GOLD AND PLATINUM
Gold and Platinum Jewelry: Just the Facts
Good As Gold
Gold is rare. Really rare. And really beautiful. Which is why it makes such fine and valuable jewelry. How rare? It's been said that it's rarer to find a one-ounce nugget of gold than a five-carat diamond. Personally, I'd be happy with either one. In fact, over 90 percent of the world's gold has been already been mined, which means there's not that much left. And all of the gold that has been mined in the past 6,000 years would fit into a cube 60 feet tall.
Aside from its scarcity and beauty, its value as a jewelry material is also because of its composition, and subsequent staying power. It resists tarnish and rust, and is immune to corrosion, oxidation and acids. A diamond might be forever, but gold, if cared for properly, will last an eternity.
The Golden Rules
Karats (with a "K") are actually a measure of the percentage of gold to alloy contained in gold jewelry. Pure gold, the 24-karat variety, is too soft to make quality jewelry out of. So it's mixed with other alloy metals such as copper and silver, for strength. Often you'll see a piece of jewelry stamped, 18K gold, which means it contains 75% pure gold. The most common type of gold jewelry is 14K gold. Anything under 10K cannot be labelled or sold as gold, but would make fine doggie jewelry.
You've got your yellow gold, the crowd favorite, which is usually mixed with copper and silver alloys. There's the newly popular white gold, which is becoming more fashionable with the trendsetters. And then for those that can't make up their mind, there are gorgeous accessories made of both.
The value of gold jewelry is based on several factors: fineness or karat count, weight in grams and the workmanship reflected in the piece.
Platinum is actually more rare than even gold! It ranks among the rarest of metals. Consider this: for every 15 to 20 ounces of gold extracted, only a single ounce of platinum is mined.
But unlike gold, which doesn't work well in its purest form, platinum is used in jewelry at 90-95% purity. Platinum of this fineness is stamped 900Pt, 950 Plat or just Plat. Like gold, it is tarnish and rust resistant and will last you a lifetime, and then some.
Platinum, which is white, differs from its white gold counterpart not only because it's more expensive but also because it's denser and therefore heavier.
Making Sure Your Gold and Platinum Jewelry Has a Long Life
If you want to be able to pass down your fine gold and platinum jewelry to the next generation, or just make sure it stays stunning for your lifetime, you need to follow the following care tips:
- Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives.
- Don't wear rings, bracelets and other jewelry while working with power tools or playing certain sports.
- Store each piece separately in a soft cloth pouch or in the separate compartments of a jewelry case.
- Check regularly that gem settings are secure. If not, ask a professional jeweler to re-set them.
Check out the Ice Blog for more tips on how to care for your gold and platinum jewelry: