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A Guide To Precious Metals

Gold and Platinum are considered precious metals due to their rarity, intrinsic value, and unique properties that make them highly desirable for various applications, especially for high value jewellery. Metal fineness refers to the measure of the purity of a precious metal. It indicates the amount of pure metal contained in an alloy, relative to other metals.


Gold is renowned for its exceptional malleability, ductility, and resistance to corrosion and tarnish. It has a distinct yellow lustre and does not oxidise in air or water. It is used primarily in jewellery, and as a monetary standard in the form of coins and bullion. Gold is relatively rare in the Earth's crust, making it valuable and sought after, and its cultural and historical significance as a symbol of wealth and status further enhances its value. However, because pure 24-carat gold is a malleable metal, gold in its purest form is rarely found in jewellery. ​​The reality is that this precious metal is too soft to be crafted into wearable pieces, let alone capable of securely holding a diamond, and so gold is commonly alloyed with other metals to enhance its strength and durability. 18-carat gold, a popular choice in jewellery making, is an alloy composed of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. This blending of metals imparts distinct characteristics to the gold, altering its colour, hardness, and malleability. While 24-carat gold represents the purest form of the metal, making lower carat alloys like 18-carat gold more suitable for everyday wear.

The alloying of gold serves not only functional purposes but also aesthetic ones. By varying the proportions of other metals in the alloy, jewellers can create a spectrum of hues, from the warm tones of rose gold to the cool elegance of white gold. Additionally, alloys can imbue gold with greater resilience, ensuring that cherished pieces withstand the test of time and retain their lustre for generations. Thus, while the concept of purity may evoke images of unblemished brilliance, the reality is that the artistry and craftsmanship of alloying precious metals elevate their beauty and utility, making them enduring symbols of elegance and refinement.

What is a ‘Carat’ and what does it mean?

In the context of gold, the term "carat" refers to the purity of the gold alloy. The origin of the term "carat" in this context dates back to medieval times, derived from the Greek word "keration," which referred to the carob seed used as a standard measure of weight in ancient trading. Today, when referring to gold, think of the word ‘carat’ as ‘parts out of 24’. 18-carat really means 18 parts gold, 6 parts other metals. 18-carat gold is hallmarked with a 750, as it contains 750 parts gold per thousand.


Platinum is even rarer than gold, which contributes to its high value. It is a dense, highly unreactive metal with a silvery-white appearance. It is more robust and more resistant to wear and tarnish than gold, making it highly durable. Pure platinum, while extremely dense and durable, is also relatively soft and malleable, which can make it prone to scratching and bending. Platinum for jewellery use is also alloyed, but with 95% pure platinum, hence the 950 hallmark. Alloying platinum with other metals, such as ruthenium enhances its hardness and durability, making it more suitable for everyday wear. This added strength helps jewellery pieces retain their shape and resist damage over time. Platinum alloys are easier to work with compared to pure platinum. The addition of other metals improves the metal's casting, shaping, and setting properties, allowing jewellers to create more intricate and durable designs. It also facilitates the secure setting of gemstones, which is crucial for the longevity and safety of fine jewellery.

Hallmarks and Guarantees

Precious metals are hallmarked in the UK to provide consumers with assurance regarding the quality and authenticity of the metal they are purchasing. The hallmarking process, which has been a legal requirement in the UK since the 14th century, involves independent assay offices verifying the purity of the metal through rigorous testing. This hallmark, stamped onto the item, serves as a guarantee of its fineness and ensures compliance with legal standards. Moreover, it provides valuable information about the manufacturer and the year of hallmarking, enhancing transparency and traceability in the precious metal market. Ultimately, hallmarking plays a crucial role in upholding consumer confidence, safeguarding against fraud, and preserving the integrity of the British jewellery industry.

18ct Yellow Gold

Our 18-carat yellow gold wedding rings and engagement rings are made up of 75% gold, 16% silver and 9% copper. Adding copper increases the hardness and strength of the alloy, and imparts a rich warm hue to the gold. Silver lightens the colour of gold, creating a paler and more yellow hue. When combined with copper at this specific proportion, it helps achieve the desired shade of gold. And, while silver is relatively soft, it adds a different type of hardness making 18ct gold a durable and workable metal ideal for precious jewellery.

18ct White Gold

Our 18-carat white gold wedding rings and engagement rings are made of 75% pure gold, around 13% palladium, 3.5% copper and 7.5% silver. This alloy isn’t, and will never be a silvery-white metal, instead it has a very pale yellowy colour. The 1% discrepancy in the make up is the rhodium plating which gives it its bright white appearance. Of course the quantity of the plating is dependent upon the ratio of the surface area to total volume/weight of the ring, but is typically less than 1% of the rings total weight, and is very thin, varying between 0.75 and 1 microns.

18ct Rose Gold

Just like our yellow gold rings, our rose gold wedding and engagement rings are composed of gold, copper and silver. This time 75% gold, 22% copper and 3% silver. The warm rich hues of the copper is primarily responsible for the characteristic warm and romantic pinkish colour the rose gold exhibits. As well as adding the strength, durability and workability needed for a wearable piece of jewellery.

Platinum 950

Platinum is measured in parts per thousand to denote its purity. Our platinum wedding rings are made up of 95% platinum and 5% ruthenium. In this proportion, ruthenium adds very little to the platinum’s aesthetic but does improve the workability, making it easier for jewellers to shape, mould and polish the metal. Ruthenium enhances the corrosion resistance of platinum alloys, ensuring that jewellery made from these alloys remains resistant to tarnish and discolouration over time. These qualities make platinum alloys with ruthenium ideal for creating high-quality and long-lasting jewellery pieces.

Understanding metal fineness is crucial in the jewellery industry as it dictates the purity of precious metals used in crafting pieces, ensuring both quality and value for consumers and guiding jewellers in creating durable and desirable items.