Precious Metals

Gold
When buying gold wedding bands, always look for the karat mark. All other things being equal, a higher karat will denote a more expensive ring.

In the United States, 14-karat gold which is 14/24 or 58.33% parts pure gold, is the most common degree of fineness. The jewelry made using 14-karat gold is marked as 14k, 14kt or 585.

10-kt gold is 10/24 or 41.66% pure gold. Nothing less than 10 karats can legally be marked or sold as gold jewelry in the U.S.

18-karat gold is 18/24 or 75% pure gold, and wedding bands of this fineness are marked 18k, 18kt or 750.

Always look for the karat mark or "k, kt" that appears on the back of the piece. By U.S. law, if a karat mark appears you should also see the manufacturer's trademark to assure you that the karat marking is accurate. In addition to the karat mark, every wedding ring should be stamped with a hallmark or trademark of its maker, and sometimes its country of origin. These designations assure you that you are buying genuine karat gold wedding ring. Heavier wedding rings contain more gold.

Gold is durable, sturdy, dependable, and makes an ideal setting for your precious diamond wedding bands jewelry.  However, to get a lifetime of enjoyment from your wedding ring jewelry, be sure to keep it clean and safe.

Do not wear wedding ring during rough work or when handling harsh chemicals.  Store it in a box away from other pieces to preserve it from being scratched.

Finally, check the diamond settings periodically for any damage to the gold prongs or bezels.

If you see a loose prong, or if the setting looks out of line, bring it to a professional jeweler for repair at once. More Gold

Platinum
Platinum wedding rings, like gold wedding bands, have a long and distinguished history. The use of platinum began in antiquity and it has undergone a major resurgence in popularity over the last 200 years.

Platinum was held in high esteem during early Egyptian times. Native people in South and Central America worked platinum as early as 100 B.C. Spanish conquistadors discovered platinum artifacts among the gold they were seeking when they came to the new world. They named the curious metal "platina," or "little silver." They also considered it worthless and discarded it. Platinum didn't reach Europe until the 18th century, but then it caught on in a big way. King Louis XVI elevated the status of this metal by terming it "the metal of kings." For centuries, the only large amounts of platinum outside of South America were found in Russian mines. Russia used platinum coins in the 19th century. In Spain, some gold coins were faked by gold-plating platinum coins. During the latter part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, platinum became the premier metal for all-important jewelry. Platinum dominated the world of jewelry design during the Edwardian era and the Art Deco period well into the 1930's. Platinum's initial uses were limited by its hardness and its very high melting point. The early forging and casting techniques made it quite a difficult metal to work with. Nowadays, platinum is far more valuable than gold.

The use of platinum in jewelry came to an abrupt end in World War II when platinum was declared a strategic metal and made it invaluable to the military during the war. The use of platinum was banned for all non-military purposes.

Platinum has many industrial applications. Platinum is vital to the automotive industry. Every car in the United States has platinum in its catalytic converter, which reduces emissions. The fields of electrical engineering, electronics and petrochemicals consider this metal vital to numerous applications, as well. Medical and dental fields professions also use platinum to a great degree.

About one-third of the platinum mined today is used in jewelry, where it consistently commands higher prices than the purest gold. Because of its many uses, almost all platinum mined and refined is immediately committed to use. The annual worldwide production of platinum amounts to some 160 tons, compared to about 1,500 tons of gold. Platinum can be found in just a handful of regions in the world. The mining and refining processes are both arduous and time-consuming. For example, in order to extract a single ounce of platinum, about 10 tons of ore needs to be mined. After that the refining process takes a full five months. Interesting enough, there are no platinum stockpiles or reserves in any government or banking storage.

In recent years platinum has rapidly grown in popularity. It has become the new choice for many diamond engagement rings and wedding bands because of its purity, durability and luster. This unique luster brings out the brilliance of diamonds far better than gold. Platinum is also the strongest precious metal used in jewelry. Platinum is almost 1.70 times heavier than 14-karat gold. This weight is one of platinum's strongest selling points, because it gives "heft" to fine jewelry which people naturally equate with value. Platinum in wedding band jewelry is actually an alloyed group for five heavy metals including platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium. These other noble metals are so similar to the platinum in weight and chemistry that most were not even distinguished from each other until early in the nineteenth century. Today, platinum is often alloyed with ruthenium, iridium or cobalt. It is one of only two precious metals used in fine jewelry that is 90% to 95% pure, largely hypoallergenic and tarnish-resistant. Look for platinum wedding rings marked 900PT, 950Plat, or Plat. By law, all pieces of jewelry must be marked or stamped to signify the material used.

At WeddingBands.com, we use 95% platinum (950 Platinum) alloyed with 5% ruthenium to manufacture our wedding bands.

One final word about precious metals: Like gold, platinum is durable, sturdy and dependable, making it an ideal setting for your precious diamond jewelry. However, to get a lifetime of enjoyment from your jewelry, be sure to keep it clean and safe.

Do not wear platinum jewelry during rough work or when handling harsh chemicals. Store it in a fabric-lined box away from other pieces so it does not get scratched. Finally, check any diamond settings periodically for possible damage to prongs or bezels. If you see a loose prong, or if the setting looks out of line, immediately bring it to a professional for repair. More Platinum

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