A Guide to Precious Metals
Gold has been used as a means of storing wealth and for adornment in the form of jewellery since the beginning of recorded time. Gold is one the most malleable of all metals - a single gram can be beaten into a sheet 1m². Pure gold is too soft for creating durable jewellery and is typically hardened by alloying with copper or other metals.
24 carat = Pure Gold
18 carat (.750) = 75% Gold
14 carat (.583) = 58% Gold
9 carat (.375) = 37% Gold
The different carats are also available in yellow, white and rose colours. The colour of the gold is dependent on the alloy used. White gold is usually Rhodium Plated to get it whiter, this layer can wear off after a while.
Platinum is the hardest and rarest of all precious metals making it the most valuable. Platinum's wear and tarnish resistance characteristics are well suited for making fine jewellery. Unlike white gold, platinum is naturally white and will therefore always retain its colour. South Africa is the leading producer of platinum in the world.
Silver has been known since ancient times and has long been valued as a precious metal used to make ornaments and jewellery. Sterling silver, 92.5% pure, is considered the highest quality sliver. By combining it with an alloy it is far harder and more durable than pure silver. All SMITH silver is sterling silver.