METAL INFORMATIONLearn about the different kinds of metals.
PRECIOUS METALS – What you Need to Know
Understanding the various jewelry metal options for your fine jewelry will help you build a jewelry wardrobe that fits your life and style.
Fine jewelry metals have captured imaginations for centuries. You may prefer one kind of metal, or you may be surprised to discover a new favorite among the wide range of metals used in jewelry today. Each has its distinct advantages and some have unique looks and applications for jewelry. Understanding the qualities of each different jewelry material can help ensure that the piece you select today will offer a lifetime of joy and satisfaction.
Gold has captivated mankind since the dawn of time. The Egyptians, the largest users of gold in the ancient world, equated gold with the sun and reserved its use exclusively for pharaohs. Gold jewelry – either purchased for yourself or as a gift – provides a lasting symbol of life’s significant events, emotions and accomplishments.
Gold Purity & Quality Marks
Pure gold, or 24-karat, is generally too soft for use in most jewelry, so gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. In the United States, 14-karat gold is the most common jewelry alloy, and nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry.
Gold plated jewelry is often indicated with a “GP” marking stamped somewhere on the piece.
Quality Marks on Karat Gold Jewelry
Beyond Yellow: The Gold Alloys
When discussing metals, you’ll often hear the term alloy. A metal alloy is a metal made by combining two or more metals, to increase the strength and/or resistance to corrosion of the base metal. The ratio of each component determines the properties of the alloy. Alloys can also create a variety of colors.
One of the most popular gold alloys is white gold, and it is an affordable and fashionable white-metal option. White gold is created by alloying gold with nickel or palladium, zinc and copper.
Why does White Gold yellow?
White gold is never truly “white” in color, because of the gold that is present. The gold is alloyed with white metals such as palladium, cadmium, zinc, and nickel to give the white appearance. Most white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium, a platinum group metal. Most likely within the white gold jewelry’s lifespan, the rhodium plating will show signs of wear, and re-plating can easily restore its brilliant white finish.
Fine jewelry customers are having a love affair for rose gold. The beautiful warm blush flatters skin tones. Pink or rose gold is created by alloying gold with copper. Most often, you’ll find 14-karat rose gold jewelry, which is 58.5% pure gold with copper added for color.
Rose gold comes in a variety of shades of pink, that blend well with gemstone colors and white and yellow metals.
Pure, rare eternal – these qualities set platinum apart. The metal of choice for late 19th- and early 20th-century royalty – in both Europe and Hollywood, this precious metal has enjoyed a surge in popularity particularly among discriminating bridal jewelry buyers.
Platinum’s strength surpasses both gold and silver and assures your most precious diamonds and gemstones will be protected and secured. Platinum is one of the strongest, most enduring and densest metals. In fact, a piece of jewelry containing 90-percent pure platinum weighs 60 percent more than a 14-karat gold piece of similar size.
Platinum Purity & Quality Marks
Platinum jewelry has a high level of purity that makes it naturally hypoallergenic and, thus, the perfect choice for people with sensitive skin. In the United States, platinum jewelry generally contains 85- to 95-percent pure platinum. By comparison, 14-karat gold is only 58.3-percent pure gold. Jewelry marked only “Platinum”, “Pt” or “Plat” contains at least 95-percent pure platinum. Platinum content can also be marked by 999 for 99.9% pure platinum, 950 for 95% and so on. In the United States, jewelry containing less than 50-percent pure platinum cannot be marked with the word “Platinum” or any abbreviation thereof.
Platinum’s durability makes it ideal for wearing every day, as it sustains very little metal loss over a lifetime of wear. Over time, platinum jewelry will develop a natural “patina,” which can be returned to a bright, white shine with a simple repolishing.
From the ancient worlds of Byzantium and Egypt 4,000 years ago, to the New World mines of Mexico and Peru during the 17th and 18th centuries, silver’s qualities have fascinated kings and conquerors throughout the ages. Today, sterling silver is a favorite metal for creative and innovative designers due to its affordability and malleability.
Silver is a naturally soft metal and is alloyed with other metals, most commonly copper, to increase its strength and durability. While sterling jewelry can tarnish or darken in color, it will never rust. And the bright reflective luster of sterling is restored with regular polishing and cleaning.
Quality Marks & Purity
In the United States, only jewelry that is at least 92.5% pure silver can be called or labeled “silver,” “sterling silver” or “sterling.” Sterling silver jewelry may also be marked with a 925, .925, 92.5 or “Ster” on the inside of the jewelry piece.
ALTERNATIVE METALS – What You Need to Know
Titanium, Tantalum, Cobaltchrome™ and Tungsten Carbide offer affordable alternatives to precious metal jewelry and are gaining popularity, especially for wedding bands and men’s jewelry.
These industrial metals have the benefits of being very strong, hypoallergenic and scratch resistant, so they are well suited to active consumers who wear jewelry on a daily basis. When used in chain or link bracelets, the metals are less likely to break – making the need for repair infrequent.
Outlined below are some of the alternative metals that we feature in our showroom:
Titanium’s strength, durability and lightweight nature make it a popular metal choice for jewelry. Its versatile properties make it a superb choice for those with sensitive skin. Titanium is hypoallergenic, yet has the highest strength-to- weight ratio of any known element. It can be anodized to produce various colors and can be engraved with personal sentiments.
Tantalum is one of the most rare and inert metals known to man and does not react with most other chemicals. Where most metals dissolve in acids, Tantalum is not affected. Tantalum is a dense, blue-gray colored earth metal and is extremely heat and wear resistant. Unlike certain other contemporary metals, Tantalum will not shatter.
Benchmark’s Cobaltchrome™ is a proprietary and hypoallergenic blend of cobalt and other alloys that feature natural attributes such as reliable strength, eternal high luster and a distinctive shatterproof form.
Made to last a lifetime, Tungsten jewelry is a natural choice for those who want a resilient metal that shows little signs of wear. Very brilliant due to its tough and enduring qualities. Tungsten is a heavy metal and is hypoallergenic.
Dondero Diamonds and Fine Jewelry is a full-service fine jewelry store specializing in engagement rings and wedding bands, loose diamonds, custom-made one-of- a-kind jewelry and engagement rings, diamond and gemstone jewelry, and jewelry repair. Dondero’s offers fine jewelry at the most affordable prices, and carries a huge selection of bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings, and watches by MOVADO and CITIZEN.
Since 1948, Dondero’s has been family owned and operated in Vineland, New Jersey. Owners Kevin Kleiner and Ken Dondero, along with their entire staff, share this philosophy:
“Everything we do is for the benefit of our customers and no job or sale is any more or less important than any other”. It is our commitment to this philosophy that has allowed us to grow over the years. Our customers expect us to “do it all”, and to do it better than anyone else. This is what we strive for every day we open our doors. This is who we are.”