Precious Metal Glossary

REEDS Jewelers prides itself on using the finest materials for our jewelry. Learn more about the precious metals we offer and the characteristics that make them so special.


Gold is a very valuable element that is naturally yellow in color. Although gold is quite strong and is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion, it's also the most malleable of all precious metals. Pure gold is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability for everyday wear. The purity of gold is measured in karats or karatage. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.

White Gold

White gold is very popular in all types of jewelry. To make yellow gold have a silvery-white appearance, it is combined with white metal alloys and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. Although strong, rhodium may wear away over time. Re-plating is a simple process that can be done to restore whiteness to your jewelry. Rose gold jewelry is created by mixing gold with copper alloys to produce a rosey-pink appearance.


99.9% pure silver, also known as fine silver, is generally too soft for making jewelry, so the silver is usually alloyed with another metal to give it strength and durability. Sterling silver, is the most popular of the alloys, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Other metals can be substituted besides copper, but copper seems to be the best match with silver and doesn't take away from the value of the piece. Your silver jewelry can last a lifetime as long as you treat it with care! Silver jewelry should be kept either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment where you store your jewelry. Never expose silver to household cleaning products or chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.


Perfect for jewelry, the silver-white metal, platinum, is very strong and doesn't tarnish. Due to it's resistance to scratches and fading, it is very popular for both engagement rings and wedding bands. It's purity means that platinum is hypoallergenic and it's naturally white sheen means that you will never have to re-plate your rings. Platinum is the heaviest of the precious metals and is also considered a "noble metal".


30 times rarer than gold and lighter than platinum, palladium is naturally white and durable. Palladium is 95% pure when used in jewelry and will not require re-plating to retain it's stunning white color. Much like platinum, palladium is a "noble metal" and is resistance to corrosion and oxidation in moist air.