Gold, Platinum and Rhodium are the most well know precious metals used to create some of the finest jewels in the world.
Rhodium is the rarest and most expensive of all metals used in jewellery and was discovered in 1803. Less than 4 tonnes of Rhodium is mined each year. Rhodium is a hard, white durable metal which is part of the Platinum family. Because of its rarity Rhodium is by and large used in jewellery as a coating to enhance and protect white gold and silver. In white gold it is used to enhance its white appearance and in silver as a tarnish protector.
Gold has been one of earth's most precious metals for centuries. Gold is naturally found in yellow but is widely available in white and rose gold; these different colours are created by adding other alloys. Gold is the most ductile and malleable of all metals making it ideal for use in Jewellery. The purity of gold is expressed in carats. Pure gold has a purity rating of 24 carats (24 parts), but is often alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, zinc or silicon to influence its workability and colour. The carat rating measures the proportions of pure gold mixed with other metal alloys, therefore 18ct gold contains 18 parts gold (18ct) and 6 parts of one or more alloys, making it 75% gold. 14ct contains 14 parts gold (14ct) and 10 parts of one or more alloys making it 58.3% gold and so on. The higher the carat number the higher percentage of gold.
Platinum is a precious, rare and noble metal which is 95% pure and 30 times rarer than gold. If all the platinum ever mined were poured into an Olympic swimming pool, it wouldn't even be deep enough to cover your ankles! Platinum is a naturally white metal making it ideal for use in diamond jewellery. It will not fade or tarnish like other metals and will keep its white luster for a lifetime. Platinum is more hard wearing and does not change shape or wear away, so precious gemstones are held firmly and securely. It is also more dense than gold, so a platinum ring weighs approx 40% more than the same design in gold. Platinum is also hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive skin.
When choosing the right metal for you or a loved one it is just as important as picking the right diamond or gemstone, as most items of jewellery are intended on being kept for a lifetime. Take into consideration the type of lifestyle that you or the receiver leads, as some metals will be more durable than others. 18ct gold and platinum are by far the most popular metals used in jewellery.