Jewelry Trend: Precious Metal Bracelets
Precious metal jewelry is a favorite adornment as well as a treasured possession. Since the time men unearthed the secret to metal craft, precious metal jewelry has been made and worn by men and women of all ages. Irrespective of time and space, the craze for gold, silver, and recently platinum jewelry has been on the rise. Although the patterns and the processes keep changing, the appeal of precious metal jewelry is everlasting.
Eight metals are considered precious: gold, silver, and the six members of the platinum family – platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium.
Precious metals have been a part of human civilization for thousands of years. Often believed to have mystical powers, precious metals have long been appreciated for their value and their beauty. Over time, precious metals came to symbolize wealth, power, and strength.
Precious metal bracelets are the perfect accessory to the backdrop for richly-patterned fabrics, like those we see in fashions for spring and summer 2008.
Throughout history, gold has been the foundation of many monetary systems and remains important to our economy today. Gold is also a popular metal of jewelry designers because of its versatility. It can be molded, shaped and carved into intricate jewelry designs. Its warm color is very appealing, and it doesn't rust, tarnish or corrode. The major source of the world's gold is South Africa.
14k Yellow Gold Basketweave Bracelet
A rich & splendid 14k yellow gold bracelet in basketweave with a high-polish finish is a gorgeous gift for the love of your life. An accessory she would love to show off.
Pure gold is so soft that it is rarely used in jewelry, but rather is mixed with another metal – usually copper or silver – to make a stronger gold alloy, or mixture of metals. The amount of pure gold in an alloy is expressed in karats (versus the carat weight used for measuring diamonds and other gems). The higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the karat. Pure gold is 24K, while 10K gold – the minimum that may legally be called karat gold in the United States – is 10 parts gold to 14 parts other metal. The standard is 14K in the United States, 18K in Europe, and 22K in India, Japan and some other Asian countries.
"Solid gold" refers to an item that contains some gold (at least 10K) and is not hollow. "Gold-filled" is a process by which a layer of gold (at least 10K) is mechanically bonded to a base metal. "Gold-plated" means that an item has a plating (or coating) of gold alloy of at least 10K, though usually less gold than in gold-filled items.
As the karat weight drops, the metal becomes more durable but less yellow. Sometimes gold that is a lower karat weight will be plated in high-karat gold to enhance the color. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you pay a fair price. Keep in mind that gold plating will wear off with time, and the jewelry may need to be re-plated.
The surface of gold jewelry is treated in many ways to enhance the design. Styles like satin, brushed or matte that create soft, lustrous looks to a hammered finish that produces a bright, irregular surface texture offer consumers a variety of looks.
White gold has the same properties as yellow gold, but it has been alloyed with different metals, like nickel, zinc, or platinum to give it a white color.
White gold should not be confused with platinum, which is much rarer than gold and hence more valuable.
14k White Gold Bracelet
This 14k Toggle Art Collection bracelet in white gold is finished with a lobster lock.
The same karat weight system is used for both white gold and yellow gold. While 18k yellow gold and 18k white gold contain the same proportion of gold, only the remaining 25 percent of the alloy is different. Sometimes white gold is plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium (a very rare member of the platinum family), to enhance its appearance.
White gold was developed to give a different look to jewelry. The white color is an excellent setting for very white diamonds, and when used side by side with yellow gold, it creates a striking effect. Jewelry using both white and yellow gold is called "two-tone."
The most precious metal used in jewelry is platinum. Heavier and more durable than gold, platinum is very expensive, and is alloyed with other precious metals for added strength. Platinum jewelry is usually produced from an alloy of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent iridium, two of the precious metals in the platinum family.
Platinum Mesh Cuff Bracelet
This stunning cuff bracelet is made up of brightly polished platinum with 5.5 mm in width and 7 1/4 inch in length.
Because of its purity, platinum is excellent for people who are allergic to other metals. Platinum will never tarnish or wear out, and its light color makes it popular for jewelry. Like white gold, platinum settings make white diamonds appear very bright, but platinum is whiter in color and heavier than white gold.
Used extensively in jewelry throughout the first half of the 20th century, platinum was banned for use in non-military applications during World War II. However, it has enjoyed an enormous resurgence in popularity in recent years. Mined in Africa, Russia and the United States (Montana), platinum is not sold according to karat weight. Platinum jewelry that is stamped with a quality mark also shows the percentage of platinum used in the alloy.
The standard for sterling silver has remained unchanged since 1300, when Edward I of England established an early trade practice for silversmiths, decreeing that sterling must consist of 92.5 percent pure silver alloyed with 7.5 percent copper. The term sterling refers to the composition of the metal.
Sterling Silver Crinkled Coin Bracelet
A lovely bracelet made of twisted shiny sterling silver crinkled coins for those ultra cool occasions.
Silver is much more plentiful than gold, but silver tends to tarnish, making it less popular in some forms of jewelry. Like gold, silver is too soft for use in its pure state and must be combined with other metals for durability. Jewelry made of silver parts and gold parts must carry dual designations, such as Sterling and 10k.