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Gold, Silver, and Platinum: A Guide to Metals Used in Jewelry

halo engagement ring with platinum and rose gold

Metals play an important role in the creation of jewelry, affecting its cost, durability, and appearance. Several types of metals are used to make fine jewelry, but the most common are gold, silver, and platinum. Anyone interested in purchasing jewelry from jewelry stores in Cleveland, Ohio should develop a basic understanding of metallurgy to learn what impact their choice of metals could have on their jewelry.




When most people think of jewelry, gold is the first type of metal that comes to mind. Gold is available in various colors, including white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Gold doesn’t react with other metals to create tarnish, which is a residue that accumulates on some metals and can stain your skin.


Gold can be manipulated in virtually any way a jeweler desires. 24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold – it is too soft to use to make jewelry for daily wear. Gold is typically mixed with other types of metals to make it more durable. Adding in different metals also changes the color of the gold. For example, if you mix gold with palladium or nickel, you can create white gold. If you add copper to gold, you can create rose gold.


18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts one or more additional metals, which makes it 75% gold. 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts one or more additional metals, which makes it 58.3% gold. When buying gold jewelry, make sure that the item is marked with the karat weight and manufacturer to get the most bang for your buck. 




Silver is an affordable metal that has been used to make jewelry since ancient times. Like pure gold, pure silver is too soft to make jewelry, so it is usually mixed with other metals. One of the most popular silver alloys is called sterling silver. In order to be considered sterling silver, jewelry must contain 92.5% pure silver.


Copper is the metal most commonly mixed with silver because it makes the silver harder. The only problem is that copper also causes the silver to darken over time. If you live in a humid climate, it’s best to avoid silver because of the tarnish. Silver is only appropriate for occasional use since it fades over time.




In recent times, the most popular metal for jewelry making has been platinum. Platinum is a rare and precious heavy metal that is preferred over other types of metals because it doesn’t lose its color over time. There are six types of related metals that belong to the platinum group of metals, and they are platinum, iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium. Because it is weighty, platinum conveys a sense of quality and holds gemstones firmly in place. Platinum jewelry is made of almost pure platinum (approximately 95%), so it is very durable and light in color. Platinum looks elegant as a backdrop for diamonds and contrasted with touches of yellow gold.


Looking for Fine Jewelry in Cleveland?


If you like brands like Tacori, Veraggio, and Hearts on Fire, you’ll love the jewelry we offer at IMG Jewelers, widely considered to be one of the best jewelers in Cleveland. You can browse our collection online or visit our showroom to see our work in person



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