Precious metals

Precious metals

GOLD – Brilliant and Precious


The noble metal with its beguiling color is also called fine gold (= 24 carats) in its pure form without any other alloying additives. The precious metal fineness is generally defined as the proportion of 1000 parts (quasi per mille), this is 999/000 for fine gold. For the sake of simplicity, the “/000” are usually omitted. 999 fine gold is almost slightly orange and has a very rich gold tone. It is very soft and is therefore rarely processed in its pure form for jewelry purposes, most likely still in Far East Asia. For example, government gold reserves typically consist of fine gold bars.

18 carat

The gold alloy we use the most is the 18 carat alloy or 750/000 gold. Alloyed with silver, it is somewhat lighter and more yellowish than fine gold, and adding zinc makes it harder and easier for the goldsmith to work with. Due to the high gold content, 18k gold never changes color.

14 carat

This alloy is also called 585 gold and, in addition to 58.5% gold, has a higher silver content. Due to the lower gold content, it is cheaper. Depending on the exact composition, it is often slightly harder than 18k gold, but may change color (oxidize/sulphide) slightly over time.

Red gold / Rose gold

The addition of a little copper turns this gold alloy slightly pink, resulting in rose gold. If the copper content is higher, one speaks of red gold. A beautiful, very pleasantly warm shade that has attracted more and more interest from our customers over the past few years.

White gold

If you mix yellow gold with palladium, this decolorizes the gold and, strictly speaking, a gray tone is created: gray gold. We mainly use white gold alloys with 16% palladium – here the yellow color is completely discolored and we get an interesting anthracite, which we always recommend to our customers in its pure form, or additional galvanic brightening (rhodium plating). A very noble, dark shade, in our opinion.

Rhodium plating of white gold

As the name suggests, most customers know white gold as a very bright precious metal. However, one must know here that white gold only becomes really light through rhodium plating. Rhodium is a very hard, light-colored precious metal from the platinum group that can be applied to precious metal surfaces in an electrochemical process called electroplating. In the case of gray gold, this then becomes white gold. For technical reasons, however, you can only achieve a layer thickness of approx. 1 micron. Although this layer is relatively stable, it can wear away over time as a result of mechanical abrasion, particularly in the case of finger rings. In this case, the rhodium plating can be repeated without any problems, provided the piece of jewelery has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared.

Silver – The whitest of all precious metals

Silver is normally processed to a purity of 92.5% and is then called 925 silver or sterling silver. It is the cheapest of all precious metals, but it corrodes in the air (oxidation/sulfidation) and must therefore either be rhodium-plated or cleaned regularly if the dark, multicolored patina bothers you. For precious and especially larger stones, it is often advisable to refrain from using silver as the material for setting, as its softness does not guarantee that the stone setting will remain intact if struck. If the setting is damaged, in extreme cases the stone can fall out and be lost.

Rhodium plating of silver

If you rhodium plate silver, the advantage in this case is that silver can no longer tarnish (it is also said to oxidize). Not rhodium-plated silver can tarnish quickly depending on humidity and temperature and then becomes brownish, bluish to black. This thin oxide layer can generally be easily removed again with a cleaning solution available from us (caution, toxic!). Rhodium plating is a good option if you don’t want to clean your silver jewelery every few weeks/months. However, abrasion is also possible here if you wear your jewelry every day, which can then cause the silver to tarnish again. However, this happens less frequently with earrings or pendants, but almost always after a while with finger rings. This, along with the softness of silver, is one reason why we generally advise against silver for wedding bands, engagement rings or partner rings. The lower price is simply not worth it if you wear it for a long time, as scratches or bumps occur much more easily and the ring suffers more quickly.


The rarest and most precious of all precious metals. It does not need to be rhodium plated as it is naturally very bright. The density is interesting: Twice as heavy as silver, 33% heavier than gold, it lies comfortably in the hand/on the finger and convinces with its tangible value. Since the price of platinum has fallen significantly recently, a price comparison with the white gold variant is currently worthwhile if you are not looking for a colored precious metal (yellow gold/red gold).


AAs a platinum group precious metal, palladium is used both in near-pure form (950), alloyed with silver (500 or 585) and as an alloying additive (8-21%) to make white gold from gray gold. We like to use it in the Mokume Gane technique as it creates a nice contrast with the silver and the colored gold variants.