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A First-Time Buyer's Guide to Precious Metals

February 1st, 2020

A First-Time Buyer's Guide to Precious Metals

Shopping for fine jewelry can be a daunting process for first-time customers, especially if you don't know the difference between the different jewelry metals available. Jewelry pieces ranging from necklaces to bracelets to earrings come in an assortment of sparkling metal hues, each with its own unique beauty and quality. Shop smart with basic knowledge about the most popular jewelry metals.


The sleek and metallic silver metal is a prime choice for fans of white metal. This bright metal has been a luxury commodity for centuries and continues to form the foundation for artisan-crafted jewelry pieces such as engagement rings or fashion rings. Silver is a relatively soft metal, which requires other metals (usually copper) to strengthen the piece and prevent scratches.

Silver quality and purity vary with its highest quality forms being "fine" and "sterling" silver. Sterling silver is 925 parts silver to every 1,000 compared with fine silver, which is 999 parts silver. Fine silver is too soft for use in jewelry-making but is used as a coating over sterling silver to improve its luster.

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The rare platinum metal is used in the automotive, computer, and chemical refining business. It's more aesthetic appeal has been utilized by the inventive jewelry industry. Platinum is one of the most durable metals on the market and is used in jewelry like wedding bands or necklaces. With its superior durability and rarity, expect platinum jewelry to be heavier and more expensive than other metals.

Platinum jewelry comes in many different levels of fineness ranging from 850 to 999 parts platinum per 1,000. Platinum jewelry is typically alloyed with iridium, nickel, rhodium, ruthenium, palladium, and osmium for added strength. Platinum is 30 times rare than gold. Choosing this metal can make diamonds stand out even more than usual.


Gold is the quintessential precious metal for jewelry pieces. As a metal, it's lustrous and won't tarnish or corrode as easily as other metals. Gold is valued for its softness and malleability. Gold is alloyed with metals such as copper and zinc for variations in color. 24K gold is the purest gold available. Some of the most popular karat options are 18K, 14K, and 10K.

Yellow gold is the most natural option for fans of classic and elegant designs. Yellow golds are often alloyed with silver or copper to bring out the color's warmth. White gold contains palladium, silver, nickel, copper, and zinc for added brightness and resilience. White gold, however, may need reconditioning. Rose gold is a romantic option containing copper.

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Choosing The Right Precious Metal For You

Choosing the perfect precious metal for you depends on a lot of factors including the price and quality of the jewelry piece. Rare metals such as platinum or gold can maintain their value over time compared to other more common metals. You'll also want to consider the durability and life span of your piece. Below are a few other considerations you should take when buying jewelry made out of precious metals:

  • Consider the strength and scratch-resistance of various metals. Some metals like titanium and tungsten are scratch-resistant.
  • Restoration services can bring your old jewelry back to life. Some metals are harder to work with for reconditioning purposes.
  • The weight of a product can have a different feel on the ear, finger, wrist, or neck. Platinum is one of the heaviest metals, while titanium and stainless steel are lightweight options.
  • Consider metals that minimize allergic reactions to metals. Pure metals are more hypoallergenic than metal alloys, in many cases.

Learn More At Gerald Peters

Shop fine bridal and fashion jewelry in a variety of the highest-quality metals from Gerald Peters. Stop by our Richmond Avenue jewelry store in Staten Island, New York for an unforgettable experience. Our expert jewelers can answer all of your questions about precious metals and help you select a stunning piece for you or a loved one.