An Introduction to Precious Metals
There are lots of questions when it comes to picking out your new favorite ring. The first question you will be faced with is: what metal is best for me? We’ve compiled all the information you need to pick out the perfect ring for your lifestyle and budget. This article will help you understand the pros and cons of different metal types.
What is a Precious Metal?
We have all heard of precious and semi-precious metals, but how many of us actually know the difference between the two?
Here at Rockford Collection we only use precious metals in our pieces.The main four precious metals are
We’ll dive into the specifics of each precious metal further down in the article. The semi-precious metal category consists of many metals, including Copper, Titanium, Iron, Nickel, and more. These metals are most commonly used in manufacturing and are not as widely used in high end jewelry.
The biggest differences between a precious metal and a semi-precious metal are
- Currency exchange
For example, semi-precious metals are more common, less valuable, and in most cases, cannot replace currency. On the contrary, precious metals are more rare, more valuable, and can be used as currency.
Which precious metal is most expensive?
Precious metal pricing is dependent on three key factors: supply, demand, and industry behavior. Although prices can vary, there are a few precious metal pricing trends that are reliable no matter what. For example, gold is usually 20x more valuable than silver per gram, and has historically held a positive price trend. This means that after a long period of time, the price of gold will almost always be higher than when you bought it. Similarly, rhodium is usually 15-20x more expensive than gold. Despite this, it is nearly impossible to name one metal as the “most expensive” due to constant fluctuations in price.
The Rockford Standard
Wondering what type of metals are used by Rockford Collection? We’re glad you asked! When looking to invest in a Rockford piece, you have a few different options of metals to choose from. Rockford Collection prides itself on the fact that we use nothing but the finest of precious metals for our jewelry manufacturing. All Rockford Collection pieces are available in 14k gold, 18k gold, or platinum.
The Top Four Precious Metals
In the jewelry industry, there are really only 4 precious metals you need to know about- Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Rhodium. These are the most common precious metals and can be found in nearly any jewelry shop around the world. Let us take a deeper look at the similarities and differences between these four iconic metals.
Of all the precious metals, Gold is undisputedly the most widely known metal of the group. Used for everything from currency to jewelry to even food garnishes, Gold has been involved in nearly every aspect of human life for centuries. Dating back to the oldest century, gold has been revered as a symbol of wealth. From ancient Egyptians, who believed the metal to hold divine and magical powers, to modern day musicians who revere gold as a sign of virility, gold has been an age-old symbol of status and success. This brings us to the question of: why? What is so special about gold that has allowed it to permeate so deeply into the human experience of the 21st century and beyond? Get ready, because what you learn next might surprise you.
(Gold ring image)
Gold is out of this world. No, literally, the mineral of Gold cannot be manufactured on Earth. You read that right. Gold comes from meteorites that once collided with the Earth’s surface, leaving behind deposits of limited, invaluable mineral in various places around our planet.
Gold is used in jewelry mainly due to its beauty and versatility. Gold is able to be stretched, melted, hammered, and shaped in a variety of ways. Gold is inert, meaning that it cannot rust, tarnish, or deteriorate. Finally, as we mentioned earlier, gold doesn’t drop in value; it either stays the same or goes up. With all these factors combined, it is clear to see why gold has been the go-to choice for jewelry making throughout history.
What makes gold different from other precious metals? The biggest difference between gold and other precious metals is that gold can be mixed with other metal alloys to change its purity and carat weight- resulting in the common gold weights like 14 carat, 18 carat, and 24 carat gold. Alloy mixing also allows jewelers to get creative with the shade of the gold’s color- resulting in white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. These alloy mixtures allow gold to be sold at different price points, making it the ideal metal for almost any budget. All Rockford Collection rings are available in 14k or 18k gold.
(14k and 18k white, yellow and rose gold rings)
You’ve probably heard of Platinum being used to describe the best of the best- Platinum records, platinum card holders, and so on.This is because platinum is the most pure metal in the jewelry industry. This means that platinum is not mixed or diluted with alloys the way gold is. Platinum is also significantly more dense- If you had two identical rings, one made of gold and the other in platinum, the ring made of platinum would require more metal and weigh significantly more than its gold counterpart. For these reasons, Rockford Collection is proud to offer platinum options for nearly every design.
(Platinum ring image)
Which costs more- platinum or gold? The answer might surprise you, but platinum is generally valued higher than gold. This is because platinum is more rare than gold, has a higher density than gold, and is more pure. Platinum is also better for long-term wear.
How does platinum compare to silver? Based on appearance, it might be easy to confuse the two, but platinum and silver have very few similarities. Their biggest difference is durability. Platinum can withstand significantly more, whereas silver is a soft metal that wears down quickly and cannot survive repeated trauma. Another significant difference between platinum and silver is their melting points. Silver has a lower melting point at 1,763°F, whereas platinum has a melting point of 3,215°F, nearly three times higher.
Rockford Collection is proud to offer every design in both gold and platinum.
Did you know that silver is the best known reflector for light? Because of its reflective properties, silver is a popular choice amongst jewelry makers and wearers alike. Sadly silver does tarnish with time and is not the most durable option for long term jewelry wear. This is why Rockford Collection chooses to provide samples of our rings in silver. The sample rings are beautiful and indicative, allowing customers to experience the finalized product of a Rockford Ring without the stress and accountability of receiving a fully gold or platinum ring.
(Order a silver sample)
Silver is most commonly used for fine cutlery and can be found in many household dining sets around the world. Silver is not a good choice for long term jewelry wear for a number of reasons. Firstly, silver is a very soft metal, too soft for jewelry, and can become damaged after prolonged wear and tare. Second, silver does tarnish and can lose its reflective properties easily.
It is for these reasons that Rockford Collection does not utilize silver for fine jewelry, but we do offer samples of our ring for a short-term trial in silver. To order a silver sample of your favorite ring, click here.
(Silver vs. Platinum ring)
Ever wondered which is the most rare metal on Earth? The answer is Rhodium. With only 30 tonnes of Rhodium in production every year, (compared to Gold, which is produced at a 3,000 tonnes per year,) it is clear to see why rhodium earned the title of rarest metal.
The #1 reason why you’ll never see a solid rhodium ring is cost. One day rhodium can cost nearly 20x more than gold, but then drop to less than the value of gold the very next day. The unregulated fluctuations in price, combined with rhodium’s unmalleable state, make it less than ideal for solid jewelry. Here at Rockford Collection rhodium is used for providing a perfect finish to our white jewelry, including platinum and white gold.
Rhodium plating is a tedious process of coating the jewelry piece in a layer of rhodium to provide improved protection and cosmetic appeal. Rhodium plating does not scratch, tarnish, or corrode, providing the ideal layer to finish off a fine piece of jewelry.
Which Precious Metal is Waterproof?
One of the most common questions we get asked about the different metal options is “Which metal is the most waterproof?”. Luckily for you, Rockford Collection works exclusively with precious metals, which are all “waterproof” and will not rust or corrode. Our two most commonly used metals, gold and platinum, are both inert- meaning that their chemical composition will not allow them to corrode or deteriorate.
Now that you’re a professional in the world of metals, let’s review what you’ve learned:
- Precious metals are more rare and more valuable than semi-precious metals.
- Precious metals can be most widely found in the jewelry industry, whereas semi-precious metals are most common in manufacturing and producing industries.
- The top 4 precious metals are Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Rhodium.
- It is nearly impossible to identify the most valuable metal due to fluctuations in price, but there are some key pricing trends that can be relied upon year after year.
- The four precious metals can be differentiated by purity, durability, price, and accessibility.
Here at Rockford Collection, we use only the finest of metals in the process of producing your one of a kind jewelry. If you’re interested in learning more about the custom jewelry options available at Rockford Collection, you can book a personal consultation with a design specialist in either New York, Miami, or virtually from the comfort of your home. Click here to book a virtual appointment today.