Metals are in great demand for the manufacture of various types of jewellery. Finding precious metals is rather rare nowadays, especially for high-value metals. However, man continues to be fascinated by these metals whether it is to wear them, to sell them… As such, what are the metals most used to make jewellery?
What is a precious metal?
The word precious for a metal does not refer to any particular physico-chemical properties, unlike noble metals. Indeed, the main specificity of precious metals for jewellery is represented by its high economic value, at its market value. The criteria for the value of precious metals are based on the usefulness of its properties (physical and chemical) as well as its rarity. The rarer a metal is and the more useful its properties, the higher its market value and the greater its preciousness.
The different types of precious metals and alloys most commonly used in jewellery
In general, there are three types of metals that are highly prized in jewellery: silver, gold and platinum. However, in jewellery, it is rare to find pure metals to make a piece of jewellery. This is why precious metals for jewellery are often mixed with other metals to ensure its rigidity and strength. This mixture results in an alloy of precious metals with other semi-precious metals or with precious metals as well. For example, pure gold has a soft and malleable appearance. Its alloy with other metals such as silver, copper and palladium gives rise to other metals different in colour and consistency (white gold, yellow gold, pink gold). Platinum, which is more sought after than gold due to its rarity and density with a higher degree of purity, is also mixed with other metals. It can also be mixed with precious stones (diamond, sapphire, ruby, emerald…) to be used and bring out its brilliance and shine.
Properties of precious metals used for jewellery
There are many properties of precious metals, including :
Ductility and malleability: character of metals to be able to be stretched without breaking or fracturing, ability to be crushed, flattened into sheets. Gold and precious metals are known to be very ductile and malleable. This makes it possible to use them in a sheet with a minute thickness.
The inalterability: character to resist oxidation, corrosion, platinum is known for its wear-resistant, stainless and unalterable quality.
The hardness, the density of the metal: allowing resistance to penetration as platinum is a very dense metal as gold.