Precious Metal Materials
This page contains information on the commonly used precious metals.
I do not normally work in Welsh Gold. If you buy Welsh gold please ensure that it is guaranteed to be Welsh gold and that there is a clear indication of how much Welsh gold is in the piece - buyer beware. It requires very sophisticated (and expensive) chemical analysis to distinguish between gold originating in Wales and other parts of the world.
You will find an interesting and amusing piece on Welsh gold on the David Morgan website www.davidmorgan.com. The piece is well worth reading.
Rhodium plating is widely used in jewellery manufacture to produce a uniform hard, white and bright finish which does not tarnish. It is used on platinum for brightness; on white gold to produce an even colour (batches of white gold can often have different tones of white), and on silver to cover fire stain and prevent tarnishing.
Rhodium is one of the platinum group of metals, very expensive and only suitable in jewellery for plating purposes.
There have been two fairly recent developments in precious metals which are of interest to discerning customers. The first, is the availability of palladium. Palladium is a precious metal in the platinum group and looks like white gold, though it is not quite as expensive. Since January it must be hallmarked. Recent reports indicate that the early interest in palladium is waning.
The second interesting development, is that of tarnish and fire-stain resistant silver. Silver has two irritating properties. The first is that of developing a thin copper rich surface when soldered or annealed - this has a grey appearance and must be removed or plated over and the second is that it tarnishes quickly. It is claimed that the new silver alloy reduces both.
Gold is a very versatile metal. It is malleable and ductile. It’s a good conductor of heat and electricity, immune to tarnish, and resistant to acids - it is available in a range of carats.
When the term carat (as opposed to when it is used with precious stones) is used with gold it is a measurement of quality. 24 carat gold is pure gold and too soft to be used effectively.
Increasing proportions of other metals are added to pure gold to make it more appropriate for the intended application. 18ct gold is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metals while 14ct gold has 10 parts of other metals and 9ct has 15 parts of other metals.
The colour of gold can also be changed according to what metals are added. For example, in the case of white gold, silver, palladium and nickel are added to make the white colour. For red gold a lot of copper is added.