WHICH METAL IS THE MOST SUITABLE FOR ME?
The best metal varies on a case by case basis, budget, utility, and really personal preference. Where as silver jewelry is the most affordable option, The most utilitarian gold is 14kt for numerous reasons including its strength, malleability, versatility, color and Beauty. If you are considering purchasing a pendant and do not trust yourself with an expensive chain or necklace, start with sterling silver. If you are allergic to most metals, consider an alloy with little to no nickel and that would be 18K gold.
KARATS IN GOLD
Karat is the unit used to measure the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24kt, or 100% gold. 18kt contains 75% gold (18/24=.75) and 14kt contains 58.5% gold. The reason alloys get added to gold is to make them strong. 24kt is very soft, making it not very ideal for everyday wear. Thus, many jewelers opt to work in 14kt and 18kt which are both very strong.
14kt White Gold: 14kt white gold contains 58.5% pure gold and 41.5% alloys. 14kt’s natural color is off white, so it gets rhodium plated to get a bright white color. 14k white gold is a very strong and durable metal and is the most cost effective option for someone who wants white toned jewelry.
14kt Yellow Gold: 14kt yellow gold is pale yellow or golden in color. 14kt yellow gold is a great metal for everyday wear.
18kt White Gold: 18kt white gold contains 75% gold and 25% alloy. Because 18kt has more gold, it is going to be slightly softer than 14kt. It will also have more of a yellow tint, making you notice when the rhodium coating begins to wear off sooner than you would with 14kt.
18kt Yellow Gold: 18kt yellow gold is a very beautiful color as it is very rich and more yellow than 14kt yellow gold. We recommend 18kt yellow gold if you are going for a more saturated color for your piece.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TYPES OF SILVER?
In addition to sterling silver, which contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper alloy, there are many different varieties and grades of silver in production throughout the world:
NTSS Non-Tarnish Sterling Silver and Argentium silver: The term Argentium refers to a silver alloy patented in 1998. Argentium is a brand of modern tarnish-resistant silver alloys, also referred to as Non-Tarnish Sterling Silver (NTSS). Non Tarnish Sterling Silver contains either 93.5% or 96% silver. Argentium and NTSS alloys replace some of the copper alloys with germanium (Symbol: Ge). Argentium Silver’s patent of its using percentages of zinc and boron differentiates the brand of alloy from generic NTSS offered by similar casting grain manufacturers. Both Argentium alloys exceed the standard required for hallmarking as sterling silver and Argentium silver 960 meets the standard for hallmarking as Britannia silver (95.84% silver). Your Sterling Silver or NTSS Nautical Treasure Jewelry can be hallmarked “SS”, “.925”, ”.935” along with the Nautical Treasure Registered Trademark Logo.
Fine silver: This type of silver has a silver content of 99.9% or higher. Fine silver is much too soft to be used in everyday applications, such as jewelry or tableware. This premium class of silver is used to make bullion bars for international commerce.
Britannia silver: A higher grade than sterling silver, Britannia has a silver content of at least 95.84%. Originating as a standard in Britain as far back as 1697, Britannia silver is denoted by a hallmark stamp of "958" to indicate its silver content, sometimes accompanied by the symbol of Britannia.
Mexican silver: Another premium silver, Mexican silver consists of at least 95% pure silver and 5% copper. This elite form of the metal is not currently in wide circulation in Mexico; most of the silver jewelry and accents sold in Mexican marketplaces is forged from 92.5% sterling.
Coin silver: Composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, coin silver is made from melting down standard silver coins. Lower in silver content than sterling, this metal was widely used as silver tableware in the United States between 1820 and 1868, and as common currency until 1964.
German silver: This term is usually used to refer to 800-standard silver, which consists of 80% silver and is commonly used for silverware, silver tableware, and decorative silver accents. 900-standard silver is another higher-grade version of German silver, and has a 90% silver content.
Sterling Silver: Sterling silver is a very common metal and very affordable. Sterling silver is the only metal in this list that tarnishes, or changes color. You can slow the process of tarnishing by keeping your silver jewelry dry, not showering or swimming in it or letting any chemicals (hair spray, sunscreen, etc.) come in contact with it. Tarnish only occurs on the surface, so you can have your sterling silver jewelry re-polished to make it bright white and shiny again.
Sterling is a great metal for men, women and children particularly for those who are not used to wearing jewelry and are afraid they may lose their investment.
WHY CHOOSE SILVER?
Custom silver jewelry is an excellent alternative to its more valuable precious metal cousin gold. For centuries men and women have adorn jewelry made from Sterling silver. When cared for and properly maintained, Silver jewelry will yield generations of enjoyment.