Metals Education

The type of metal used in your jewelry is just as important as which stones you choose to bring your perfect piece of jewelry to life. Each person will have their own preference, which is why all of our jewelers at Edwin Novel Jewelry Design have access to every available precious metal in the world to meet your needs. There is a large variety of metals and grades to allow our customer the options they prefer. Please feel free to consult one of our design experts to assist with any questions you have while creating your jewelry. Below you will find some helpful information to guide you as you choose the perfect metal for your jewelry.

GOLD

The most popular metal used in jewelry is without a doubt, gold! It comes in several varieties grades based on its purity which is referred to as “Karats” (not to be confused with “Carat” which is a measurement of weight used for diamonds and gemstones). Gold’s karat purity is often reflected simply by the letter “K”, such as 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K. In its natural form, gold is yellow. 100% pure gold is graded at 24K, therefore the lower karat grades can be mathematically calculated to show the % of gold by each karat, with 1K being 1/24 purity, or just under 4.17% pure. We will explain the varieties gold alloys momentarily, which are used to create white gold, rose gold, pink gold & red gold. Below is a brief explanation of the karat purity in each grade of yellow gold for the purposes of creating jewelry.

24K Gold24K gold is 100% pure gold. This gold is too soft for use in jewelry, and is often used for plating other metals for making jewelry. Pure gold must actually be mixed with other metals, or “alloyed” in order to provide the gold with enough strength necessary to create a piece of durable jewelry.
18K Gold18K gold is 75% pure gold. This is the typical purity of gold that is used in highest-quality yellow gold jewelry. Due to its purity, it will be the most expensive variety of yellow gold used to create jewelry.
14K Gold14K gold is 58.33% pure gold. This is the most popular level of purity used in yellow gold jewelry because of its strength and durability, its resistance to scratching. Its popularity is not only a reflection of its strength, but is also a result of its cost being less than that of 18K gold.
10K Gold10K gold is 41.67% pure gold. It is the lowest purity level of gold that is still allowed to be considered as genuine gold in the United States.

WHITE GOLD

Other than yellow gold, white gold is one of the most popular alloys created by combing 18k or 14k yellow gold with a variety of other metals to create a precious metal that is white instead of yellow. Typically the yellow gold is combined with a white colored metal such as nickel, palladium (a softer form of platinum), or silver in order to produce the desired color. To enhance and protect its beauty, white gold is often plated with rhodium, which provides that bright white shine that most people are looking for when they are purchasing white gold or platinum jewelry. Rhodium is actually an element on the periodic table that is one of the rarest, most precious metals in the world. It is naturally a shiny bright silver in color, and is very hard which makes it the perfect protective plating for white gold, as it can be re-plated if the rhodium plating ever wears over time. Below are some examples of white gold alloy combinations. As you can see, they vary based on who is creating the alloy.

18K White Gold14K White Gold
75.00% Pure Gold58.33% Pure Gold
10.00% Palladium21.00% Copper
10.00% Nickel9.00% Nickel
2.50% Zinc7.00% Zinc
2.50% Silver4.67% Silver

PINK GOLD, RED GOLD, ROSE GOLD

The past decades there has been increasing popularity in another variety of gold alloys created by combing gold with copper and another white metal (typically silver). The product of this combination of alloy has brought several varieties of gold commonly referred to as “rose gold”, “pink gold”, and “red gold”. Depending on the amount of copper used in the alloy, the darker red the gold alloy will appear, with red gold being the darkest, and rose gold being a variant between red gold and pink gold. Like white gold, the 18k and 14k variety are produced using similar percentages of gold and alloy combinations. See below for examples.

18K Pink Gold18K Rose Gold18K Red Gold14K Pink Gold14K Rose Gold14K Red Gold
75.00% Pure Gold75.00% Pure Gold75.00% Pure Gold58.33% Pure Gold58.33% Pure Gold58.33% Pure Gold
20.00% Copper22.00% Copper25.00% Copper28.00% Copper32.00% Copper41.67% Copper
5.00% Silver3.00% Silver13.67% Silver9.67% Silver

PLATINUM & RHODIUM

Due to its strength and durability, platinum is often a very popular choice in creating jewelry. Being much stronger than gold in its natural form, it is actually such a hard metal to tool and forge into jewelry with that it will crack and break unless it is combined with iridium. Most platinum is at least 92% pure, as its natural beauty does not require combination with any other alloys. However, it is common to find it plated with rhodium, an element very closely and often found in the same mines, and even the same ores as platinum, because of the element’s extra polishing ability and its extreme resistance to tarnishing. Rhodium is actually an element on the periodic table that is one of the rarest, most precious metals in the world. Like platinum, it is naturally a shiny bright silver in color, and is very hard, making it the perfect protective plating for white gold, silver, platinum and many other metals, as it can be re-plated if the rhodium plating ever wears over time.

PLATING, FILLING, ELECTROPLATING

Other than rhodium plating used in the protection of platinum and white gold jewelry, gold plating, gold filling, or electroplating is not recommended by Edwin Novel Jewelry Design unless the customer’s unique circumstance results in a situation that leaves no other option, such as a sentimental item that cannot be traded (such as a family heirloom), and that will not be worn unless it is modified by plating, filling, or electroplating. Edwin Novel Jewelry Design does not inventory any jewelry that is plated or filled with the intention of covering up a less precious metal. All of our standard metals and alloys used in our jewelry are of the purest available quality. However, should you have a unique circumstance that must be accommodated, please feel free to discuss the item with one of our expert jewelers who can discuss your options based on the type of metal and the desired outcome. Edwin Novel Jewelry Design does not warranty or have any liability for the modification, plating, filling, or electroplating of any customer’s jewelry. By submitting any personal jewelry for any modification with Edwin Novel Jewelry Design, the customer assumes all risk and liability for any changes, damages, or modifications to the item/s submitted.