Know Your Metals
A Primer On Precious Metals
Every beautiful piece of jewelry begins with a heart of beautiful metal, and different pieces call for different metals. But every type of metal has its own characteristics. To find out what type of metal is right for you and your lifestyle, speak with one of the experts at Cline Jewelers.
A popular choice for engagement and bridal rings, platinum is naturally white, more durable, and heavier than gold. Like gold, platinum is mixed with other metals. However, the quality markings for platinum are based on parts per thousand. For example, the marking “900 Platinum” means that 900 parts out of 1000 are pure platinum, or 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.
Palladium is another naturally white precious metal. Though it is less widely known than gold or platinum, designers have been using it to make jewelry since 1939. Palladium is from the same family of precious metals as platinum and shares its strength, but it is lighter in weight. Those allergic to some other metals appreciate palladium’s purity. It does not have to be mixed with nickel (which can cause allergic reactions) to appear white.
“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 is bonded to a base metal. The designation of “coin silver” is used for compounds that contain 90% silver.