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gold jewelry facts

 
 
Some people write or call asking questions about gold or what they are purchasing. About half the population out there knows all about jewelry. The women! The other half, (men!) don't know as much. We know the important stuff. Like "buy it for the other half"!
 
Whether you buy it here or somewhere else, you need to know what you are buying. It is an investment. The scary thing is, you don't know what you don't know, until you learn it...
 
Charlie
 
 
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  • Weight
Precious metals are sold by weight. The final price is determined by the base price of gold today in London; finishing cost per piece by weight; shipping, handling and insurance by weight.
 
1 Troy Ounce = 31.1033 Grams (gms)
1 Troy Ounce = 20 Pennyweight (dwt)
.9114 Troy Ounce = 1 Ounce Avoirdupois
1.5552 Grams = 1 Pennyweight
28.3495 Grams = 1 Ounce Avoirdupois
 
  • Gold Standards of actual gold content and the European symbol
8kt - 33.48% gold
10kt - 41.81% gold - Euro 420
14kt - 58.48% - Euro 585
18kt - 75.15% - Euro 750
19kt - 79.31%
22kt Coin - 90% - Euro 900
22kt - 92% - Euro 920
24kt - 100% - Euro 999.9
 
  • Silver
Fine Silver - 99.9% silver
Sterling Silver - 92.5% silver (usually the other 7.5% is copper)
Argentium Silver - 93.5-96.0% silver, a little copper and a lot of germanium
Platinum silver - 93.0% silver and 6.5% platinum .5% alloys
 
  • Specific Gravity properties of metal
24kt yellow gold - 19.32
18kt yellow gold - 15.58
14kt yellow gold - 13.07
10kt yellow gold - 10.49
Fine Silver - 10.49
Sterling Silver - 10.36
 
  • What is gold fill, layering and plating?
Gold fill is made up of 1/20th 14kt gold or 5% x .5858 (14kt gold content) to equal 3% actual gold in a gold filled piece. A layer of 14kt gold is put over brass by heat and pressure bonding. Gold filled has an actual layer of gold, while gold plated merely has a microscopic film. Gold vermeil by FTC standards has a 100 millionths of an inch layer of 14kt gold over sterling silver.
 
  • How is gold made in other colors?
With the introduction of various metals to pure gold, the color can be altered. Believe it or not, gold can be yellow, white, rose, purple, green or blue! Here are the most common formulas of how they make yellow, white and rose colored gold.
 
18kt yellow gold - 75% gold + 12.5% silver + 12.5% copper
14kt yellow gold - 58% gold + 25% silver + 17% copper
18kt white gold - 75% gold + 5% copper + 15% nickel + 5% zinc
14kt white gold - 58% gold + 20% copper + 14.5% nickel + 7.5% zinc
18kt rose gold - 75% gold + 5% silver + 20% copper
14kt rose gold - 58% gold + 10% silver + 32% copper
 
  • Platinum
Platinum is the most pure metal of the precious metals. As a rule of thumb, a piece in 14kt (yellow) gold will cost 6-7 times more in .950 platinum. The highest grade of platinum jewelry is .950 or 95.0% pure. If you are looking at platinum that feels light or is surprisingly low in cost ask the grade. My bench jeweler and a well known jewelry school had problems sizing a platinum ring. It turned out to be 35% platinum. There are different grades of platinum just as with gold. (9kt, 10kt, 12kt, 14kt, 18kt, 22kt and 24kt). There are also requirements for platinum stamping. If you do not know, you will not know.
 
Platinum is a very rare precious metal. Platinum has a higher density than gold, therefore requires a much higher level of craftsmanship. Only the most skilled jewelers can comfortably work with platinum. Platinum is compatible with all skin types as it is hypoallergenic. Its purity means it also does not tarnish. These traits add to it's exclusivity.
 
Platinum weighs 166% as much as the identical piece in 14kt (yellow) gold.
 
If we take two identical rings, one in 14kt (yellow) gold and one in .950 platinum. The 14kt ring weighs 8gms. The platinum ring will weigh 13.28gms.
 
Today with gold roughly at $600oz and platinum $1300oz, there is at least twice a price difference. But wait. A 14kt ring is 58.5% gold while the platinum ring is 95% platinum.
 
Now, take 58.5% of the gold value of $600 to arrive at $351 of gold value per ounce of 14kt. With the platinum it is $1,235 of platinum value per ounce of platinum jewelry.
 
Then divide by 31.104 for the gram value. The gold would be $11.28 for the 14kt and $39.71 for the .950 platinum. If you melted those two identical rings, the 14kt would (in a perfect world!) be worth $90.24 and the platinum $527.35! * Caveat - In real life, you would be lucky to get 90% of those values due to refining costs.
 
Just based on physics, that is a 5.84 times price difference. That does not take into account labor which will be at least twice that of 14kt yellow gold labor as it is so much more difficult to work. Labor cost on jewelry is often the largest single cost in the finished piece. A single ring can take hours and hours and hours of fitting, setting, detailing, polishing, finishing and inspecting before it is ready for sale.
 
  • Diamonds and Cubic Zirconia (CZ)
CZs are a very good manmade version of the natural stone, diamond. They look great in 14kt or 18kt settings. Obviously, the CZ is much heavier. Coloring is similar and the hardness is not far apart. There are 'man-made' diamonds that are a different matter. There are various ways of making a diamond and only an extremely talented person or machine can tell them apart. Some man-made diamonds can cost more than a natural diamond.
  • Diamond vs CZ vs Moissanite
Mohs Hardness
D - 10
CZ - 8.5
M - 9.25
 
Refractive Index (brilliance)
D - 2.417
CZ - 2.15
M - 2.65
 
Specific Gravity
D - 3.515
CZ - 5.8
M - 3.21
 
Dispersion (fire)
D - .044
M - .104
 
Luster
D - 17.2%
M - 20.4%
  • Moissanite
This is the one that was featured on 60 Minutes & 20-20 and fooled almost every jeweler tested. Without special testing equipment, distinguishing it from a natural diamond, is very difficult if not impossible. Green color is soon to be released and available.
  • Triplet
Opals are frequently created as triplets, meaning the stone is assembled from three pieces. Opal triplets are composed of a rock quartz layer over genuine opal joined to a base. Triplets resist marring, and the quartz acts to play up the brilliance of the genuine stone.
  • Birthstones
  • January - Garnet
    February - Amethyst
    March - Aquamarine
    April - Diamond
    May - Emerald
    June - Alexandrite or Pearl
    July - Ruby
    August - Peridot
    September - Blue Sapphire
    October - Tourmaline (pink)
    November - Citrine or Topaz (golden)
    December - Zircon or Tourmaline (blue)

     

  • RINGS Please read if you are considering a ring purchase
  • Most people are very specific about their ring and know exactly what they want. This is not by luck, it is research! For those of you who do not know, this is for you.
     
    No matter what you think, you do not know your ring size. A standard ring sizer is 3mm wide. A plastic sizer will be different than a calibrated steel sizer. A wide ring sizer is only 5mm wide. Guys, if someone tells you that you wear a size six, please be sure they are not looking at a 9.0 upside down. It is NOT funny two days before the wedding.
     
    A typical wedding band may be 1mm thick and 3-5mm wide. If you are looking for a massive heavy style ring, you are looking at 3-4mm thick and 8-12mm wide. Don't be surprised that the price is 3-4 times that of an average band.
     
    I know your college ring is a 12 and you've always worn a 12 and you want a 12. Are you going to continue to wear your college ring? It's on your right hand correct? You wedding ring is going on your left hand? More than likely you left hand is 1/2 size smaller unless you are a lefty. Than it's most likely a half size larger. Thank me now or thank me after the wedding, go get your ring size taken!
     
    Next, if you are getting a ring wider than 4-5mm it is a good idea to go and buy an inexpensive ring in the same size and the same width to see how you like it. Not everyone can wear an 8mm wide ring. Try on a standard flat fit and a comfort fit and see which you prefer. I know $100 more is a lot of money. Thank me now or thank me in 15 years. I'm not trying to sell you up. If you are in law enforcement there are other issues that we have discussed privately. If you are working around water a lot (surf, sail, fish, boat, pilot, ATF, Customs) you may want the ring snug so it does not come off easily. We do have a surfer that has replaced his band four times in three years and refuses to get it one half size smaller. My accountant says THANK YOU!
     
    Not all rings can be resized so it is critical to be accurate in your sizing. Rings made for you are NOT RETURNABLE. If you ordered a 7.0 and after the honeymoon you are an 8.0 the ring is NOT RETURNABLE. If you change your mind and decide you do not like the ring anymore it is NOT RETURNABLE. I know this seems redundant, but it is actually for your credit card company to see our ring policy. If you are less than 150% sure that you want a ring we are offering for sale, merely ask us to send you a sample to evaluate prior to ordering yours. If you are ordering a ladies ring for a guy, even though we size it to 11 or 13 it is going to look like a ladies ring on a guy. The ladies rings are the ones that go 4.5 to 8 and the guys are the ones that go 8.5 to 12.
     
    If you are getting rings with emeralds, how much do you know about emeralds? They are fragile. They will NOT last a lifetime. Expect to loose a small emerald every few years out of your ring. If you don't, great! If you do, the emerald and workmanship was not defective. Walk into the best jewelry store you can find and ask if you buy an emerald how long the guarantee is on it. Exactly! Once you walk out the door the guarantee is over. It is guaranteed to be what it is at the time of purchase. How long it lasts depends entirely upon how you treat it and your lifestyle.
     
  • ENGAGEMENT RINGS
  •  
    Guys, do this right and you can thank me now and she will thank you the rest of your life! I know you want the perfect ring and you want to surprise her. Involve her.
     
    Did you hear me?
     
    INVOLVE HER!
     
    I know, I know, she will love the 1.0ct round diamond in the twisted prong setting you saw. Did you know she has dreamed of a princess cut diamond since she was 15 because her father always told her she was a princess and to hold out for a prince? Did you know she and her best friend or sister have been looking at settings since they were seniors in high school? How many bridal magazines and wedding magazines have YOU looked at? How many do you think she has looked at? Do you think she will tell you what she wanted after you have proposed and surprised her? She will tell you on your 20th anniversary when you ask: "what can I get to be really special this year"?
     
    Involve her in the process before you are ready to buy. Know what style of stone she likes, what color gold she likes. Do you know if she has allergies? If she has any metal allergies you do not want to buy her a white gold ring unless you are certain it is nickel free. Some girls do not want to wear yellow gold. Some want a small diamond, but you want to show the world you are the man and get her a huge one. Be a man and ask her what she'd like.
     
    Just imagine you've been talking about a new SUV or pickup. In your mind you are analyzing full time four wheel drive or switchable. Lift kit or stock? Snorkel or carbon fiber foam filter? Black on black or black on black! Hemi or twin turbo diesel? Then, you come home and she has a surprise for you in the driveway! A light blue two wheel drive imported pick-up with a cap and four cylinder that was a deal! Smile and say thank you! Hopefully you can twist the crankshaft in 50-60,000 miles!
     
    Involve her and find out what she wants. It's HER day and you are her man. Show her! Relax and have fun with it. It is about the two of you and it is HER day.
     
     

    Ring Size Comparison Chart (approximate equivalents)

     US/CA

    Inside diameter mm/inches

    Inside circumference mm/inches

     British

    French

    German

    Japanese
    1 1/2  12.78 / .503  40.2 / 1.580  C  40 1/2  12 3/4  ---
     2  13.21 / .520  41.5 / 1.634  D  41 1/2  13 1/4  2
     2 1/2  13.61 / .536  42.7 / 1.684  E  42 3/4  13 3/4  3
     3  14.05 / .553  44.0 / 1.739  F  44  14  4
     3 1/2  14.45 / .569  45.2 / 1.788  G  45 1/4  14 1/2  ---
     4  14.86 / .585  46.5 / 1.836  H 1/2  46 1/2  15  7
     4 1/2  15.27 / .601  47.8 / 1.888  I 1/2  47 3/4  15 1/4  8
     5  15.70 / .618  49.0 / 1.941  J 1/2  49  15 3/4  9
     5 1/2  16.10 / .634  50.2 / 1.992  L  50 1/4  16  ---
     6  16.51 / .650  51.5 / 2.042  M  51 1/2  16 1/2  12
     6 1/2  16.92 .666  52.8 / 2.092  N  52 3/4  17  13
     7  17.35 / .683  54.0 / 2.146  N 1/2  54  17 1/4  14
     7 1/2  17.63 / .699  55.3 / 2.196  O 1/2  55 1/2  17 1/2  15
     8  18.19 / .716  56.6 / 2.249  P 1/2  56 3/4  18  16
     8 1/2  18.59 / .732  57.8 / 2.300  Q 1/2  58  18 1/2  17
     9  18.99 / .748  59.1 / 2.350  R 1/2  59 1/4  19  18
     9 1/2  19.41 / .764  60.3 / 2.400  S 1/2  60 1/2  19 1/2  19
     10  19.84 / .781  61.6 / 2.463  T 1/2  61 3/4  20  20
     10 1/2  20.24 / .797  62.8 / 2.504  U 1/2  62 3/4  20 1/4  22
     11  20.68 / .814  64.1 / 2.567  V 1/2  64 1/4  20 3/4  23
     11 1/2  21.01 / .830  66.0 / 2.608  W 1/2  66  21  24
     12  21.41 / .846  67.3 / 2.658  Y  67 1/4  21 3/4  25
     
     
     
  • "I don't live near a jewelry store. How can I measure my ring size?"
  • (this is only a guide for a rough guesstimate of your size)
    Step One
    Wrap a piece of string or a strip of paper around your finger.

    Step 2
    Mark the point where the two ends meet.

    Step 3
    Measure the string or paper against a ruler.

    Step 4
    A rule of thumb: 1 15/16 of an inch (49mm) equals size five. Every 1/16 of an inch thereafter equals a half size up from size five.
    • "My wife wants platinum instead of gold? What should I do?"
    She is obviously talking about the new Penn fishing reels! You lucky dog! Buy her a bracelet, take her to dinner and teach the rest of us your secret!
     
    • Why does gold or silver discolor fingers?
    Some customers may think that faulty manufacturing or under-karatting might be the problem when a ring 'turns,' blackening or discoloring the skin and clothing, or the jewelry itself. The most common reason is metallic abrasion, caused by makeup on skin or clothing. Cosmetics often contain compounds harder than the jewelry itself, which wear or rub off very tiny particles. Very finely divided metal always appears black rather than metallic, so it looks like a jet-black dust. When this dust comes into contact with absorbent surfaces such as skin or clothing, it sticks, forming a black smudge. To prevent this, try switching cosmetics. If this is not possible, remove rings and other jewelry while applying them, and clean skin areas in contact with jewelry with soap and water.
     
    Another cause is actual corrosion of the metals. Gold itself does not corrode, but its primary alloys of silver or copper do so - forming very dark chemical compounds - under moist or wet conditions. When a person perspires, fats and fatty acids released can cause corrosion of 14-karat gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast semitropical areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors the skin. Smog fumes gradually attack jewelry and are evident as a tarnish that rubs off on the skin. Remove jewelry often and use an absorbent powder, free of abrasives, on skin that comes into contact with jewelry. Remove all rings before using soaps, cleaning compounds or detergents and clean your rings frequently. As well as solving the problem, you'll be amazed at how much better the rings look!
     
    Switching to 18kt jewelry which has only 25% alloy versus 42% in 14kt and that significantly reduces the problem. The use of platinum should reduce it all together. (Stuller)
     
     
    • How we make our jewelry in our studio
    Our own jewelry is made in the USA in our studio or by Stuller, Hoover & Strong and private casting companies within the USA.
     
    • Why you should not wear your jewelry into the pool or hot tub.
    Swimming and warm weather just naturally go together. But next time, be sure to remove your gold jewelry first. Most pool water contains chlorine, which is a useful disinfectant. However, even when highly diluted, chlorine can be harmful to all kinds of karat gold jewelry... yellow, pink and especially white gold. Studies have shown that even tiny amounts of diluted chlorine in pools, resort spas, whirlpools and hot tubs can erode the nickel alloy in white gold, and possibly cause prongs to snap and mountings to break apart. Chlorine is present in many ordinary household chemicals such as bleach, detergents, soaps and cleaners. They can leave chlorine deposits that could damage your gold rings. When using these products always remove gold jewelry or wear rubber gloves. (Golden Triangle News)
     
    • Gemstone Care
    People often remark how beautiful a piece looks when they receive it or leave the jewelry store, but over time, the gemstones 'change' and become cloudy or dull. While your piece of jewelry is in the jewelers care, he/she is caring for it. That is why they spend so much time with you to be sure you are satisfied and happy before you walk out the door. Once you leave the premises, it is impossible to monitor your care and wearing of the gemstone. If you have a few other people examine it or 'clean' it before bringing it back to the original jeweler, it may not even be the same stone...
     
    Even though your gemstone is an inanimate object, think of it as alive. It needs care and some need nourishment! The first thing to stay away from is the people in the aisles of the mall that want to clean your rings for free! Hold up a cross or crossed index fingers to keep them and vampires away! (Buffy wears a white gold Claddagh ring so she's ok!) Keep your gemstones out of the steamers and acid washes!
     
     
     
    Amber - clean with a soft damp cloth. Never use steam or ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid alcohol, bleach and all harsh chemicals. Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water. The safest and best way to clean emerald jewelry is with lukewarm water, a very mild soap and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly. Store each piece separately so that other jewelry will not scratch it.
     
    Amethyst - if properly taken care of, will last indefinitely. Amethyst should be protected from sharp blows and scratches but is otherwise quite resistant to normal wear. It may be cleaned with most any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap and lukewarm water using a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly. Some amethyst may fade if exposed to sunlight for long periods. For this reason, it is recommended you do not wear it while sunbathing or using a tanning bed.
     
    Aquamarine - should never be cleaned with a steam cleaner or ultrasonic cleaning machine. It can be cleaned with most commercial jewelry cleaners or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
     
    Citrine - the beautiful color in your citrine, if properly taken care, will last indefinitely. Citrine should be protected from sharp blows and scratches but is otherwise quite resistant to normal wear. Citrine can be cleaned with most any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap, lukewarm water using a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly. Some citrine may fade if exposed to sunlight for long periods. For this reason, it is recommended you do not wear it while sunbathing or using a tanning bed.
     
    Emerald - care should be exercised when both wearing and cleaning emerald jewelry. The internal features found in most emeralds make them very susceptible to sharp blows and sudden temperature changes. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner, steam, detergent or commercial jewelry cleaners. The safest and best way to clean emerald jewelry is with lukewarm water, a very mild soap and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly. When it appears to be a little dull, bring it to your jeweler and ask him/her to oil it. Don't laugh...
     
    Garnet - is both hard and durable. Garnet can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaning machine, any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap and lukewarm water using a soft brush.
     
    Opal - should be protected from heat and strong light due to their unusually high water content, or they can dry out. Opals also draw moisture from the air and therefore should not be stored for long periods of time in dehumidified environments such as a bank vault. Never clean an opal using chemicals, detergents, ultrasonic or steam cleaning machines. The safest and best way to clean opals is with lukewarm water, a very mild soap and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly.
     
    Pearls - cultured pearls are softer than most gemstones but durable enough for everyday wear. Because oils, soaps and chemicals can damage the beautiful nacre, you should apply cosmetics, perfumes and hair spray before putting on your pearls. Wipe your pearls with a dry, soft cloth after each wearing. Never clean cultured pearls with any harsh chemical, and only use a commercial jewelry cleaner specifically made for cultured pearls. The safest cleaning method is using a mild soap and lukewarm water solution, wiping with a soft cloth. Always lay strands flat to dry to prevent the cord from stretching. To ensure years of enjoyment, be sure to have your pearl strands inspected regularly and re-string as needed.
     
    Peridot - does not react well to heat. Avoid sudden temperature changes. Peridot should never be cleaned with ultrasonic or steam cleaning machines. It may be cleaned with most commercial jewelry cleaning solutions or soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Ruby - is both hard and durable and can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaning machine, any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush. Rubies with a glass like residue in surface-reaching fractures should NOT be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner or steam machine.
     
    Sapphire - is hard and durable and can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaning machine, any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Spinel - is hard and durable and can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaning machine, any commercial jewelry cleaner or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Tanzanite - is a relatively hard gemstone, but it is not equally durable. Tanzanite may chip or break if exposed to moderate blows or sudden changes in temperature. It should never be cleaned with an ultrasonic or steam cleaning machine. It may be cleaned with most commercial jewelry cleaners, or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Topaz - is a hard gemstone that is very resistant to scratching, but because of its internal structure it may break or split if subjected to a hard blow or sudden changes in temperature. It should never be cleaned with an ultrasonic or steam cleaning machine. It may be cleaned with most commercial jewelry cleaners, or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Tourmaline - is a hard gemstone that is resistant to both scratching and breaking, but it should be protected from sharp blows or sudden changes in temperature. Because of the natural internal characteristics found in some tourmalines, especially pinks and reads, ultrasonic cleaning machines should not be used. It may be cleaned with most commercial jewelry cleaners, or mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft brush.
     
    Gemstone care tips provided by Jewelers of America
     
     
    Soft brush is NOT a toothbrush. A toothbrush will scratch silver badly, gold and platinum slightly. A fine horse hair brush found in auto detailer stores is best.
     
    NO tarnish removing solutions should be used on silver. It ruins it. There are no shortcuts. We use Bonners liquid soap from the healthfood store. Good for your face and excellent on jewelry.

     
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