and Jewelry Markings
• 14k Yellow Gold:
• 14k White Gold:
• 18k Gold:
Palladium is often overlooked as a great choice for jewelry, especially rings. Palladium is not as expensive as platinum (as of writing this), and it gives a very white color without the need of rhodium plating. It also resists scratches better than gold. It also is very hypoallergenic, so if you have metal allergies, this might be the metal choice for you.
• Tungsten Carbide & Tungsten Carbide TC.850:
There is a "new version" of tungsten carbide called White Tungsten Carbide TC.850. This is a VERY white metal that has all the benefits of normal Tungsten Carbide, but it is extremely white and has a very nice weight to it. This new Tungsten Carbide TC.850 can also be had in a "black" color. This color is derived from a process called Physical vapor deposition (PVD), which deposits thin layers of color in a high temperature , vacuum environment.
• Sterling Silver:
• 10k Gold:
This type of gold is composed of 41.6% gold alloy and 58.4% of either silver, copper, or zinc. The common stamp for this type of gold is simply 10kt, but can sometimes referred to as 416.
• 18k HGE:
This one can be confusing to someone who doesn't have any experience at jewelry karat markings. The "HGE" , "GE", or "HG" stands for hard gold electroplated, the 18k refers to the type of plating, not that the piece of jewelry is actually 18k gold. In other words, a piece of jewelry that is stamped 18k HGE is gold plated costume jewelry with little or no value.
One of our wedding band manufacturers uses authentic Gibeon meteorite. This meteorite was formed millions of years ago and has cooled, crystallized and fallen to Earth. Meteorite consists primarily of iron and can be inlayed into other materials. After wearing a meteorite wedding band, I found that magnets will stick to it!
• Damascus Steel:
Damascus steel is a unique blend of up to 120 layers of two different types of stainless steel. These layers are forged together to make a beautiful, durable band. This ancient metalworking skill makes one-of-a-kind rings you'll love. Damascus steel has extra artistic value, as no two rings are alike.
• Mokume Gane:
Like Damascus steel, Mokume Gane is an ancient metalworking process that creates unique, swirled patterns. Where Damascus steel uses two stainless steels, Mokume Gane uses precious metals. The name Mokume Gane is Japanese for "wood grain", as the precious metals tend to mimic patterns in nature.
• Black Zirconium:
Black Zirconium is usually used in medical applications and nuclear reactors. It is perfect for jewelry because it creates a lustrous black layer when it is heat treated. This layer makes the ring very scratch resistant.
• Gold Filled:
Gold filled jewelry is made from joining or bonding a top layer of gold alloy to a base metal alloy and then rolled or drawn to the thickness required. Gold filled jewelry usually contains less than 5% gold alloy.
Gold filled is sometimes stamped 1/20th 12k gold filled. The "old fashioned" gold filled is much better than the current gold filled being sold. Watch out for items that are gold plated thick enough to be called gold filled.
• Plumb Gold:
Back in the 1970's J.C. Penneys took one of their rings that was stamped 14k and had it tested to determine exactly what it's gold content was. This ring wasn't even close to 14k gold! After that J.C. Penneys and the rest of our industry decided that if a piece of jewelry is stamped a certain karat content it has to be at least that karat content. This plumb gold standard had already been in place for any imported gold jewelry, now because of J.C. Penneys, plumb gold is a standard for all domestic gold jewelery as well. Don't be confused if you see the inside of a ring that is stamped 14k P, this is a slightly older marking meaning 14k gold that is plumb.
Extremely strong and VERY scratch resistant. Actually, ceramic scores 9 out of 10 on the MOH's scale. Lightweight and their shine lasts an incredibly long time. Satin or gloss black finishes on most, with some fancy colors available. Great choice for wedding bands.
• Cobalt Chrome:
VERY shiny silver color with very high resistance to scratching. Cobalt Chrome is hypoallergenic and corrosion resistant as well. Reasonably priced too. Excellent choice for gents wedding bands.
• Rhodium Plating:
On white gold or platinum, rhodium plating usually lasts from 3 to 6 months before starting to wear off. At Steven DiFranco Jewelers, we can re-rhodium your jewelry for a nominal fee. Rhodium plating is done to 99% of the world's white gold and platinum jewelry. Refiners are constantly looking for combinations that will keep white gold and platinum looking "chrome" white without rhodium plating.
• Wear and tear differences:
With appropriate care, 14k gold will give many years of use. Platinum will resist scratches better than white gold, but it bends much easier. Repairs of platinum jewelery will cost much more than gold repairs. The newer alternative metals and ceramics have been out a very short time, so their "track record" can only be guessed. By understanding the materials, these new alternative metals and ceramics have many good traits that should make them last a lifetime.
Federal law insists that all pieces of jewelry have a karat stamp to show what type of metal the piece of jewelry is made of. The law also insists that a manufacturer's mark be on the piece of jewelry to identify who produced the piece. This mark can also be a picture or logo.
• Why does gold discolor or turn your fingers black?
Some people think that only "junk" or "costume" jewelry turns your fingers, neck or wrist a black color. Truthfully, this is not the real reason. It is actually pretty rare when a person is allergic to a type of jewelry metal. If there is a true allergy to the metal, it is with one of the alloys, not the gold, silver or platinum itself. Some of the reasons that a person will "break out" or "turn black" from jewelry are caused by the following: change in body chemistry due to age or pregnancy, change in make-up brand, hand cream, suntan lotion, contact with certain household chemicals, bath oils, body lotions, baby powder, change in or starting a new perscription medication, iron pills, increase in acidic foods or drinks, and an increase or change in coffee and/or tea consumption. Rings that are very wide with openings on their insides will hold some of these materials close to the finger also causing a rash or other problems.
• European and/or Foreign Metal Markings:
In other countries a slightly different type of marking is used on jewelry. These markings are as follows: