At Jan Campbell fine Jewellery, our jewellery is usually hand crafted in either silver or gold. Every metal is different, below is a summery of precious metals and their characteristics.
Silver is comparitively soft when compared to gold and platinum. Silver is also more prone to oxidisation, sometimes causing the silver to turn black. Silver jewellery can easily be kept looking as good as new if you take care of your jewellery and with regular cleaning. It's hallmark symbol is 925.
When enamel is applied to silver the effect is vibrant and transforms the jewellery. Some of our jewellery collections combine the two to create a vibrant effect. Enamel never discolours or fades and is quite resilient. Care needs to be taken with some enamel jewellery so they are not dropped on floors or knocked against hard surfaces. Silver and enamel jewellery must not be worn next to other jewellery or abrasion may damage the enamel. We would also advise to take off silver and enamel rings for outdoor sports, activities when lifting heavy object such as a table and gardening. Although enamel is coloured glass it is reasonably hard wearing but needs to be treated with an element of care.
Historically the most popular choice for wedding bands and also jewellery. Carat measures the proportion of pure gold mixed with another alloy to make up the final metal. The higher the proportion of gold used in the metal, the more valuable the ring will be.
18ct generally holds up to everyday wear better than 9ct and tends to look better than 9ct as it ages over the years. This is one of the reasons why 18ct is normally preferred for ladies' engagement rings rather than 9ct.
Carat is the measure of gold content: 24 carat is pure gold, 9 ct gold is 37.5% pure, 14ct gold is 58.5% pure and 18ct is 75% pure. 24 carat gold is unsuitable for rings as it isn't durable enough. To create a metal suitable for everyday use, other metals are mixed into it to create an alloy - most usually to create 9, 18 or 22 carat gold. The alloy makes the gold more resistant to scratching and denting and adds to the overall appearance e.g. colour. The metal chosen to mix with the gold affects the colour and physical properties of the gold.
The 'original' gold, and many still feel the best, is yellow gold, normally an alloy including silver, copper and zinc to strengthen the metal and enhance the yellow sheen. It is the metal of choice of traditionalists, by people preferring the warmer colour with their skin tone, and for its contrast with precious stones and other metals.
White gold is actually created by mixing traditional yellow gold with either silver or palladium (a metal similar to platinum), to produce the white colour. It's available in both 9 and 18 carat. 9ct white gold is created by adding silver, to give the metal a white, creamy colour with a small hint of yellow. 18ct white gold contains palladium to give a rich, dark white gold colour, which also makes it more durable. Normally white gold is rhodium plated to produce an even whiter finish. Applying a plating of rhodium gives rings a nice lustre, but the plating may need to be replaced during the lifetime of the ring.
As a member of the platinum family, palladium is durable and has a fantastic shine. In January 2009 palladium was recognized by the Assay Offices of Great Britain as a metal in its own right - it had previously been used more as an alloy. Palladium is an almost pure metal (approximately 95%) and is excellent for people with sensitive skin, as it is hypoallergenic with similar characteristics to platinum, but at a more affordable price. This new metal is becoming increasingly popular for its natural and neutral colour and is slightly more affordable than platinum.
Platinum, the rarest and most precious metal, is gaining popularity as a choice for wedding bands. It is a beautiful white metal, which polishes well and is an excellent choice which will last a lifetime due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear. Where gold is often blended with other precious metals, platinum is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). Platinum is very dense and heavy, so a platinum ring will feel even heavier than an 18ct gold ring.