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Precious Metals Guide

Precious Metals

Introduction to Precious Metals

Mokume Gane and Damascus Stainless Steel wedding bands, engagement and commitment rings and sets, and men's rings by Andrew Nyce Designs can be paired with a variety of precious metal alloys.

Alloy - a homogeneous mixture of two or more metals, where the resulting material has specific properties and characteristics (e.g., higher hardness, corrosion-resistance) that are more desirable than those of the pure, elemental metals.

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are rare metallic elements. These precious metals are durable, extremely corrosion- and oxidation-resistant, and have high economic value.

  • Silver (Ag) is a lustrous, malleable white metal.
  • Gold (Au) is a soft metal with a characteristic yellowish color and sheen.
  • Palladium (Pd) is a lustrous, silver-white metal.
  • Platinum (Pt) is a silvery-white metal that is both malleable and ductile.

Although an investment in precious metal wedding, engagement and commitment rings may seem expensive, their value as a symbol of your love will endure for a lifetime.

Andrew Nyce Designs is proud to offer a wide selection of precious metal alloys for use in designing your unique Mokume Gane or Damascus Stainless Steel ring.

By selecting precious metal alloy channels, liners, edges, or gemstone settings in your ring design, you are able to frame the Mokume Gane or Damascus Stainless Steel bands to either subtle or striking effect.

In addition, our Mokume Gane color compositions incorporate carefully selected combinations of precious metal alloys that range from vibrant to subtle and elegant to modern.

Gold
Platinum
Palladium
Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver (Pd-SS)
Mokume Gane
Color Scale for White Metals
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Gold

Gold and Gold AlloysGold is malleable, durable, hypoallergenic, and tarnish-resistant. 24 karat is the gold standard and represents gold in its purest form (99.9+% pure gold). Although pure gold possesses a highly desirable deep, full yellow color, it is too soft to effectively be used for making rings. Therefore, alloying pure gold with other metals improves its mechanical properties such as strength and durability.

Typically, 18K gold is composed of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals while 14K gold contains 58.33% pure gold and 41.67% other metals. Palladium, nickel, silver, and copper are alloyed with pure gold to create a variety of colored golds. For example, adding copper imparts a reddish, pink hue while adding silver results in a greener shade of yellow.

Alloying not only changes the properties and color of gold, but also the cost. Generally, using lower cost alloying metals results in lower pure gold content and, thus, lower overall cost.

Andrew Nyce Designs offers 14K and 18K yellow gold, 14K and 18K palladium white gold, as well as 14K white gold.

 

Yellow Gold (RY-Gold)

Royal Yellow Gold18K gold is considered the industry standard for high-quality jewelry and is favored by European jewelers. Andrew Nyce Designs offers both 14K and 18K yellow gold. Our 18K gold, known as Royal Yellow, exhibits a rich yellow color with a slightly greener hue. The 14K yellow provides a warm yellow color with a slightly pinker hue.

Although 18K yellow gold is more valuable and tends to have a deeper color, 14K yellow gold tends to be stronger and more durable. On the down side, 14K gold is more likely to tarnish compared to 18K yellow gold.

 

White Gold

White GoldWhite gold is an alloy made by adding at least one white metal such as nickel, palladium, or silver to pure gold. 18K white gold is mix of 75% pure gold and 25% white metal. Andrew Nyce Designs offers 14K and 18K palladium white gold as well as 14K nickel white gold.

Compared to yellow gold, white gold is stronger and more durable. It is also more scratch-resistant. Compared to platinum, white gold has several advantages including lower cost and lighter weight.

In general, palladium white gold has a warmer color than nickel white gold, but is more expensive.

For engagement rings, white gold complements the brilliance of diamonds.

 

Palladium White Gold (PW-Gold)

Palladium White GoldAndrew Nyce Designs offers both 14K and 18K white gold alloyed with palladium. The 14K palladium white gold provides a cool, gray tint, whereas 18K palladium white gold appears lighter, whiter. Palladium white gold alloys are soft and pliable.

Compared to nickel white gold, palladium white gold is hypoallergenic and holds its white color better. Palladium white gold is a good choice for white gold gemstone settings.

 

Nickel White Gold (W-Gold)

14K White Gold Alloyed with NickelAndrew Nyce Designs offers 14K white gold alloyed with nickel. The nickel white gold tends to have a colder white color.

About one in eight people have allergies to the nickel used in white gold alloys. Reactions include itching and swelling where the metal comes in contact with the skin. Although white gold alloys containing palladium generally are not allergenic, they are slightly more expensive.

 

Red/Rose Gold (R-Gold)

Red, Rose or Pink GoldRed gold is a gold and copper alloy with a distinctive reddish color. It is also known as pink or rose gold. Typically, 18K red gold is composed of 75% pure gold, 21% copper, and 4% pure silver while 14K red gold contains 58.33% pure gold and 41.67% copper.

Higher karat red gold alloys (18K or higher) are lighter in color than lower karat alloys (14K) because there is more pure gold (yellow) than copper (red). In other words, the higher the copper content, the deeper and richer the red hue. Andrew Nyce Designs offers both 14K and 18K red gold.

Red gold can be used to complement colored diamonds. From a price perspective, red gold is similar to the more traditional and common yellow gold.

 

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Platinum (Pt)

PlatinumPlatinum (Pt) possesses a brilliant white luster. Platinum will not tarnish and is extremely durable. Platinum is a neutral metal and is an alternative for those who have skin sensitivities to other metals. Platinum purity is given relative to 1000 parts. Thus 950 platinum contains 950 parts platinum out of 1000; it is 95% pure platinum with either iridium or ruthenium added to impart hardness. Lower purity platinum alloys (90% and below) may change the color of the platinum or lower its durability.

Platinum and white gold are similar in color. However, platinum is more durable and lightweight than white gold and has a higher resistance to tarnish and scratches. Platinum will scratch, but no material is lost as is the case with gold. More importantly, over time, platinum will not wear away or wear down, as does gold.

For engagement rings, platinum’s luster is a perfect complement to the brilliance of a diamond. As a gemstone setting, platinum does not wear away and holds gemstones firmly and securely.

Andrew Nyce Designs is proud to offer 950 platinum as a ring option for channels, liners, edges, or gemstone settings.

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Palladium (Pd)

PalladiumPalladium (Pd) is a member of the platinum group. Palladium is lightweight, durable, hypoallergenic, and resists tarnishing. Palladium is considered a white metal, although it appears light gray in color compared to platinum-enhanced sterling silver or 14K white gold.

Andrew Nyce Designs uses two types of Palladium: 950 Palladium (950 Pd) and Palladium 500 (Pd500). The 950 palladium alloy is a mixture of pure palladium (95%) and another platinum group metal, ruthenium (5%). Palladium 500 is a new alloy comprised of 50% Palladium with the remainder being Silver and Copper.

Palladium can be used as a replacement for platinum or white gold. Compared to platinum, palladium is lighter in weight, harder, and much less expensive. Palladium, like platinum, is much more durable than white gold.

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Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver (Pt-SS)

Palladium Enhanced Sterling SilverBecause fine silver (99.9% pure) is so soft and malleable, it is rarely used for jewelry. By mixing silver with other metals, the resulting alloy is stronger while preserving both the ductility of the silver as well as the high precious metal content. Common sterling silver is made from a mixture of fine silver (92.5%) and copper (7.5%). Sterling silver tends to tarnish and discolor very easily.

Palladium-enhanced sterling silver (or palladium sterling) is a relatively new alloy comprised of fine silver (92.5%), palladium (3%), and copper (4.5%). The alloy was created by Hoover and Strong in 2008. Andrew Nyce Designs is proud to offer this new alloy.

Aesthetically, palladium-enhanced sterling silver has the bright white look of white gold, but at a fraction of the cost. Compared to white gold or platinum, palladium-enhanced sterling silver is a more affordable alternative for channels or liners on rings by Andrew Nyce Designs.

Palladium-enhanced sterling silver has the added benefit of having greater tarnish resistance than traditional sterling silver.

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Mokume Gane

Precious Metal Mokume GaneAndrew Nyce Designs offers distinctive precious metals Mokume Gane compositions that are made and patterned by Andrew in our studio. The two-, three- and four-tone color combinations represent a carefully selected variety of contrasting and subtle colors that are certain to meet both the personal style and taste of the most discerning wedding, engagement and commitment ring customers.

Contrasts can be seen in the Mokume Gane compositions that showcase yellow and red golds against more monochromatic colors:

  • Santa Fe (3-tone 14K Red Gold and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver
  • Coronado Accented (3-tone 14K Red Gold and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Canyonlands TriGold (3-tone 18K Royal Yellow Gold, 14K Red Gold and 14K Palladium White Gold)
  • Maui Sunset (4-tone 18K Royal Yellow Gold, 14K Red Gold, and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)

Both soft and stunning monochromatic effects can be seen in the Glacial Mist and Ashes and Snow Mokume Gane compositions. Andrew Nyce Designs offers two versions of these Mokumes:

  • Glacial Mist - PW Mokume (2-tone 14K Palladium White Gold with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Glacial Mist - Palladium Mokume (2-tone Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Ashes and Snow - Platinum Mokume (3-tone 950 Platinum, 14K Palladium White Gold with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Ashes and Snow - Palladium Mokume (3-tone 950 Palladium and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Monterey Accented Mokume (3-tone 950 Palladium and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)

Compositions comprised of yellow gold with white metals create a visually appealing, sometimes dramatic, effect:

  • Taos Sunset Mokume (3-tone 18K Royal Yellow Gold and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)
  • Catalina Accented Mokume (3-tone 18K Royal Yellow Gold and Palladium 500 with Pd-enhanced Sterling Silver)

Mokume compositions containing Palladium 500 offer an exceptional value at an attractive price, while illuminating the elegance and beauty of Mokume Gane.

You also can expand your ring design creativity by pairing your Mokume Gane band with a precious metal channel, liner, edges or gemstone setting. The possibilities are endless.

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Color Scale for White Metals

Color Scale for White MetalsAndrew Nyce Designs offers a spectrum of white metals in our Mokume Gane color palettes as well as for ring design options such as channels, liners, edges and gemstone settings.

The properties and qualities of these metal alloys have been provided in previous sections above. When designing your ring, it is helpful for you to visualize how the metals compare with each other within the white color range. A comparative color scale of the white metal alloys offered by Andrew Nyce Designs is provided below:

white-metal-scale
  • Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver [lightest/whitest]
  • 14K White Gold and Palladium 500
  • 950 Platinum
  • 950 Palladium
  • 18K Palladium White Gold
  • 14K Palladium White Gold [rich/cool gray]
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