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Metal Education

About Metals 


PLATINUM:

Platinum is 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.

Platinum's Patina

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:

Gold Purity, Color, Pricing, And Care

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.

Purity

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.

Color

The color of gold is determined by two factors:

• The type of metal alloys included

• The percentage of each metal alloy

Yellow Gold

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.

White Gold

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.

White Gold With Black Rhodium

Black rhodium is plated to white gold creating a rich black appearance that is extremely hard and strong. As with traditional white rhodium, black rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that LemJewelers offers to restore your jewelry's black finish.

Rose Gold

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.

Vermeil

Rich in golden color, many of our fine jewelry pieces are crafted with vermeil. The industry standard definition of vermeil is sterling silver that is plated with 10k gold with a minimum of 2.5 microns in thickness for longwearing durability. At LemJewelers, we strive to offer a higher quality to our customers. Our vermeil pieces feature 14k to 24k gold.

For More Information...

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

Our 18k and 14k gold jewelry is intricately crafted into beautiful pieces for every occasion or style.

Pricing

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.

Care

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.


SILVER:

Sterling silver is the standard for beautiful high-quality silver jewelry. It's over 90% pure silver, mixed with alloys to add strength and durability. And it won't wear down, as silver plating can.

Sterling Silver

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.

Silver Alloys

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

• sterling silver

• ster

• .925

Care

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 buying.


PALLADIUM:

Palladium, one of the rarest metals in the world, is a member of the Platinum Group Metals. These metals are also referred to as "Noble Metals" due to their superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation. Palladium, which is listed on the Periodic Table of elements, is lighter in weight than its sister metal, Platinum. A naturally white metal, Palladium is hypoallergenic, will not tarnish and remains white forever. Palladium is 95% pure when used in jewelry, is extremely durable and does not require alloy metals and/or plating for protection, which ensures that it will remain white as long as you own your jewelry.

BUYER'S TIP:

Using a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing your jewelry with a soft-bristled brush is usually all that is required to maintain Palladium's natural beauty and luster.


TUNGSTEN CARBIDE:

Unique in appeal and strong by design, tungsten carbide is a forged metal with qualities that will last a lifetime. Tungsten carbide jewelry is created from an alloy of 80% elemental Tungsten and 20% Carbon alloyed with other metals.

LemJewelers offers two colors of tungsten carbide rings, a classic gray and a lustrous white, both of which will hold a permanent polish. Tungsten is exceptionally strong, hypoallergenic, highly scratch-resistant, and tarnish-resistant with a substantial feel in weight. It is ideally suited for someone with an active lifestyle.

Care and Polishing

Care

Since tungsten and carbon are natural elements, this jewelry will be 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 polish. To clean tungsten carbide jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft cloth. When not worn, store your tungsten pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.

Polishing

The tungsten alloy used in jewelry is extremely hard, so it does not scratch easily. If scratched, the jewelry piece will need special reconditioning; a complimentary service provided by LemJewelers.


COBALT:

Made from a highly durable alloy, cobalt is four times harder than platinum while at the same time, less dense. Because of its natural hardness, cobalt jewelry is extremely scratch, chip and corrosion-resistant. Its lower density and natural malleability allow for strong, dynamic designs with less weight. Cobalt is also hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin or an active lifestyle.

At LemJewelers, we offer two finishes: a rich blackened color as well as a natural, lustrous white, both of which will hold a lifelong polish. Similar to platinum in color, cobalt does not require rhodium plating and does not tarnish.

Care and Polishing While scratch-resistant, all metal will show a natural wear pattern with time. If scratched, your cobalt jewelry can be reconditioned, a complimentary service provided by Blue Nile.

Shop our cobalt jewelry collection.

QUICK TIP:

• Hypoallergenic

• Shatterproof

• Scratch-resistant


TANTALUM:

Rare, pure, and strong, tantalum is dense, shatterproof and extremely malleable—characteristics that set it apart from other contemporary metals. In its natural state, tantalum is beautiful gray with a bluish tint, but a special patent pending ceramic glaze is applied to it when used as jewelry to give the metal a matte black look and enhance its scratch-resistance. Tantalum is an inert metal, which means that it does not react to most chemicals and does not dissolve in acid. It is also hypoallergenic and heat-resistant and is widely used in surgical and dental equipment.

Care and PolishingTo clean tantalum jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft cloth. When not worn, store your tantalum pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure. Tantalum does not tarnish, and while scratch-resistant, may develop a natural wear pattern over time.