Precious Metals We Use
VG Jewellers experienced goldsmiths are trained to work with all precious metals, from platinum and gold to sterling silver.
The range of metals to choose from when manufacturing jewellery is quite extensive and to help with the selection process, we have provided a list of the most popular metals which we work with in our workshop, each with its own advantages and distinctive qualities. We will recommend the most appropriate metal in accordance with the ring style, wearability, and your preferred budget.
Pure gold is often referred to as 24 carat (ct in UK, k in US), but as it is quite soft and malleable, it is not the most suitable for an item worn every day. The more commonly used golds are 9k, 14k and 18k, where gold is combined with other metals to make them more durable.
These carat grades contain the following percentages of gold:
9 carat: 37.5%
14 carat: 58.5%
18 carat: 75%
The higher the carat grade, the richer the colour will be, and the more resistant to tarnishing. The higher the gold’s carat grade is, the more expensive it becomes.
White gold is made from yellow gold and an array of alloys (a combination of added metals) to create the whiter colour. Traditionally, rhodium plating is applied to white gold to give it its deeper, whiter, more platinum-like look. It is important to note that this plating does wear off over time and will require further applications of rhodium plating to maintain the look.
The scale of carat grading is the same for white as it is for yellow gold. However, the higher the carat grade of white gold, the deeper the gunmetal white colour.
Rose gold is alloyed with a percentage of copper, which gives it its rosy pink tinge. With rose gold, the higher the carat grade the more subtle the colour appears.
For gold in general, the lower the carat grade (therefore the higher the amount of other metals within the alloy) the greater the risk of allergic reaction.
* Always look for the carat mark – for example an 18ct/18K or 750 stamp on your jewelry.
This is the most durable and dense precious metal. Platinum is the strongest precious metal used in jewelry and is the heaviest, meaning it lasts the longest for wear and tear. Platinum is a steely white colour and many people are attracted to its pure lustre.
Platinum used for jewellery is usually 95% pure. It is often combined with ruthenium alloy, which provides for the highest purity. Alternatively, platinum can be combined with other alloys, including cobalt, copper or iridium.
It is naturally hypoallergenic and does not tarnish. An interesting final note: unlike many of its precious metal counterparts, when platinum is scratched, no metal is lost; rather, the metal is "displaced" and can be polished back to its original state.
* Remember to check for the PT950/950 or PLAT stamp on your jewellery.
Palladium is a platinum group metal that has an amazing similarity to platinum, but due to its use in the electronics industry it’s now the most expensive of the precious metals per gram, so not as widely used in jewellery. It is not as dense as platinum, and its density is in fact quite similar to gold, which means although its wearing capabilities won’t rival platinum, they will compare favourably with gold. Like platinum, palladium is naturally silvery-white in colour and therefore does not require plating as part of its maintenance.
Titanium is a natural element (no. 22 on the periodic table) and has a smokey-grey colour. Titanium is 100% hypo-allergenic, light in weight, very strong, and has impressive durability (more so than gold or platinum). It is also resistant to corrosion and tarnishing.
Titanium rings are extremely difficult to adjust in size and care should be taken when considering purchasing one.
Sterling silver is quite an affordable option, but is prone to scratches, tarnish and general wear and tear. Sterling silver is not the best choice for wedding bands because of this.
If you have any questions about precious metals which are not answered above, please feel free to get in touch with us, we're always more than happy to answer your questions!