How to Shop for Metals
How to Shop for Metals
At Depaula's, our jewelry is crafted with only the finest materials, ensuring you a lifetime of value. Learn more about the variety of metals we offer to find the one that is right for you.
Our most popular metal for engagement rings and wedding bands, platinum’s naturally white sheen will never fade or change color, and accentuates the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond. Platinum will last forever, making it the ultimate symbol for true, enduring, and everlasting love.
Density and Durability
Platinum is durable. Its density makes it the most secure setting for your diamond or precious gemstone. All our platinum rings are crafted with platinum prongs for setting loose diamonds. Because platinum is a naturally white metal, re-plating is unnecessary; it will always hold its beauty.
Though it is the strongest of jewelry metals, platinum can incur a scratch and develop a patina of wear. The patina is considered by many to be a unique and often desirable attribute. However, the pre-patina shine and reflective luster can easily be revived by merely buffing it with a soft cloth.
Purity of Platinum
Platinum jewelry is very rare; in fact, 30 times more so than gold. Our platinum is 95% pure (5% iridium, palladium, ruthenium, and other alloys), and its purity makes it naturally hypoallergenic, ideal for those with sensitive skin issues.
How to Maintain Platinum's Metal Luster
It's easy. Simply soak platinum in a mild solution of warm soapy water, and then gently scrub it with a soft-bristled brush.
Gold has an extraordinary heritage with unique qualities. As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Although gold is very strong, it's also the most malleable of all precious metals.
Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability. Karatage, denoted by a number followed by "k" indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.
We craft our jewelry using both 18k and 14k gold. 18k gold is composed of 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough for everyday wear. 14k gold is composed of 58.3% gold and 41.7% of other metals.
The color of gold is determined by two factors:
- The type of metal alloys included
- The percentage of each metal alloy
Natural gold and color-saturated alloys are what give yellow gold jewelry its rich shine. The alloys most commonly used, are copper with a red hue, and silver featuring a green hue. An expert mixture of copper, silver and pure gold gives this precious metal its signature warmth.
A silvery white character is what makes white gold jewelry so appealing. In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. Although strong, rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that can be done to restore whiteness to your jewelry.
The beautiful pink hue of rose gold jewelry is created by using a copper alloy. Again, the overall percentages of metal alloys is the same for rose gold as it is for yellow or white, there is just a different mixture in what alloys are used.
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Gold, element Au, was one of the first known metals. The gold standard defines the world's currency system, whereby money represents a value in gold.
24 karat = 100% gold
Too soft for fine jewelry
22 karat = 91.7% gold
Too soft for fine jewelry
18 karat = 75.0% gold
Ideal for fine jewelry
14 karat = 58.3% gold
Ideal for fine jewelry
10 karat = 41.7% gold
Not acceptable for jewelry
Gold jewelry prices are dependent upon the purity of the gold used or karat weight, the market value of gold, and the level of craftsmanship and design of each jewelry piece.
Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend that you remove your jewelry when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster. To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush. When not worn, store your gold pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.
The silver jewelry and accessories available at Depaula's are made of beautiful sterling silver. For our collection, we have chosen classic designs created by some of the finest silver craftsmen. This guide will help you learn to identify quality in silver jewelry and accessories.
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable, and easily damaged so it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Although any metal can make up the 7.5 percent non-silver portion of sterling, centuries of experimentation have shown copper to be its best companion, improving the metal's hardness and durability without affecting its beautiful color. The small amount of copper added to sterling has very little effect on the metal's value. Instead, the price of the silver item is affected by the labor involved in making the item, the skill of the craftsperson, and the intricacy of the design.
Stamps of Quality
Most high quality silver items are stamped with a "fineness" or "quality" mark. This mark designates the precious metal content of the jewelry, and under federal law, must be accompanied by a maker's mark or registered trademark.
Because pure silver is so soft, it should only be used when malleability is required, such as in handcrafted jewelry featuring weaving and other intricate designs. Sterling silver is most often used for jewelry and household accessories because of its combination of beauty and durability. Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver include:
- sterling silver
With proper care, your fine quality silver will last a lifetime. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewelry either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.
Clean Your Silver Regularly
Care should also be taken to prevent silver tarnish build-up, a dulling that naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the ambient air. To clean your silver, use polishes formulated specifically to remove tarnish. You can find fine silver polishes, solutions, or cloths appropriate to remove tarnish at most hardware stores or specialty craft stores. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible. Although wearing your silver jewelry often is the best way to prevent tarnish from building up, regular cleanings of all your silver items will prevent tarnish and keep your silver bright and sparkling. Look for the fineness mark and the maker's mark on the underside of the silver item you are considering to ensure the quality.