Shining the Spotlight on Precious Metals

When deciding on which precious metal is right for you and your jewelry, remember, beauty is more than skin deep. Each metal has its own unique properties and characteristics. Your lifestyle, your budget, and any possible sensitivity issues are important considerations. Our experts are happy to help you find which precious metal works best for you.


Although platinum is at the top of the price range for precious metals, it continues to be an extremely popular choice.

Platinum is naturally white, durable, and heavy (compared to other precious metals). Like gold, it’s mixed with other metals, but platinum’s quality markings are based on parts per thousand. For example, the marking “900 Platinum” means that 900 parts out of 1000 are pure platinum; in other words, the item is 90% platinum and 10% other metals. The abbreviations for platinum — Plat. or Pt. — also can be used in marking jewelry.


Popular metal trends for fine jewelry come and go, but gold’s versatility always keeps it near or at the top of the list.

There are many different types from which to choose. “Pure” gold – gold not mixed with other metals to increase its hardness – is called 24 karat (24K) gold. The karat quality marking tells you what proportion of gold is mixed with the other (alloy) metals. For example, 14 karat (14K) jewelry contains 14 parts of gold, mixed with 10 parts of an alloy metal. To make white gold, yellow gold is plated with a silvery white alloy such as nickel or rhodium. If not re-plated, white gold can lose its silvery appearance. Rose gold, which has seen a recent surge in popularity, is created by mixing yellow gold with silver and copper.




Silver is by far the most popular choice for low-cost fine jewelry.

“Silver” or “sterling silver” describes a product that contains 92.5% silver – marked accordingly with the numbers “.925.” When an item is referred to as “silver plated,” it features a layer of silver bonded to a base metal. The designation of “coin silver” is used for compounds that are 90% silver.


Palladium is from the same family of precious metals as platinum. Like platinum, palladium is naturally white and very durable, though lighter in weight. Its history in the jewelry industry dates back to 1939, when designers discovered its beauty and strength. Those allergic to some other metals appreciate palladium’s purity – unlike gold, it does not have to be mixed with nickel (which can cause allergic reactions) to appear white.