Learn About Precious Metals Before Purchasing Jewelry

May 22, 2019 | News & Events

By now you know that diamond quality isn’t necessarily about size. Color, cut, clarity, and carats define the value of this precious gem. The same premise is true for precious metals. All that glitters is not gold; it might be a thin, gold overlay. The value of precious metals is driven by quality – and perhaps the market. “Precious metals have a place in a savvy investor’s portfolio,” says Investopedia. Here are some facts about precious metals and which are best for your jewelry collection.


Second-hand gold is as good as new. -Ken Alstad

At the close of business, April 19, 2019, the price of gold was $1,275.67/ounce, up from recent trading and down from that time last year. That was in the USA; gold prices fluctuate globally, too. Factors influencing the value of gold include:

  • Financial perceptions – If there is political unrest, inflation, or if banks appear to be unstable, gold will be more heavily invested. It’s considered a “safe” investment during unstable times.
  • Political crises – War and political strife can quickly transform people into a gold-hoarding mode. To a threatened people, gold will transfer as money no matter where they seek refuge.

In jewelry, 100% (24 karats) gold would be a poor choice. Gold is soft and needs to be mixed with other metals, so your best choice is 14k and 18k gold. Pure gold is a yellow-gold color and white gold is mixed with silver, palladium, or nickel. White gold is very often plated with rhodium to whiten/brighten its appearance. Trendy rose gold is mixed with high copper content.


Civilized countries generally adopt gold or silver or both as money. -Alfred Marshall

The price and value of silver are based on perceptions of its availability and demand. It trades like gold, but the industrial demands for this precious metal can influence value. For example, digital photography has almost eliminated the use of silver-based photo film. However, silver is increasingly used in electrical/medical appliances, batteries, and as a semiconductor material in microcircuits. Sterling silver is used in jewelry; it usually has a small percentage of copper mixed in. Silver is strong and durable, so it’s great for wearable jewelry like rings, bracelets, necklaces…but it’s still considered “soft” precious metals and requires diligent care.


Old is gold, but new is platinum. -Amit

Because of its relative rarity, platinum tends to fetch a higher price than gold and silver. It’s considered an “industrial” metal because of automotive manufacturing, but it’s second largest market is jewelry. Platinum mines are located primarily in South Africa and Russia, so political factors can strongly influence value. For investment purposes, platinum is considered the most volatile of the three major precious metals. Platinum is perfect for jewelry because it won’t tarnish and it’s super-strong. However, harsh pool chemicals and insect repellants can erode platinum jewelry finishes, so use caution this summer.

Palm Harbor Custom Jewelry: Make Informed Choices About Precious Metals

At Les Olson Jewelers, we encourage our Palm Harbor friends and neighbors to learn about the types of metals and gemstones used in wearable art. Our jewelry professionals love when you share your jewelry idea and we help create a unique, beautiful reality. We take a great deal of pride in our custom designs and professional jewelry repair services! Remember, knowledge is power, so the more you learn about high-quality precious metals and how it is made, the better qualified you’ll be to make decisions for building your jewelry collection. Call 727-785-9624 or contact us to learn more about precious metals and our jewelry store in Palm Harbor.

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