To help you make an informed choice about what jewellery you want, here is a bit of information on the different types of metals used in the creation of Becky Rowe jewellery as well as their benefits and unique qualities:
Gold is the most popular and widely used metal in jewellery design worldwide. It has been sought after and considered as high value for centuries. What many people don’t appreciate is that gold jewellery isn’t pure gold as it would be too malleable for practical use. Gold jewellery is made from a range of gold alloys and is a mix of metals including pure gold and silver as well as base metals such as copper and zinc. The varying mix of these metals create different alloys with their own physical properties and colours. As a result there are two main aspects to consider when looking at gold.
The carat (ct) is basically the gold content of the metal. It measure the proportion of pure gold mixed with other metal alloy to make up the final product. The higher the content of pure gold, the higher the value of the end product. In the UK there are very strict standards as to what level of pure gold jewellery contains. There are four clear measurements, 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and 22ct. Pure gold would have 24ct as it has 24 parts (carats) in 24 of gold. So 9ct has 9 parts of gold and 15 parts of alloying metals.
Traditionally the pureness of gold was measured by assaying, which involved weighing the product and then using a cupellation furnace to remove anything that wasn’t pure gold and weighing the pure gold residue. Comparing the two weights allowed the fineness to be measured. New technologies have generally replaced this traditional method, but it remains the reference test. Today the minimum fineness is shown in parts per thousand. This means that 9ct is 375 (37.5% pure gold), 14ct is 585 (58.5% pure gold), 18ct is 750 (75% pure gold) and 22ct is 916 (91.6% pure gold).
The metals that are combined with the pure gold in the item of jewellery determine its unique appearance, especially its colour.
Gold is available in several different colours. The most popular is yellow gold, then white gold and rose gold. These different colours are achieved by the metal components in the alloy mix.
Yellow gold is achieved by mixing pure gold with alloy metals like copper and zinc.
White gold can be produced by alloying yellow gold with precious metals that are naturally white, such as palladium or silver, or non precious white metals, which will remove some of the yellow appearance of the final alloy. White gold is often electroplated with Rhodium which achieves a bright white finish. However, this finish does wear off eventually and requires a higher level of care to maintain its appearance. The underlying white gold layer will start to show through if it is a yellower shade of gold and the item will neeed re-plating. The speed at which it will require re-plating depends on the level of wear and tear as well as the thickness of the rhodium plating.
Rose gold is pure gold mixed with a higher level of copper content.
Platinum is one of the most precious metals used in jewellery making. It is a white metal, but unlike gold, is used in an almost pure form. Platinum standard in the UK jewellery market is 950. This means platinum alloys are the purest and most hypo-allergenic available. It is extremely hard wearing so doesn’t need to be re-plated like rhodium plated white gold. It is also a very dense and heavy metal. However, it is much more expensive than gold. As a rough guide, a platinum ring will be roughly twice the price of an 18ct white gold ring. With its sophisticated appeal it is the metal of choice for those wanting the best of the best.
Palladium is part of the platinum group of metals and is also used in about a 95% pure form. It is strong and durable with a silver-grey-white appearance, but is about half the density of platinum and even weighs about 33% less than gold. It is hard wearing, much like platinum, and looks great highly polished, but is also popular in a matt finish. It is a more affordable option than platinum.
Sterling silver is white-grey in appearance and is less expensive than the above metals. It is 92.5% pure silver and is stamped with 925. It is a softer metal than gold, platinum and palladium so it is not usually chosen for items of jewellery that will be worn everyday such as engagement or wedding rings.
Silver is also prone to oxidization, creating a blackened effect. I use this effect on some of my designs to create a unique look. However, over time oxidization can also occur on silver where it is not wanted. It is easy to return the silver to its former shine by using jewelery cleaner.