Precious Metals

When designing custom made jewellery you will also need to decide what metal to use. Options include gold (yellow or white) and platinum. Follow the links to learn about the various metals available to choose from. As a general guide, most people choose the colour of the metal based on the jewellery they commonly wear. If you wear both colours, you may wish to consider jewellery with a combination of white and yellow metals.

Read about the difference between White Gold and Platinum to discover the advantages and disadvantages of both metals.

You may also like read about the difference between 9 carat gold and 18 carat, to help you decide which carat to have your jewellery made in.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold, that contains at least one other white metal, such as silver and palladium, to transform it into a white colour. (An alloy of metal is a mixture of several metallic elements that are used in different quantities to create the desired colour). Similar to yellow gold, the pureness of the white gold is measured by Karat. Our white gold jewellery collection is manufactured from mainly 18K white gold which is 75% pure gold and 25% various other white coloured metals.

Since there is significant amount of pure gold in the alloy, it will always appear “yellowish” to ’pale grey’. As a result, in order to enhance its colour, the white gold goes through a ‘Rhodium Plating’ process. The Rhodium plating will coat the white gold with a thin layer of rhodium to give it greater depth of colour and shine. However the plating will wear off during time and re-plating will be necessary every 12 to 18 months. This simple process is part of the service that we provide, and will restore your jewellery’s whiteness back.

Customarily Nickel is used in white gold alloys. However it has found to cause somewhat strong reactions amongst some people, as a result our white gold alloys are Nickel free.

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Yellow Gold

In its natural state, pure Gold is a bright yellow colour. Being too soft to be used in jewellery on its own, it is mixed or alloyed with other metals to make it durable and hard-wearing. Alloying gold generates various colours, from white to rose colours. Gold is one of the most malleable metals ever found, which makes it the metal of choice for making jewellery.

18ct yellow gold (stamped 750) is composed of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals, such as zinc, copper and silver. 14ct yellow gold (stamped 14ct) is composed of 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% of other metals. And the 9ct (stamped 9ct) is 37.5% gold and the rest other metals. It is commonly believed that 9ct gold is harder to wear than the 18ct. This, in fact, it is a mistaken belief. The actual percentage of gold content is not the dominant factor which determines how hard the metal is. Rather, it is the type of metals the gold has been alloyed with.

The vast proportion of engagement and gold wedding rings are produced using 18ct yellow gold. The reason behind this is that the proportion of pure gold found in the 18ct is much higher (75%) than the 9ct (37.5%), hence the everlasting rich and shining yellow colour it displays.

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The word Platinum comes from the Spanish word platina, which means “little silver” and is the metal choice of jewellery connoisseurs. In contrast to Gold, Platinum used in jewellery is virtually in its pure form (around 95%). This vivid white metal exhibits superior characteristics that differentiate its self from Gold. For instance, Platinum is extremely hard-wearing, very dense and heavy metal, and comparatively speaking a piece of Platinum jewellery feels heavier than an 18ct Gold jewellery. Platinum, unlike 18ct white gold, being white colour in its pure form does not need to be rhodium plated in order to revitalise its brilliant white colour.

Platinum is however considerably more expensive than Gold. In fact a Platinum engagement ring compared to an 18ct white gold ring, with exact same details, will be almost twice the price.

Platinum’s appeal and reputation amongst famous people has made it a fashionable option to use in engagement rings and wedding rings.

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White Gold vs Platinum

Platinum vs. White Gold: which one to choose?

One of the intriguing questions most often arising, when deciding on a piece of white colour jewellery, is whether to have it made in Platinum or White Gold. Both metals, being white, look identical to a certain extent, however the similarities end there.

To simplify the decision, we have outlined two factors to take into consideration before deciding on the type of metal.

  • The Colour of white Gold is somewhat light grey, as a result of being an alloy of mixed metals. Therefore in order to revive that brilliant white colour, White Gold goes through the process of Rhodium Plating. It is then that the surface of the metal becomes shiny with a pure white colour. The shininess, however, will fade away gradually, and every 12 to 18 months new Rhodium Plating will be required to restore its lustre. Most Jewellers tend to charge for Rhodium Plating. At Raffini Jewellers, however, we offer this service free of charge as part of our lifetime guaranty. In contrast to White Gold, Platinum is white in its pure form, hence Rhodium plating is not required. Platinum tends to scratch easily, therefore in order to restore your platinum jewellery back to its original condition it is advisable that it be polished every 18 months. Again, at Raffini jewellers we offer this free service as part of our commitment to provide a high standard of customer service.
  • The Cost is the most crucial factor affecting in the decision in regards to the choice of metal. Platinum is very dense and its density is roughly twice that of Gold. As a result an engagement ring made from platinum will weigh roughly twice as much as an engagement ring made from Gold. The platinum ring feels much heavier and plusher on the finger.
    As a result, the density factor will weigh in on the cost. A piece of jewellery made from Platinum will cost much more than Gold. A Platinum ring, in fact, is more than double the cost of a gold ring.

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18ct Gold vs 9ct Gold

The difference between 18ct and 9ct Gold?

The main point of difference between the 18ct and 9ct Gold is the amount of pure Gold present in them. 18ct gold jewellery is comprised of 75% of pure gold and the remaining 25% is made up of other metals, such as copper and silver. In contrast 9ct gold jewellery contains 37.5% pure Gold and the remaining 62.5% of other metals, such as silver, palladium and zinc. Consequently 18ct gold contains three-quarter pure Gold while the 9ct one third.

Other factors that differentiate 18ct gold from 9ct is the colour. 18ct Gold jewellery, because of the significant presence of pure Gold in it, retains its shiny colour significantly longer than 9ct. In contrast, 9ct gold jewellery tends to tarnish and discolour. The reason is the low content of pure Gold and high content of other metals.

As a result, the high proportion of pure gold in 18ct gold jewellery makes it more expensive than the 9ct gold jewellery.

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In recent times sterling silver jewellery has seen an upsurge in popularity amongst fashion savvy consumers. Sterling Silver has all the right attributes to be considered as the metal of choice for costume jewellery.

Fine Silver is one of the most common precious metals ever found thus far, and its abundance in nature makes it an inexpensive one. Fine Silver, or Pure Silver, is rarely used for jewellery, because it is very soft. As a result, the most common used Silver in jewellery is Sterling Silver, which is 92.5 % Pure Silver and 7.5% copper. Comparatively Silver weighs around half the weight of Gold, and it possesses greater flexibility.

However, Sterling Silver unlike Gold tends to tarnish over time, especially in hot, humid climate. As It contains 7.5% copper, it will react with air pollutants, Tarnishing the surface of the Sterling Silver jewellery. Thus it is not advisable to wear as everyday jewellery.

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Mokume Gane

Mokume gane is an ancient Japanese art of carving different multi layered metals, that have been fused together, resulting in unique and breathe taking patterns. The striking distinctiveness of Mokum gane is in the diverse possibilities of expression the finished product may exhibit.

The Japanese word translates to English as ‘’wood-grain metal’’. The process of creating Mokume gane was originated around 17th century by the highly skilled sword craftsmen. Later on, as the weaponry technology evolved, Mokume gane craftsmen pursued their creative passion for decorative items such as jewellery.

Mokume gane rings can be made from a wide range of different precious metals, from Platinum, Gold, Bronze, Titanium and assorted colours of Gold.

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Rose Gold

Rose Gold is an alloy comprising of a small amount of Copper that gives its unique reddish colouration. In some quarters, Rose Gold is incorrectly labelled as Pink Gold and Red Gold, however, the latter colours are produced by mixing different proportions of Copper, which affects the intensity of the red colour. 18ct Rose Gold, commonly used in jewellery is 75% pure gold and 25% Copper.

Rose Gold became fashionable in the late 19th century, mainly in Russia with the ’’ Russian Wedding Rings “design’’. This design comprises of white, yellow and rose gold wedding rings intertwined to symbolise unity and the elements.

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The hardest natural metal ever found is Titanium. It is harder than steel and yet much lighter. One of the great attributes for using titanium in jewellery is its resilience to scratches and knocks. It is very safe for people with skin allergies to metals. As a result Titanium is gradually becoming a popular choice for wedding rings.

The method for which Titanium is used in making jewellery is very different compared to other precious metals. For instance, because of its extreme hardness and strength, Titanium cannot be soldered, bent or filed. Also, when purchasing a Titanium ring, you have to bear in mind the fact that resizing it will be virtually impossible.

The most popular jewellery made with Titanium is wedding rings. Men are predominantly more attracted to Titanium than women because its strength and resilience makes it last far longer than other precious metal jewellery.

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