Precious Metals Tips

Read these 16 Precious Metals Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Jewelry tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I remove scratches from my jewelry?

At Home Polishing

Does your jewelry have minor surface scratches that are interfering with the bright shine of your precious metal? A quick and simple at home remedy is to polish your gold or silver with a rouge cloth. Your local jeweler can supply you with one. A rouge cloth has two pieces, one is impregnated with red rouge buffing compound, the other is a soft polishing cloth. The red rouge gently buffs out minor surface scratches, restoring a near showroom shine, while the softer cloth removes any surface rouge residue.

   
What are gold plating marks?

Gold Plating Marks

When buying a piece of gold jewelry - especially if it is bought second hand (auction, tag sales, classifieds) - it is important to be aware of the content of gold in the piece to determine its value. True gold jewelry is much more valuable than jewelry that is plated gold. Here are some common markings found on gold:

24k, 22k, 18k, 14k, 12k, 9k - All of these refer to the amount of gold in the metal alloy used in the jewelry. 24K is pure gold and the lower the number the less the gold content.

.750 - The same as 18K. It means the metal alloy is 75% gold, just as 18K means the alloy is 18 out of 24 parts gold (18/24 or 75%)

.585 - The same as 14K, 58.5% gold.

If used alone, any of the marks above mean the piece is solid gold. If used together with any gold filled or gold plating marks, then this means only the gold plating is the alloy mentioned and it is covering a base (not valuable) metal.

Gold Plate, Gold Filled, G.P., G.F., Rolled Gold, 1/20 - All of these mean the piece is Plated and the different terms refer to the thickness of the gold plating.

   
How do I keep my silver from tarnishing?

Prevent tarnish on sterling silver

To keep your sterling silver jewelry from getting tarnished while you are not wearing it, place a piece of aluminum foil in your jewelry box or in a bag with the jewelry. The aluminum will tarnish first and save your jewelry.

   
Platinum is expensive, but is it worth the investment?

Platinum: Converting "Expensive" Into "Value"

Platinum's true value is defined by the pure, rare and eternal qualities that are unique to the noblest of precious metals. And these values can be used to romance the meaning behind the purchase of this expensive item. After taking the time and care to choose the perfect diamond, how can the setting be less than the very best. No other metal complements a diamond quite like platinum so don't let the setting be an afterthought. The average wedding in the US today costs $23,000, most of which is spent on disposable items (flowers, cake etc). Wedding rings are something that will be worn everyday, forever. Given a cost per day of wear from something so pure, rare and eternal, platinum represents one of the best values out there. (Article by Huw Daniel, President Of Platinum Guild International USA.)

   
What is karat?

Karat

Ever wonder what karat means in reference to gold? Pure gold is 24K, but it is soft and easy to dent or bend so it is alloyed with other metals to make it sturdier. When you see other numbers this is how many parts of the gold alloy are pure gold. 14K means it is 14 out of 24 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metals (copper, tin, zinc, silver). 18K is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals.

   
What is the Alka Seltzer cleaning tip?

Alka Seltzer For Cleaning Jewelry

Here is a great way to clean your jewelry without spending a lot of money on jewelry cleaner: take your jewelry and place it in a cup of water, drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets and let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

   
How should I clean silver?

Silver Cleaning

To clean silver, a simple polishing cloth is usually the most effective method of truly polishing your jewelry. Dip style cleaners just remove oxidization and do not truly buff the surface for a good shine, and often times can be extremely damaging to your gems. A polishing cloth with a few good rubs can remove oxidization and smooth most surface scratches that dull the finish on your silver pieces. Follow this with a quick scrub using an old worn out toothbrush and either toothpaste (non-abrasive, non-polishing gel or paste) or mild detergent for a showroom shine!

   
What are silver marks?

Silver Markings

.925, .800 - These are marks usually found on silver. .925 is Sterling silver (92.5% silver) and .800 is Coin silver. When these are used on a piece that is gold it usually means that the jewelry is vermeil - gold plating over silver. The value of the piece would be worth roughly what it would be for a regular silver piece.

   
What ruins jewelry?

Gold Jewelry Care

When partaking in the joys of a hot tub or swimming pool, always remove your gold jewelry before entering the water. These waters contain quite a bit of chlorine, which will erode gold jewelry terribly! The alloys used in gold are very susceptible to damage by chlorine, and more than once there have been cases of diamonds simply falling out of settings that have been exposed to chlorinated water. Jewelry is precious, and more delicate than we often think about. Next time you head for the pool, leave your jewelry at home.

   
Is pure gold soft?

High Karat Class!

When you think of 22k or 24k gold, do the words "but it's so soft" come to mind? This is the general belief. However, very high karat gold makes spectacular, and very wearable pieces of jewelry. The gold IS softer, this allows it to "smear" when impacted rather than losing metal by scratching it out. The end result is a piece of jewelry that doesn't lose metal, and because of that lasts a very long time. Don't be afraid of high karat gold anymore! Go for bold, you are worth it!

   
What about rhodium plating?

Rhodium Plating

Next time you go shopping for sterling jewelry, ask to see pieces that are "anti-tarnish". These are pieces of silver jewelry that have been rhodium plated to retain a gleaming bright white finish. Rhodium is a very hard, very white metal that provides a superior finish to many sterling pieces. Your piece will resist scratching and look new for years to come. A fun insider tip - platinum pieces are also often Rhodium plated, so your anti-tarnish silver will have exactly the same finish as those platinum pieces costing thousands!

   
How should I select silver?

Silver Selection

Silver jewelry comes in nearly every style and design imaginable. From assembly line Bali jewelry, to the finest designer pieces. When choosing a piece of silver jewelry, first make sure that it is indeed Sterling Silver (.925) or Fine Silver (.999). The piece should be clearly marked with either of these stamps or with the word "STERLING". Feel the piece and take note of its weight. Does it feel like you would expect it to for its size? Some jewelry is hollow, and that is fine. This is often done in the interest of the wearer's comfort. Most commonly with earrings or large chains or braclets. Be sure the piece is well finished and has a nice overall appearance and feel. If all of this criteria is met, you more than likely have a very nice piece of jewelry in your hands and can feel confident in your purchase.

   
How to keep jewelry from going down the drain?

Down the Drain

When you are cleaning your jewelry, and go to rinse it off in the sink, be sure to plug your drain. It is often a good idea to "double up" by putting a tight fitting sponge into the indentation by the drain to catch any dropped item.

   
What is gold karat and hallmarking?

Gold Karat Jewelry Vs Gold-Filled

When purchasing an article of gold, karat is probably one of the most important things to be sure of. Check the hallmarking on the piece (ie 14K stamped on inside of ring), and be sure it matches what the salesperson tells you the piece is. Be careful of phrases such as "solid gold plate" or "gold-filled". Though these sound okay at first, careful consideration of their true meaning shows them to be very misleading. Gold filled items are simply layered with gold, and have some sort of nonprecious metal underneath - and that nonprecious metal often shows itself with minimal wear. Solid gold plate is simply saying that the plating is solid. That is just like saying the paint on your car is solid paint! Beware of quick catch phrases, and trust your eyes. Karat marks are regulated, and are the one thing you can trust when it comes to gold karat content.

   
What are the melting points for silver solders?

Silver Solders Melting Points

The Zinc in silver solder controls the melting point. Here are the melting points for various types of silver solders:

"IT" 809C 1490F
Hard 773C 1425F
Medium 747C 1390F
Easy 711C 1325F
"Easy Flo" 681C 1270F

The formulas for solder are:
"IT" 80%Ag 16%Cu 4%Zn
Hard 76%Ag 21%Cu 3%Zn
Medium 70%Ag 20%Cu 10%Zn
Easy 60%Ag 25%Cu 15%Zn
"Easy Flo" 50%Ag 15%Cu 15%Zn 20%Cd

   
Platinum is expensive, but is it worth the investment?

Platinum: Converting "Expensive" Into "Value"

Platinum's true value is defined by the pure, rare and eternal qualities that are unique to the noblest of precious metals. And these values can be used to romance the meaning behind the purchase of this expensive item. After taking the time and care to choose the perfect diamond, how can the setting be less than the very best. No other metal complements a diamond quite like platinum so don't let the setting be an afterthought. The average wedding in the US today costs $23,000, most of which is spent on disposable items (flowers, cake etc). Wedding rings are something that will be worn everyday, forever. Given a cost per day of wear from something so pure, rare and eternal, platinum represents one of the best values out there. (Article by Huw Daniel, President Of Platinum Guild International USA.)

   
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