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Lloyds Family Jewellery Precious Metal Guide

Precious Metal Qualities & Properties



Gold is surely the most famous precious metal, used in jewellery and coin making for thousands of years and even before recorded history. Pure gold is the most malleable of any metals which makes it great for jewelley making, that and because is has a beautiful deep lustre and shine. Due to its high malleability, it is rarely used on its own without being alloyed with other harder metals as it would be too easy to damage. The term karat refers to the purity of Gold i.e. how many parts Gold to alloy, 24k is classed as pure Gold. The most popular variations in the UK are 18k and 9k. Gold is usually alloyed with other metals such as Copper, Silver and Palladium to alter the hardness, colour and other properties such as value. The lower the karat, the less valuable the metal depending on weight.

Like Platinum, it is also resistant to corrosion and oxidation. Hundreds of tons of earth must be processed for a tiny fraction of Gold. Strangely, all the gold ever mined is said to have came to earth from asteroids after it’s formation. Naturally occurring gold is close to the earth’s core as it sinks due to its density, this gold is far out of reach.


White Gold

White Gold has the same properties as Gold, because that’s exactly what it is. White Gold is simply yellow Gold containing other metal alloys such as silver, zinc and/or Palladium to give it a pale hue. White gold can still have a very light yellow hugh, so Rhodium* Plating is used to give the finished jewellery item a bright silver finish. Paladium is an expensive alloy compared to silver, so is usually only used for more expensive 18k gold alloys. Nickel was a popular alloy for white Gold due to its low cost and bright white colour, however, as this is toxic and can cause irritation, its use is now heavily regulated in Europe. 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, claws and settings are often plated in Rhodium for added strength.


Rose Gold

When Gold is alloyed with copper it gives a red hue, 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 colour which is why it is often referred to as red, rose or pink gold. It has all the same properties as yellow gold and is ideal for all types of jewellery and watches, it is currently a popular and fashionable gold colour, it is also popular to wear rose gold along side white and/or yellow gold to make stylish designs.

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.



Platinum is one of the most prized precious metals to be used in jewellery, especially for engagement rings as it’s tough nature help to keep diamond settings from breaking and coming loose. Platinum jewellery has many benefits, it can have a longer life than other precious metals; when Platinum is scratched, the metal simply moves and is not separated from the jewellery item and therefor does not lose weight, once polished it is essentially the same as when first purchased. It 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 heavy metal, giving it a substantial, quality feel.

Platinum is usually referred to as 925 or 950 PT which is the level of purity per 1000 parts.. Platinum is the least reactive of all metals meaning it has an incredible resistance to corrosion and does not oxidize at any temperature. Platinum is very hard however its ductility and malleability is close to that of gold. It 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.



Part of the Platinum family, Palladium is a rare, naturally white metal which has became very popular in recent years. As it is very ductile, it is ideal for crafting jewellery, being part of the Platinum family, Palladium has some of the great benefits of Platinum. Because it is naturally silvery white it requires no plating and does not tarnish. It is not as dense or heavy as Platinum, it’s weight is similar to that of Gold. The price of Palladium is currently somewhere between 9k and 18k Gold although at one point Palladium was actually more expensive than Platinum.

The principle use of Palladium was as an alloy in gold to give it a white colour i.e. White Gold. 2004 saw a shift in to making jewellery solely out of Palladium due to a spike in the price of Gold and Platinum. Palladium was first used as a precious metal in 1939 which was brought about due to the white colour which is a good alternative to Nickel, which can cause irritation. Unlike Platinum, Palladium can discolour in high temperatures above 400 degrees celcius and will react with strong acids, however, damage to your Palladium ring should be the least of your worries if your hand was in contact with high heat and strong acids!