In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare writes: “All that glitters is not gold, it has often been said to you”. As for jewelry, we could not say better! Even though gold remains the metal most used in jewelry making, there are many other possibilities: brass, copper, palladium, platinum, silver, stainless steel, titanium and silver. Tungsten. This somewhat complicates the purchase of jewelry; in the pages that follow, we present the three metals most popular in jewelry: gold, silver and platinum.
Jewelers are often asked what an “ounce of troy” is. Traditionally, gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals are weighed, sold and purchased in troy ounces. The troy ounce weighs 31.10 grams, and its weight is about 10% higher than that of a “normal” ounce. Today, metric units are also used to weigh precious metals, but there is no indication that the metric system will replace the troy ounce in the near future. As one Englishman said to me, “we are moving to the metric system, but inch by inch.”
Gold is the 79th element of the Periodic Table of the Elements; it has for symbol Au, for aurum, gold in Latin. As for the word “gold”, it comes from the same Latin word. As a rare metal of great economic value, gold has long been regarded as the most valuable metal.
Check: price of gold per gram UK
According to some sources, gold was discovered around 3000 BC; but it is not excluded that the first gold nuggets were extracted from the Transylvanian Alps as early as 6000 BC! In the meantime, more than any other metal, it has become the symbol of wealth and social status. For thousands of years, all over the world, gold is a means of payment, a commodity and an investment – and it is also appreciated for its beauty! Offered as a present, used during religious ceremonies, gold helped build civilizations and inspired the birth of many myths. While its rich luster and unique texture give it an undisputed place in jewelry making, its economic value not only guarantees it a role as a strong global currency.
Extracted from ores like silver, silver has a history of more than 5,000 years. It is an affordable material that enjoys great popularity for jewelry making, and is found in almost every civilization. In addition, the silver is used in the manufacture of art objects such as silver cutlery (this will not surprise anyone) and silver dishes (bowls, carafes, teapots and trays). The chemical symbol of silver is Ag, abbreviation of the Latin word argentum, which also gave the word “money”.
Relatively malleable, silver is softer than gold and platinum. Just like gold, silver is normally alloyed with other metals such as copper, which gives it greater strength. As for platinum, the purity grades of silver are shown in units of 1000. Sterling silver or 925 is pure at 92.5%, and it is a standard material for quality jewelry made with this metal. For 1000 units, sterling silver has 75 parts (7.5%) alloy. Another very common type is Britannia silver or 958, 95.8% pure.
Gold is probably the most noble metal, but did you know that platinum (Pt) is sixty times rarer? It is also purer, stronger and denser than gold. By its nature, white platinum lends itself perfectly to jewelry making, because of its strength. Moreover, it is hypoallergenic, which means it causes fewer allergic reactions. It was discovered in 1735 by Julius Scaliger, and it takes its name from the Spanish word platinum, which means “little money”. Although it was “officially” discovered in the 18th century, it nevertheless appeared earlier in history, even though it has not always been recognized as a metal with its own identity. His Spanish name probably comes from the fact that the Conquistadors, when they see platinum,
While it’s tempting to think of platinum as a relatively new metal in jewelry making, it’s not quite right. In France, already at the time of the Sun King, platinum enjoyed great popularity, and Louis XIV went so far as to declare that he was the only metal worthy of a king. From the early 20th century until 1940, platinum was the favorite noble metal of the jewelry industry in the United States. During the Second World War, it acquired a strategic importance and since then has never reclaimed its past popularity.
The purity of platinum is expressed in parts of 1000. The most frequent degrees of purity are platinum 950 (95% pure), 900 (90% pure) and 850 (85% pure).
How to recognize the platinum symbol:
Platinum has many symbols or pots that express its purity. The symbol of the emperor penguin represents platinum 999 ‰, it is the purest platinum you can find, it is also quite recent. You will also find 3 platinum symbols with a dog’s head. Depending on the number to the right of the head, you will have information on the purity of the metal. 1 = 950 ‰; 2 = 900 ‰; 3 = 850 ‰ but it is also possible that there is no number, nevertheless this symbol guarantees a purity level of 850 ‰ minimum! it is also the most common today among jewelers. The last symbol of platinum is the mascaron head which guarantees a platinum purity rate of 850 ‰ for second-hand jewelry of unknown origin.