June 20, 2017

Matching Gems to Metals: How Jewelers Choose Stunning Combinations

Green round cut emeraldCreating one-of-a-kind jewelry

Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and other precious gems are without a doubt the belles of the ball. Because of this, the metal framework holding these jewels in place is often seen as more of a sidekick. This reputation is undeserved, especially since the metalwork can be just as precious as the gems in terms of dollars and cents. So how exactly do jewelers know which metals to pair with which gems? There’s no set formula, but since jewelers are experts in metallurgy, you can trust a custom jewelry creator to combine exactly the right materials to make your stunning, one-of-a-kind piece.

Metal terms to know

It’s helpful to have an introductory knowledge of metallurgy to understand how it fits into jewelry-making. Metals can be sorted into multiple categories, including ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Most jewelry is made from non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, which means they have a tendency to rust. Steel jewelry is an exception.

Metals can also be classified into base and noble metals. Base metals corrode readily, and they include iron, copper, and nickel. Noble metals are preferable for jewelry, as they are more resistant to corrosion and they have an attractive luster. Some common examples are platinum, gold, and silver.

Lastly, metals can be either precious or non-precious. Just like gems, precious metals are those that are more rare and, therefore, more valuable, such as gold, platinum, and silver.

Common types of metal used by jewelers

There are dozens of known metals, but jewelers tend to only use a few of them. The most commonly used metals are gold, silver, and platinum. In recent years, stainless steel has become more popular, as more people start to adopt the industrial look. Less commonly used metals include nickel (which can cause allergic reactions in some people), brass, copper, tungsten, titanium, palladium, and rhodium.

Gold jewelry

Gold jewelry is perhaps the most popular metal among jewelers and jewelry aficionados. It’s endlessly customizable and easily workable. Since it’s a soft metal, jewelers must combine it with other metals like copper and zinc. The karat rating lets buyers know how pure the gold is. 24 karat gold is 99.9% pure, 22 karat is 91.7% pure, and so on. White gold and rose gold are particularly stunning choices.

Platinum jewelry

Platinum jewelry has the look of silver, but it’s far rarer and heavier. In fact, platinum typically costs more than gold. It’s a particularly popular choice for custom engagement rings and wedding bands. Any piece of jewelry that is labeled as platinum must have a purity of at least 95%.

Silver jewelry

Silver offers a classic, refined look. Unfortunately, it’s a relatively soft metal. To help it resist damage, jewelers often mix in other metals like copper. To help buyers know exactly how much silver they’re getting, jewelers rate the piece. Fine silver must have a purity level of 99.9%, and sterling silver must have a purity of 92.5%.

F. Silverman Jewelers: committed to fine craftsmanship

For over two decades, jewelry aficionados in Bergen County, NJ have flocked to F. Silverman Jewelers because of our sterling reputation for uncompromising quality and customer care. We work closely with each customer to create stunning custom jewelry. Our trusted jewelers can create custom pieces from scratch, with your designs or ours, and we also reset gems into new metalwork to give vintage heirlooms a new, contemporary look. Call or stop by our shop in Woodcliff Lake, NJ today.

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