Silver (Ag) Argentum
The most abundant of the precious metals and sourced from China, Mexico and Peru where the Inca’s referred to this lustrous white metal as “Tears of the Moon”. Silver has been used in jewellery for thousands of years and due to both its high malleability and brilliant white lustre. It is a very popular choice of metal.
Pure Silver (999 fineness) is generally considered too soft for the everyday world, so we choose to create our pieces using 92.5% pure silver (hallmarked 925 and referred to as Sterling Silver) content, with the rest being a mix of copper and other base metals to harden the metal for its jewellery role.
Silver is a naturally white metal with a polished reflection like no other. However, due to its relatively soft form it is more likely to show signs of wear and tear than other metals. Patterns over time will rub and lose their crispness and depending on the wearer can tarnish with time.
Throughout history gold has been treasured for its natural beauty and radiance. For this reason, many cultures have imagined gold to harness the power and strength of the sun.
One of gold’s many interesting facts is that South Africa has produced more than 50% of the world’s gold through history, however China is now the world’s largest supplier, with Australia, the United States, Russia and Peru all overtaking South Africa and pushing it back to 6th place.
The weight of gold is measured in troy ounces, where 1 troy ounce equals 31.1034768 grams. Its purity is measured in ‘carats’ and is broken down into parts per thousand content. For example, 18 carat gold is 750 parts pure gold with the other 250 parts being made up of other metals like copper and silver.
In the UK, 9 carat is the lowest that is recognised as still being gold (375 parts pure gold). 14 carat is 585 parts and 22 carat gold is 916 parts pure.
Yellow is, of course, gold’s natural colour, with high carat variants like 22 having more of a deep orange colour than their diluted cousins. Yellow gold is also the most popular application of the metal by far, although in the west there is also a huge popularity for white golds of all carats due to its ability to enhance diamonds and a crisp, clean look for the wearer.
It is to be noted that all white golds are alloys, with white metals like silver and rhodium mixed with the yellow gold to bring the natural colour to an off white hue. This is then plated with Rhodium to give the finished piece a dynamic whiteness and its crisp and clean colouration. However, it is a plating and over time this will wear off, revealing the natural colour of the metal underneath. Fortunately, white gold items are easily replated and with a professional clean and polish they can easily regain their original lustre.
Here in the Lab, we can create your pieces in any carat and colour of gold you wish: Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rose Gold, even Green and Blue Gold can be used to create your masterpieces. All of our pieces are hallmarked so that the quality of your jewellery is preserved for a lifetime.
Part of the Platinum group of metals and a naturally white metal that is slightly more grey in appearance than silver. Palladium has only recently been recognised as a precious metal in its own right after being given its own hallmark by the assay office in July 2009 due to its huge popularity in demand when Platinum prices drastically increased.
Palladium is a wonderful metal for those of you wanting a ring that will not lose its colour and has excellent strength. Being part of the Platinum family pieces made from palladium are indistinguishable from its rarer denser cousin and as such offers not only a considerable monetary saving but is an excellent partner to be worn with or against items made from Platinum.
The fineness of Palladium we use is 95% pure (950 standard) although we have noted that lower percentage variants are now on offer some as low as 50%. Although we prefer to supply our creations in 950 as we feel you get great value and a wonderfully weighted piece for your hard earned £’s we perfectly understand that not everyone’s budgets are the same so do ask us what we can do in the lower percentiles of Palladium too should you wish.
A common misconception of Palladium and Platinum is that its one of the hardest metals available in the jewellery world. It is however very malleable and therefore very soft on its surface. Rings made from Palladium and Platinum are quite easily scratched or dented when put into everday use. Palladium and Platinum though are indeed hugely hard wearing and have huge strength as they are dense metals and items such as claws last much longer than that of softer gold settings.
A space age metal used in aircraft and engineering applications where strength and lightness cannot be compromised. Battleship grey in its natural form, and first discovered in Cornwall during the late 17th century its name was given to represent the Greek Titans symbolising purity and strength.
Superbly strong and amazingly light this metal is a hugely popular choice for those aren’t used to wearing jewellery or aren’t entertained by the weight of other metals. Available in a huge variety of styles and combinations with other metals and materials we are able to create truly unique pieces for very reasonable prices.
Titanium is also very effective in use with laser engraving where pretty much anything can be added to your design. Ask us about this facility and what we are able to produce for you.
Again a dark grey metal in appearance but with a higher density than Titanium (therefore heavier) and is perfectly suited to everyday wear and tear due to its excellent strength and durability. Zirconium is used amongst its many applications in the coating of nuclear fule rods as it is extremely resistant to heat. Naturally grey, however can be oxidised to produce a jet black metal that offers itself to create exciting new combinations when married to other metals and creates a truly striking piece when laser engraved as the lasered area comes out white and against the black backdrop is a stunning contrast. (See our previous work for examples)
A rare and precious metal in its own right, again a member of the Platinum Group of metals and is rarer than Platinum itself but not used in the production of jewellery its main purpose in the manufacture of jewellery is for plating. All white golds are Rhodium plated as it gives a crisp whiteness to the metal underneath giving an unsurpassed reflection. As with all platings though and as hard wearing as rhodium is it’s still only a plating and will over time and depending on how it’s worn will come off revealing the colour of the metal underneath.
The above list represents the main materials we work with, however we can produce creations using other combination materials too such as carbon fibre, wood, meteorite and various shades of gold are available too. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements if we can help we will.