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Education » Precious Metals

At Personal Touch Jewelers, we offer a selection of precious metals including Yellow Gold, White Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Sterling Silver. The following are some commonly asked questions:

What is the difference between 14 karat and 18 karat gold?

The word “karat”, abbreviated ‘kt’, refers to the percentage of precious metal. One hundred percent is equivalent to 24 kts. To calculate the amount of precious metal, just divide the karat number by 24. For example, 14 kt divided by 24 equals 58.3% gold. Gold is commonly sold as 10kt, 14kt, 18kt and 24kt. Gold is a soft metal, so the purer it is the softer it is. That’s why rings and other daily-wear jewelry are generally made of 14 and 18kt gold, rather than 24kt.

If my gold chain is only 58% gold, what else is it made of?

The rest of the metal consists of many different alloys, including but not limited to silver, zinc, copper, and nickel.

Why do I break out in a rash when I wear chains and bracelets?

Most people are actually allergic to the alloys in jewelry, rather than the gold. Therefore an alternative would be to purchase a purer gold like 18kt or platinum, which is non-allergenic.

What is the difference between white and yellow gold?

Gold is mined as a yellow metal. To make it white, a nickel alloy is added. The piece is then commonly rhodium-plated to give it a shiny finish. Since gold is not naturally white, white gold will begin to lose its color over time. Most white gold jewelry can be replated to restore its original look.

White gold and platinum are visually hard to tell apart. How do they differ?

When buying new, it is very difficult to visually see differences between white gold and platinum. However, they are very different metals. Platinum is both the rarest and heaviest of the precious metals. In fact, almost ten tons of ore is mined to produce only one pure ounce of platinum. It weighs nearly twice as much as gold. Unlike gold, platinum is very pure, typically 90-95%. It never tarnishes nor loses its white luster. Platinum is durable but it can be scratched. Unlike gold, no metal is lost and it can be polished to its original state. Finally, gold and platinum differ greatly in price. Markets for both are constantly fluctuating, but you can expect to pay 2 to 3 times more for platinum.