Metals are found in abundance on the Earth. While they are having wide applications across various industries, their use in making jewelry still dominates above all. Some popular metals like gold, silver, and platinum are used by metal-smiths to make fine pieces of jewelry. Metal testing labs often check for the quality of these metals to assess whether or not these metals are appropriate for making jewelry and can give the best output. When these metals are separated from their ores and processed, the samples are sent to testing labs to gauge their purity.
Here are some of the most popularly used metals in jewelry making:
The second favorite metal after gold for Indians, sterling silver is heavily used for making all kinds of beautiful pieces of jewelry. Sterling silver constitutes of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of copper. Metal testing labs check the purity of silver using a variety of techniques. It is the most durable and long-lasting quality of silver that makes it apt to be used for making necklaces, anklets, rings, body jewelry, etc. Since it is softer than gold, platinum, and titanium, it requires a great amount of care. The only downside of using silver metal for jewelry is that it gets tarnished very easily since it gets easily oxidized. You might have noticed it with your own silver jewelry pieces also. This calls for timely visits to the jeweler for polishing.
Silver filled is basically a cheap metal coated with a layer of silver. Also known as Silver Overlay, Silver-filled wires are made using heat with pressure to apply silver coating on a cheaper metal. This makes the metal a hundred times thicker than standard metal. This strength makes it ideal for use in jewelry making. Beautiful engraving is done on the jewelry made from silver filled. What makes it the preferred choice is its affordability and long-life span. It is forever a spotless beauty without any tarnishing.
The most common metal of all, one can find gold jewelry abundantly. Gold jewelry is made by mixing zinc, copper, silver, and nickel to create the finest pieces. While making jewelry, 24 carats gold is not used since it is soft and malleable and hence difficult to give shape for making bangles and necklaces. Therefore gold is always mixed with other metal elements to provide its characteristics of hardness and non-malleability. As the number of karats decreases, the purity of gold also decreases. 18-carat gold is the easiest to work with. Although pure gold is yellow in color, but since we use other non-metal alloys to make jewelry, they decide the color of gold. This is why you will find a variety of gold in the market:
- Yellow gold is derived when you mix pure gold with silver and copper or zinc.
- White gold is derived when you use white metals like nickel, silver, and palladium with pure gold. These metals impart grayish color to the jewelry which is why they are coated with rhodium to impart a whiter look.
- Green gold is derived when you leave copper out of the alloy mixture. It looks exactly like pure gold. Rose gold is what you get when you mix high proportions of copper to give it a rose-like color.
A category of metals consisting of iron, nickel, copper, brass, and titanium among others, Base metals are the most common types of metals used for making jewelry. These metals are found in abundance and are usually used in making jewelry items like hammered disc pendants. The only disadvantage of using these metals in jewelry is that they can corrode or oxidize pretty easily.
The rarest and most expensive of all, platinum is an ultimate classy metal for jewelry. What makes it so expensive is its precious properties. It never loses its shine and is super durable. Platinum works pretty well for all jewelry items and is widely used for making love bands for weddings and cuffs. Melting at a temperature of 3216.2 Fahrenheit, Platinum is your go to choice always. At times Cobalt and Copper is also used along with Platinum for a great finish. However, it is going to burn a huge hole in your pocket owing to its price that is very well justified by its utility.
The hardest ever metal known to mankind is titanium. It is harder than any other metal in existence putting even the most expensive ones like gold, platinum, and silver to shame. The best part about this metal is that it is hypoallergenic i.e. it does not cause any kind of skin allergies even to people with sensitive skin. It is popularly used in making body piercing jewelry and surgical equipment. It is scratch resistant, easy to color, and non-corrosive making it highly durable and easy to use. However, Titanium is not used for making rings as it cannot be resized or soldered or cut (very difficult to cut it!).
Metal testing lab plays a vital role in assessing the quality of the metals. A metal with superior quality not only gives the jewelry piece a fine look but also makes it equally valuable. Modern day metal testing labs use a number of scientific methods to analyze the metal sample on various parameters as per the intended end use. Following several mandated guidelines and suitability for making jewelry, the role of such labs is extremely significant for a perfect output.