Precious Metal Guide
All precious metals used at Lloyds are solid and 100% authentic, every item is individually tested and hallmarked at the London Assay Office. We use 18k Gold which is 75% pure gold mixed with 25% alloys for colour and hardness. Our white gold is Rhodium plated (also referred to as platinum plated) see more info on that below. Our platinum is the highest grade; 950, which is 95% pure platinum.
Gold is surely the most famous precious metal, used in jewellery and coin making for thousands of years. Pure gold is the most malleable of any metals which makes it great for jewelley making, and because is has a beautiful deep lustre and shine. It has kept a stable value for many years and has steadily increased in value, due to this reason many counties store their wealth in gold. The jewellery you see on our website will likely be priced higher within the few next years due to this fact.
Due to its high malleability, gold is rarely used on its own without being alloyed with other harder metals as it would be too easy to damage otherwise. The term K 'Karat' refers to the purity of Gold; 24k is classed as pure gold. The most popular variations in the UK are 18k and 9k. You'll generally see gold stamped with numbers such as 375 for 9k gold or 750 for 18k, this is how many parts are pure gold out of 1000, for example 18k gold is 750 parts gold to 250 parts alloy.
Gold alloys may include Copper, Silver and/or Palladium to alter the hardness, colour and other properties such as value. The higher the karat number, the more valuable the gold, depending on weight.
Gold is resistant to corrosion and oxidation. The higher the purity, the less chance of tarnishing. 24k gold will not tarnish, 18k gold is very unlikely to tarnish and 9k gold is unlikely to depening on the enviroment.
White gold has almost the same properties as gold, because that’s exactly what it is. White Gold is simply yellow gold containing different metal alloys which may include silver, zinc and/or palladium to help "bleach" the metal giving it a lighter shade.
White gold still has a light yellow shade, or in some cases a darker grey shade depending on the alloys used. For this reason most white gold is plated in a metal called rhodium*. Rhodium is a Platinum group metal so you may see this being referred to as 'platinum plating'.
Plating is used to give the finished item a bright 'white' finish. This plating can wear off over time and you may find you need to re-plate your jewellery on an annual basis depending on wear. 9k white gold is more prone to showing yellow after the plating wears because lower grade gold uses less expensive alloys to lighten the colour such as silver. High grade gold such as 18k white gold uses more valuable alloys such as Palladium which helps to give the base metal a whiter finish, so it can take longer for the natural metal to show though the plating, or at least be less noticable.
Nickel was a popular alloy for white gold due to its low cost and bright white colour, however, this is toxic and can cause skin irritation. Its use is now heavily regulated in Europe and none of the jewellery at Lloyds contains Nickel.
*Rhodium is an extremely rare white metal, part of the Platinum group. Due to its high cost and rarity it is not used as a base metal for making jewellery, only for plating and rarely as an alloy. Due to its hardness and resistance to corrosion it is perfect for plating jewellery.
When gold is alloyed/mixed with higher levels of copper, it gives a red shade, referred to as rose gold. Depending on the copper content, the depth of colour can be changed; the higher the copper content the deeper the red, which is why it is often referred to as red, rose or pink gold. It has all the same properties as yellow gold: it wont lose its colour and is highly resistant to corosion and tarnish.
18k rose gold consists of 75% Gold to 25% Copper, a small amount of silver may also be added. Rose Gold was first made popular at the beginning of the 19th century in Russia which is why it was once referred to as Russian Gold. Since then, Rose Gold has continues in popularity and has became a fashionable alternative to white and yellow gold.
It is ideal for all types of jewellery and watches, it is currently a popular and fashionable gold colour. Rose gold is versatile and can be worn alongside white and/or yellow gold to make stylish designs.
Platinum is one of the most prized precious metals to be used in jewellery, especially for diamond and gem rings as it’s tough nature help to prevent diamond settings from breaking and coming loose. Platinum is usually referred to as 500 or 950 PT which is the level of purity per 1000 parts. At Lloyds we only use the highest grade 950 platinum.
Once major advantage is that platinum is naturally white/silver in colour, this is beneficial as white gold alternatives are usually plated which can wear off over time, therefor platinum does not need plating or re-plating. Platinum is also a dense/heavy metal, giving it a substantial, quality feel.
Platinum is the least reactive of all metals meaning it has an incredible resistance to corrosion and does not oxidize or tarnish. Platinums ductility and malleability is close to that of gold, however gold is actually more resistant to scratches, but platinum is slightly tougher against breaking.
Platinum is one of the rarest elements in the earth’s crust, so rare in fact it is said that all the Platinum ever mined could fit in to your average sized living room!