What’s in Grandma’s Jewelry Box? Part I

Part I, Platinum and Gold

Whether you have inherited grandma’s jewelry or you enjoy the hunt through bins at garage sales or resale shops, if you know the various types of jewelry, you will better know if you have found a bargain, and what grandma’s jewelry box really holds.  In the next several columns, I’ll discuss the characteristics, identification marks, and care of various forms of jewelry from the very expensive to the affordable.  

When we think of precious metals most people think of gold as being the rarest and most expensive; however, platinum costs more than gold, and is considered rarer as well as more durable than gold.  White gold and platinum look almost identical.  However, platinum has an outstanding characteristic: it is hypoallergenic.  It is also 40-50% more expensive than white gold.  Look for marks Pt, or Plat, which indicate platinum and 999 or Pt 950 which indicate the amount of platinum in the metal. 

Gold in its pure form would be far too soft to make jewelry worn in today’s everyday world.   Other metals such as brass, zinc, and nickel when mixed with gold creates gold alloy which makes the metal stronger and more durable.  The amount of gold versus the amount of other metals determines the karat indicator.  A mark of 14k indicates it contains 58.3% pure gold, an 18k has 75% gold, 22k has 91.7%, and 24k has 99.9% gold.   As the karat number increases, so does the softness of the gold.  Both platinum and gold should be cleaned regularly with a soft dry, or damp cloth, or washed with gentle soap and water.  Store in soft pouches to prevent scratches.  

My next column discusses the differences in gold filled, gold plated, pure silver, sterling silver, and silver-plated jewelry.   

Nancy Pride owns Morgan Fitzgerald’s and Merle Norman located at 3800 South Texas Avenue, one mile north of University Drive.  979 268 0608 www.fitzyou.com,   

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