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Metals In Jewelry Making

Metals in Jewelry Making

Metals used in jewelry making are fundamental since they affect the appearance, durability and value of each piece. There are several noble metals that are utilized, and different ways in which they are used. Since these commonly known as “precious” metals can be very expensive, sometimes base metals are utilized to lower the costs. It is important to be aware of the different terms utilized in jewelry when it comes to describe the metals utilized in a piece. The difference can be really huge regarding quality, beauty and value.

Basically, metals can be divided in to main categories: precious metals and base metals.

Precious metals or noble metals refers to rare to find metals that have a luster surface and are not affected by corrosion, which means that they hardly react with most external elements. These metals include gold, silver, palladium, titanium and platinum. Most jewelry is done with these noble metals, which additionally are easier to work with.

On the other side, there are the cheaper metals known as base metals. These include copper, aluminum, nickel and zing. Their prices are noticeably lower as well as their quality since they are prone to fast oxidization.

Of course, quality jewelery pieces are manufactured from purest forms of precious metals. However, before you buy or sell an engagement ring in Manhattan or elsewhere, you are advised to learn some of the jewelery terminology that refers to the ways in which the precious or noble metals are used present in the particular piece.


Gold is probably one of the most utilized and appreciated precious metals. Its purity is quantified in karats, being 24 karats the purest grading. The word karat refers to the proportion of gold in an alloy. The gold grading ranges from 10Kto 24K.

As above explained, there are several manners in which gold is used when crafting jewelry pieces. These include:

Gold-filled or rolled gold. Quality gold filled jewels can look just like a 14 Karat gold piece. This term refers to a solid sheet of gold secured by pressure and heat to a base metal, which makes the core of the piece.

Gold vermeilIn this case, the base is made of sterling silver and surfaces are coated with 10k gold.

Gold plated. Typically a base metal piece is dipped into an electroplating solution that leaves a thin coat of gold on the jewelry. This layer is thinner than in gold filled jewelry.

White gold. This refers to a combination of gold with other metals such as platinum, nickel and silver and a platinum or rhodium plating.

Rose Gold. This is an alloy of gold and copper in order to give the reddish tone to the piece. The higher proportion of copper, the more intense the rose tone.


This is a strong metal that is appreciated for being scratch and bend resistant. Its weight is very light compared with the other metals used in jewelry, and it offers a sophisticated array of colors that other metals do not.


This metal is one of the heavier metals used in jewelry. It is usually utilized for sophisticated and costly jewelry pieces and has a grey-white color. It is a highly rare metal, whose price is much more expensive than gold. However, it is highly demanded and utilized, particularly in engagement rings.


It has similar chemical composition and properties as the platinum. It is a rare silver-white metal.


From the platinum family too, this metal is extremely hard and the most expensive precious metal that is used in jewelry.


As it happens with gold, this metal has been used in jewelry since ancient times.

Pure silver is soft, therefore it is generally combined with other metals, basically copper to meliorate the durability of the jewelry piece original condition. There are various types of silver jewelry, depending on the levels of silver purity.

Fine silver or pure silver. This has a .999 purity. It is specially lustrous. However, it is not recommended to be used in jewelry that is worn frequently since it bends with ease.

Sterling silver. This alloy contains 92.5% of pure silver and the remaining 7.5% of another base metal, which is usually copper.

Silver plate or silver tone. This refers to a thin coat of fine silver covering a base metal. This is the cheapest presentation of silver in jewelry and has the disadvantage of fast wear off. After a short time, the piece loses its silver shinny appearance.

If you are planning to buy your diamond engagement rings in Manhattan, be cautious to make sure you know exactly which metal has been used to handcraft them, since this is crucial to determine the durability and value of them. Go to a specialized and reputable diamond shop in Manhattan, and get informed of all the characteristics of your engagement rings. This will be an investment that should last as long as your love.

At DiamondBuyerNYC, we will be delighted to answer all your questions and explain you with all details the pros or cons of each metal in order to help you take an informed decision.

History of Metals in Jewelry Making

Metals such as silver, gold and copper have been used since prehistory. At the beginning, the only ones that were utilized were those that were easily found in a pure state. However, over time man discovered they were able to obtain new metals by heating them.

The term” jewelry” comprises those personal objects that had been used since ancient times, in the different cultures, as personal ornaments or as symbols of social position or religious beliefs.

The Egyptians already knew how to use the metals we use nowadays in jewelry making. They created beautiful pieces utilizing mainly gold and silver, as well as precious and semi-precious stones. We can track the utilization of gold in Egyptian jewelry back to 6000 BC. Even though they used other metals, their favorite and most used was gold, because of its sumptuousness and workability.

Egyptian copper and silver jewels from 4000 BC have also been found. Bracelets and seal rings with religious symbols such as the lotus flower, hawk, serpent or eye were widely used jewels. In 1200 BC Egyptians were also using platinum, as it was found in the sarcophagus of the King of Thebes’s daughter.

Back to the III and II B.C. centuries, Babylonians created jewelry pieces using gold, silver and precious stones, making necklaces, pendants and amulets. They used granulation techniques, filigrees and gems incrustation.

Greeks used mostly gold in their jewelry, and there are pieces that can be tracked back to 1600 BC. Their jewels had a clear Egyptian inspiration. However, they hardly used stones. They made small gold perforated disks that they attached to their clothes and diadems. Later, they started adding colored stones to their jewels.

Romans used a wide range of materials. Gold was their first choice, but they also used bronze. Women usually wore many jewels and men used to wear a finger ring to avoid the possible harm of the “Evil Eye” that other people could have given them. Rings with engraved gems on top were later used to seal documents with wax.

Since ancient times, and up to our days, metals are the basic material utilized in jewelry making.

Nowadays, a wide range of metals are used in jewelry. Sometimes jewels are handcrafted using the purest possible metals or in different alloys.

There are several categories in which metals are classified, and it is important to understand some of the most common ones when it comes to jewelry.

Generally speaking, there are several ways in which metal can be classified and it’s helpful to understand the differences. These include Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous, Base vs. Noble and Precious vs. Non-Precious metals. Let briefly look at each:

Ferrous And Non-Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are those that contain iron. These ferrous metals are not a good choice for jewelry making since they corrode and rust (except stainless steel, which is made of chromium, nickel and iron and resists corrosion and staining). Non-ferrous metals, on the contrary, do not deteriorate and are, therefore, preferred for most jewelry making.

Base Metals and Noble Metals

This categorization is based in the chemical properties of the metals.

Base metals are easy to find and abundant, however, they tend to corrode. In jewelry, it is frequent to use base metals as the core material of the piece and coat or cover it with a noble metal. This is done in order to lower the costs of the jewels. The most widely used base metals are copper, iron and nickel.

Noble metals, on the contrary, are hard to find, resist corrosion and have a luster appearance. These three characteristics make them the preferred choice for quality jewelry making. Given their rarity and properties, they are much more expensive than base metals. Platinum, gold and silver are within this group, and they are the noble metals most utilized in jewelry making.

Precious And Non Precious Metals

This differentiation is based basically on the rarity, corrosion resistance, brilliance and, consequently, high price that characterizes precious metals. Among them are: Platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold and silver

Non-precious metals, on the contrary, are abundant, more prone to deterioration and much cheaper.

Common Metals in Jewelry Making

Today jewelry is created using a wide range of material, however the number of metals that can be used is limited; there are only 86 known metals and of those, relatively few are commonly used in contemporary jewelry. However, the majority of jewelry crafted today tends to use only a handful of metals. Here, we’ll look at the metals that are the most popular.

Do not hesitate contacting DiamondBuyerNYC. Our professionals will be pleased to assist you to chose the perfect diamond engagement rings in NYC. Based on your preferences and budget, with the proper guidance and information, you will be able to select your dreamed wedding dream, that will shine and last as your love… a lifetime!