What are Precious Metals? An Overview

by Francis Alukkas | 23 June 2022 | GENERAL

If you like jewelry, then shopping for it is a joyous thing to do. But it can be tiresome if you don't know much about the precious metals used in making them. Although jewelry is made from different types of metals, the most valuable ones are made of some of the most expensive metals like platinum, gold, silver, and the six metals in the platinum family. Read on if you want a precious metal comparison for jewelry.

What Makes Metals Precious?

Metals are considered precious mainly because of their rarity. Other characteristics that make them precious and the perfect choice for making jewelry is their luster and durability. Let us go through the precious metals list one by one.


Gold is one of the most expensive metal for jewelry making. It does not tarnish easily or corrode. Besides, its luster and color are also very attractive to many people. Gold is a very malleable metal that is too soft for making jewelry. It is usually blended with silver or copper to make a more resilient alloy. This alloy can be incorporated into different types of designs. Jewelers use the term ‘karat’ to describe the purity of gold. Also, Read: 2022 Gold Price Predictions

Purities of Gold

24 Karat: 99.9% Pure

22 Karat: 91.7% Pure

18 Karat: 75% Pure

14 Karat: 58.3% Pure

12 Karat: 50% Pure

10 Karat: 41.7% Pure

Gold is used in many ways to make different types of jewelry from earrings to big necklaces. Any piece of jewelry made completely with an alloy of gold that has at least 10k of gold is called ‘solid gold’. You can also find ‘gold plated’ ornaments, where a base metal-like brass is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution with a lump of solid gold, and an electric current, is applied. As a result, a thin layer of gold is deposited on the metal. The plating is thin and can come off with frequent wear. Then there is ‘gold filled’ which is more or less plating but done mechanically and is more durable. ‘Gold vermeil’ refers to a thicker coating of gold. Here, the base is silver, and the coating must be at least 14K, whereas in the other it can be 10K gold. Also, Read: Buy Gold Jewellery Online

Then there are different shades of gold achieved as a result of mixing gold with different elements to form alloys. ‘White gold’ is an alloy of gold and nickel, and sometimes even palladium or zinc. Blue gold is an alloy of gold and iron-containing metals giving the alloy a bluish tinge. Rose gold is an alloy of gold and copper, giving the alloy a reddish hue.


Just like gold, silver is also popular among jewelry lovers for its versatility, luster, and rarity. And similar to gold, silver is also too soft in its original state to be used in jewelry. It is alloyed with metals like copper for strength. Jewelers use terms like ‘fine’ and ‘sterling’ to refer to the purity of the silver. Silver containing 80 % silver and 20 % copper or other metal is called 800 silver. When there is at least 92.5 % silver and not more than 7.6 % of copper or any other metal, it is called 925 sterling silver. Then there is 950 sterling silver which contains at least 95 % silver. When there is 99.9 % silver content, it is called fine silver. While fine silver is too soft to be used in making jewelry, it is sometimes applied as a thin coating over sterling silver to make it appear shinier.


Platinum is the most durable, lustrous, and scratch-resistant of fine metals. It is at least 30 times rarer than gold, and more costly. They are found worldwide and strengthened by mixing them with other metals like iridium or nickel. The purity of a platinum piece can be seen stamped with a standardized platinum quality mark by its manufacturer. Pt1000 denotes pure platinum.

Palladium is a metal that belongs to the Platinum family. They have a superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation. and hence are called ‘noble metals’. A naturally white metal, palladium is hypoallergenic and does not tarnish. The palladium used in jewelry is usually 95% pure. Also, Read: White Gold vs Platinum: Comparison

These are just a few of the metals that are used in jewelry making. These days, more metals are being used to make intricate and beautiful jewelry pieces. Even though most of them do not beat platinum, gold, and silver in their rarity, nowadays, people choose many other metals for their uniqueness and individuality.

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