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Precious Metals Guide

Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and the revolutionary palladium are the perfect way to express your emotions or make a personal statement to a loved one. Using our expertise we have compiled this precious metals guide that will help you choose with confidence the right metal for you.

Gold

Gold has been one of mankind's most revered substances since the beginning of time. The legends and myths surrounding gold are legendary and for many ancient civilizations, only the most powerful were permitted to wear it. Today though, the glamour and beauty of gold, while remaining as desirable as ever, are far more democratic. An enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Although it is very strong, it is also the most malleable of all precious metals.

Pure gold is known as 24k gold, but at Read's Gallery our jewellery is made of 9ct and 18ct gold. This is because pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability. Karatage, denoted by a number followed by "k" indicates the purity, or how much gold there is in the metal in a piece of jewellery. It is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold. 18k gold is composed of 75% gold, and 9k gold is composed of 37.5% gold and 62.5% of other metals. The more the karatage there is of gold then the more expensive the gold will be.

When we think of gold we usually think of yellow gold. But there are other colours of gold available, such as popular white gold and fashionable rose gold. Creating gold in different colours is done by mixing gold with other colours, this is called making an alloy. White gold is an ideal compliment to diamonds and very popular choice in engagement rings. Almost all white gold is electro plated with rhodium to make the white finish totally perfect and hide any staining or browning from the alloying process. Rhodium plating does wear off over time and can easily be replaced at Read's Gallery. There is really no time line on how long a rhodium plate should last as it depends on the wearer and how they wear and treat their jewellery.

If treated carefully, your gold jewellery item could last a lifetime and might even be handed down to future generations. So here are some tips that will help preserve the beauty of your gold jewelry.

  • Gold is lasting and durable but can get scratched or dented if treated roughly. This is particularly true of items worn on the hands like rings and bracelets that are prone to a lot of knocks. So remove these pieces before any type of strenuous activity
  • Beware of chemicals. Gold's worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure can weaken gold's structure, eventually leading to breakage. So keep your gold jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products and out of swimming pools and jacuzzis.
  • On a related note, acids, abrasives and other harsh chemicals found in some common household cleaning solutions can weaken your jewelry or damage its finish. So it's best to cover up rings and bracelets with rubber gloves while doing heavy-duty cleaning. Or better yet, take them off altogether.
  • Gold can lose its luster over time if repeatedly exposed to dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup. So make sure to clean your jewellery regularly. You can use a cleaning solution such as sunlight dishwash with lukewarm water and using a soft brush, gently clean the ring and then rinse it or you can bring it to Read's Gallery and have it professionally cleaned. After cleaning and rinsing, always dry and polish jewellery with a soft cloth to avoid scratches and bring out its shine.
  • Proper storage is as important as cleaning. Protect your gold jewelry by storing it safely in a jewelry box or keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth when not being worn. Furthermore, keeping pieces stored separately will prevent them from getting tangled or scratching one another.
  • Finally, always inspect your gold jewellrey for weakness or damage and bring it to Read's Gallery for immediate repair.

Platinum

Called the "King of Metals", platinum is a very heavy (nearly twice the weight of gold), silver-white metal that is very ductile. Although it is a soft metal, platinum is not easily scratched, never tarnishes, and is very strong and durable. It is the strongest precious metal used in jewellery, and has good resistance to corrosion and chemical attack.

Platinum is also the only precious metal used in fine jewellery that is up to 95 percent pure. Small amounts of iridium and ruthenium are commonly added to it, to give it a harder, stronger alloy that retains the advantages of pure platinum. Platinum's subtle beauty enhances a diamond's natural brilliance and fire, making it an excellent metal for diamond jewellery settings. It does not change shape or wear away so precious stones are held firmly and securely. Because of its purity, platinum is naturally hypoallergenic, a plus for people with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals. Platinum jewellery commands higher prices because of its rarity.

Platinum is very easy to care for. Soaking platinum in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush is usually all that is required to maintain the metal's lustre. For a high shine finish you can have your platinum jewellery professionally polished. As with any piece of jewellery, avoid wearing it when doing housework or gardening. It is also advisable not to handle bleach or harsh chemicals when wearing your jewellery. Although they won't hurt the platinum, chemicals may discolour diamonds or gemstones. Avoid placing your platinum jewellery with other pieces that can scratch it.

Palladium

Just when you thought you knew everything about precious metals, in walks a metal you have never heard about, Palladium. Palladium has always been one of the four precious metals and has been used to make jewellery since 1939. Strong and durable, with low density, allowing for bigger and bolder designs to be created and worn with ease. Palladium is from the same precious metals as platinum and shares its strength. It is naturally white and does not need expensive maintenance.

Palladium is becoming the metal of choice for a growing number of fashion – forward jewellery designers and is typically less expensive than platinum or gold, making it the preference for savvy shoppers who want affordable luxury. Palladium is pure because it gets its colour and luster from nature and therefore is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Palladium is very easy to care for. Soaking palladium in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush is usually all that is required to maintain the metal's lustre. For a high shine finish you can have your palladium jewellery professionally polished. As with any piece of jewellery, avoid wearing it when doing housework or gardening. It is also advisable not to handle bleach or harsh chemicals when wearing your jewellery.

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