in with the third point: the care you take with your jewelry to protect it from loss, both when you are wearing it and when you put it away for safekeeping. All the care in cleaning and storing will not matter if you lose the jewelry.

The care you should take in this sense involves the precautions you would take to make sure you do not lose something you like and enjoy. That common sense, and it is common sense whether or not the jewelry is insured, and whether or not it is valuable. The precautions you should take with any jewelry that you like and that means anything to you, in fact, are simple common sense.