Category Archives: Precious Metals

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Gemstones, Precious Metals and Jewelry

That will blow your mind.

1. The average age of diamonds varies from one to three million years old.

Diamonds are as old as some dinosaurs!

Diamonds are as old as some dinosaurs!

2. In Asia, the people swallow pearls whole and powdered for medicinal purposes

To this day, pearls are eaten for medicinal reasons. Don't try this at home for obvious reasons.

To this day, pearls are ingested! Invest don’t ingest!

3. Pure gold is always yellow in color, but it is much too soft to wear.

Melts in your hand, not your mouth. Oops, that M&Ms.

You’ll be golden with a few of these nuggets.

4. Lapis Lazuli was used by the Ancient Egyptians in the form of powder as eye shadow.

Talk about expensive makeup!

Talk about expensive makeup!

5. The only black gemstone that exists is the jet, composed of carbonized wood and coal, and usually comes from fossilized trees.

Don't jet, have a jet!

Don’t fret, have a jet!

6. Garnet comes from the Latin word granatum, which also means pomegranate.

These look good enough to eat!

These look good enough to eat!

7. Blonde-haired women used to don opals to protect the blonde color of their hair.

Give an opal to your Opal, oppa!

Having an opal is probably better than sunbathing.

8. Sapphires and rubies are mined together; both are a type of corundum mineral. Rubies are red due to chromium impurities, while sapphires get their color from iron, titanium, and chromium impurities. They are virtually indistinguishable other than color.

They're basically twins with different dye jobs.

They’re basically twins with different dye jobs.

9. Men wore jewelry before women did; they even wore heels before women.

Rock those pearls, sir!

Rock those pearls, dude!

10. The ocean actually contains gold; it is assumed there is nearly 20 million tons of gold under the mysterious surface.

Grown on trees? Not quite.

Grown on trees? Not quite.

11. Emeralds were Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone.

Ours too, Cleo!

Ours too, Cleo!

What Parts of Jewelry Are You Allergic To?

Jewelry Allergy

The component of jewelry that people are most often allergic to is nickel. Nickel allergy is actually a very common sort of allergy, which is a shame because most yellow gold and white gold products are alloyed with nickel. The higher the karat, the less nickel is used, but the more malleable the gold is. Having an allergic reaction to nickel is called dermatitis. There are other types of gold mixtures that do not have nickel like green gold, gray-white gold, and pink gold so take heart in your other options! There are also other non-gold choices like platinum, palladium, cobalt, etc.

There are preventative measures for dealing with dermatitis. For instance, wearing jewelry while it is smoldering hot outside is a terrible idea. The sweat will often wear away the nickel and form nickel salts which then reacts with the skin and causes an allergic reaction. Keeping the skin clean and dry will help prevent irritation, or simply removing the jewelry when outside for long periods of time.

Alternatives to Traditional White & Yellow Gold

purple goldRose gold, also known as pink gold, Russian gold, and red gold, is a metal mixture that contains metals that have a red or pink sort of hue, such as copper or zinc. Other metals that can be combined are silver, in a very low percentage. A popular type of rose gold is called crown gold, it is approximately 75% gold and 22% copper and some silver. 14K red gold is a popular choice in the Middle East, a type of rose gold containing 42% copper and 58% gold. Metal components, may vary in percentage, mix, and variation, to create the exact type of brilliant color the jeweler so desires.

Although the names of this type of gold are interchangeable, the difference between pink, red, and rose gold is the content of copper or zinc. The stronger the copper content, the stronger the color red color. There are multitudes of different type of wedding band types, some you most likely have never heard of such as purple gold. Listed below for your convenience is an approximate percentage of metals that make up these unique metallic compositions.

Gold Type Components
18K Rose Gold 75% gold
22.25% copper
2.75% silver
14K Red Gold 58% gold
42% copper
18K Pink Gold 75% gold
20% copper
5% silver
18K Gray-White Gold 75% gold
17% iron
8% copper
18K Soft Green Gold 75% gold
25% silver
18K Light Green Gold 75% gold
23% copper,
2% cadmium
18K Green Gold 75% gold
20% silver
5% copper
18K Deep Green Gold 75% gold
15% silver
6% copper
4% cadmium
18K Blue White/Blue Gold 75% gold
25% iron
Purple Gold 80% gold
20% aluminum

We recommend, if you are looking for a certain type of wedding band, to something below 18K. The purity of the gold may be lower, but it is more sturdy. If you work with your hands a lot, we do not recommend 18K gold in the use of jewelry to be worn on your hands. If you are going to choose a karat 18K or higher, we advise it to be in jewelry that is not worn daily and not worn on body parts that are often used like feet or hands.

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All About Gold: Types, Karat, Composition, Durability (TKCD)

Stamps:
In the United States of America, it is required by the National Gold and Silver Marking Act of 1906, that all gold products be marked with a stamp of at least 1.5 karat of the stamp. It is considered unlawful to willfully stamp jewelry that is not a certain percent gold. This is the standard of fineness in gold jewelry. If there is ever a time you receive a piece of jewelry from GEMaffair.com that does not have a gold stamp, please contact us so we can have your jewelry appropriately stamped. Mistakes rarely occur, but when they do we will stand by our products.

Gold (Yellow & White):
GarnetGold is by far the most popular type of metal quality used when making jewelry. The most popular karat used in jewelry is 14K. A question we get far too often is, “What’s the difference between karats and what type of karat will last a long time?” If you are measuring a piece of 10K jewelry against one that is 14K, you can expect the 14K weight to be more, because gold is heavier than the other metals mixed with the gold. Pure gold is not typically used in gold jewelry. While it is the most expensive and most malleable type of gold, it is not durable. Listed below are the various components and percentile of gold within yellow gold jewelry

Metal Percent Other Components
10K Yellow Gold 41.7% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
12K Yellow Gold 50% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
14K Yellow Gold 58.5% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
16K Yellow Gold 66% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
18K Yellow Gold 75% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
20K Yellow Gold 83% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
22K Yellow Gold 91% copper, silver, zinc, nickel
24K Yellow Gold 99.9% copper, silver, zinc, nickel, x<0.1%

White gold is made up of other metallic components in contrast to yellow gold. It was first introduced in an attempt to imitate platinum. While yellow gold is almost always the same components (percent varying) to give it that ‘yellow’ color, white gold describes any gold metal combination with a white hue. Often, platinum will be used for a greater/heavier weight and durability as one of the components of white gold; the percentage of other metals in white gold ranges in percent and type of metal.

White gold can be made up of nickel (which is good for malleability), palladium, manganese, titanium, platinum, and more. The design and type of ring are often predetermined by jewelers before they are made. 22K to 24K white gold bands do not exist. By definition, white gold contains a white hue, and 24K pure gold is a yellow metal. It is difficult to remove all other particles from yellow gold, so pure gold is typically 99.9% gold metal.

Metal Percent Other Components
10K White Gold 41.7% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
12K White Gold 50% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
14K White Gold 58.5% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
16K White Gold 66% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
18K White Gold 75% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
20K White Gold 83% usually nickel, palladium or manganese
22K White Gold 91% Does not exist
24K White Gold 100% CANNOT COMPUTE, DOES NOT EXIST

Next UP in PART II, we will cover PURPLE gold as well as a brief history and explanation for why 10K gold in Brazil is still considered gold, but in Europe the lowest gold rating is 18K. Tune in and subscribe!

Silver Rings are Stylish and Affordable

Everything that glitters is not gold – silver can glitter too and it does it at a fraction of the cost of gold. While plain silver rings are beautiful, there are also very elegant and stylish designs available that include precious gemstones such as silver pearl rings. Some employ very unique features that add to their style.

Silver enthusiasts can have a lot of fun with their jewelry. Some of the more unique designs are the silver puzzle rings. The pieces fit together in an intricate design and some may even have secret compartments. For sandal-season, silver toe rings are much more plentiful than gold ones and they come in all shapes and sizes with and without stones.

On a more serious note, this inexpensive precious metal is also used to create very special pieces such as silver Claddagh rings. In fact, this design was first designed in silver centuries ago. The clasping of hands and heart symbolize love and loyalty forever and is often used as a promise or wedding ring. Other styles of silver wedding rings are also available with diamonds.

It is very important to clean these pieces properly to avoid tarnishing. Special silver cleaners are available in easy to use cloths, creams and even liquids.

Silver rings are great for everyday fashion and because they are so affordable, it is feasible to invest in many pieces. But, it is also an elegant and stylish metal that can easily go from casual day to elegant evening night.

Sultry Sapphires

I’ve noticed that when I’m working with jewelry – certain pieces always make me feel a certain way. I’ll be working with a group – sometimes it’s the same type of stones or sometimes it’s a variety of different stones in a similar design style, regardless – each lends itself to a certain mood, decade or occasion.

Recently we received a massive shipment of sapphire and diamond jewelry.

….I immediately thought, “Classic Hollywood.”

I can almost see the gorgeous dame waltzing in from out of the rain – pushing her way into the male lead’s detective office past the unkempt secretary’s desk…cigar smoke fills the room while she dramatically unfolds her mysterious tale in a sultry deep voice.  The male lead, suave though he hasn’t shaved in days, doesn’t usually take cases like this, but he’s powerless against her beauty.

Those  movies had such character.  Even though the plots were, by description, formulaic, there is always something unexpected.  They were filled with drama, intrigue, a handsome lead and fantastic clothing.  I absolutely love film noir.  It’s cheesy, but true.

So, the other day, it wasn’t at all surprising that I found myself day dreaming about Humphrey Bogart while clicking away at the deep navy blue beauties.  I couldn’t help it.

I think about how jewelry makes me feel and what the stones seem to say.   To me, sapphires say timeless beauty.  They ooze sophistication.  They’re dramatic because they’re oddly mysterious; that midnight blue color doesn’t reveal anything, it’s as though something may be hiding just under the surface…something you can’t quite reach but want desperately hold.

To me, sapphires remind me of the dame from the classic detective drama, the film noir chic.

Casablanca

What do they say to you?

Karat Cake – How Fine is Your Gold?

Fineness of Gold

Since gold is such a soft metal, it is generally combined with different alloys in order to increase strength. The higher the percentage of gold, the more malleable it will be. For this reason, 100% gold jewelry generally isn’t a good idea. It would bend, break and lose shape rather quickly with wear. So, a standard system of rating, called hallmarking, was created to show the percentage of gold in any given piece of jewelry.

A hallmark (also called an assay or standard marking) indicates the fineness or purity of the metal.

Fineness = the hallmark = which shows the percentage of gold used.

Rings, for instance, are traditionally created using 10 to 14 karat gold because they need to be stronger to hold up to daily wear and tear.  While it also tells you how much gold was used in the creation of the piece, the karat is also an important factor in deciphering whether or not a piece is right for you.

goldfashion1

Shopping for gold jewelry doesn’t have to overload your head, because hallmarking makes it easy to determine how to choose the perfect piece.

If you’re an active person, an 18 karat gold ring would be a bad idea.   Do you live in your jewelry and never take it off (tisk, tisk)? Well, start looking for 10 or 14 karat gold.  Need a piece for a special event? You can think less about the fineness and more about the style.  Go for whatever piques your interest.  Have a child who tugs on your necklaces?  You’ll need a heavy duty chain made stronger by alloys (aka, less gold and a lower karat number).

You can find out what type your jewelry is by looking for the hallmark generally found on the inside of a ring, the back of a pendant, the clasp of a chain or necklace and on a link or closure of a bracelet. But what do those numbers mean?

Gold is measured in parts per 24.  So 24 karat is 24/24 or 100%.  The chart below outlines the most common U.S. hallmarks in the karat system.

Karat Percentage of Gold
24 KT 100% (Winner for most malleable metal)
18 KT 75%
14 KT 58.3% (middle ground)
12 KT 50%
10 KT 41% (Strong like an ox)

Hallmarks and karats have long been scrutinized as a way to quickly determine the value of a piece of gold jewelry – the higher the number the higher the cost – and while this is true, there’s more to the hallmark.  It won’t simply help you determine a piece’s monetary worth, but wether it will work for you, which si the msot important part.  Choose the right gold for yourself and your lifestyle and start by using the hallmark to show you the way.  To remember which means which, just remember that a low number means it’s up to the labor.