The Village Goldsmith's experienced goldsmiths are trained to work with all precious metals, from platinum and palladium to sterling silver and gold.
The range of metals to choose from when manufacturing jewellery is quite extensive and to help with the selection process we have provided a list of the most popular metals, each with its own perks and distinctive qualities. We will be sure to recommend the most appropriate metal in accordance with the ring style, wear and your budget.
While this is the most traditional choice, it is still a great one. Pure gold is often referred to as 24ct, but as it is quite soft and malleable, it is not the most desirable for an everyday band. The more common, lower carats (9ct, 14ct and 18ct) have a certain amount of alloy combined so that they are much more durable.
As a rule, these carat sizes contain the following percentages of gold:
9 carat: 37.5%
14 carat: 58.5%
18 carat: 75%
As can be expected, the higher the carat is, the richer the colour will be. It is also more resistant to tarnishing, although a bit more susceptible to wear marks. Of course, the higher the carat, the more expensive the gold.
White gold is made from yellow gold and an array of alloys. Rhodium plating is often applied to white gold to give it its deeper, whiter, more platinum like look. Be aware that this plating does wear off over time, and will require further applications in the future to maintain the look.
The scale of carats is the same for white as it is for yellow gold. However, the higher the carat of white gold, the deeper the gunmetal white colour.
Rose gold is alloyed with a small amount of copper, which gives it its rosy pink tinge. With rose gold, the higher the carat the more yellow the metal appears.
For gold in general, the more alloy employed, the greater the risk of allergic reaction.
* Always look for the carat mark - "ct" - that should be stamped on the inside of the band.
This is the most durable and dense precious metal. Platinum is the strongest precious metal used in jewellery and is the heaviest, meaning it lasts the longest for wear and tear. Platinum is a steely white colour and many people are attracted to its pure lustre.
Platinum used for jewellery is ideally 95% pure. It is often combined with ruthenium alloy, which provides for the highest purity. Alternatively, platinum can be combined with other alloys, including cobalt, copper or iridium.
It is naturally hypoallergenic and does not tarnish. An interesting final note: unlike many of its precious metal counterparts, when platinum is scratched, no metal is lost; rather, the metal is "displaced" and can be polished back to its original state.
* Remember to check for the "PT950" or "PLAT" stamp on the inside of your band.
Palladium is a platinum group metal that, in its latest alloy composition, has an amazing similarity to platinum. It is not as dense as platinum, and is in fact quite similar to gold which means although its wearing capabilities won't rival platinum, they will compare favourably with gold.
The big advantage of palladium is its cost. It's actually less expensive than gold and considerably less expensive than platinum, so it's quickly becoming a very attractive alternative. Like Platinum, palladium is naturally silvery-white in colour and therefore does not require plating as part of its maintenance.
Titanium is a natural element (no. 22 on the periodic table). Titanium has a smokey grey colour, appearing similar in tone to that of platinum. Titanium is 100% hypo-allergenic (allergy free), light in weight, very strong and has impressive durability (more so than gold or platinum). It is also resistant to corrosion and tarnishing.
Like tungsten rings, titanium rings cannot be made smaller, although most styles can be made slightly larger.
This metal is not considered "precious", but it is both durable and hypoallergenic. It is an alloy combination of steel and chromium, giving it a deep grey colour. It is pretty much resistant to corrosion and discoloration and it is truly inexpensive (often costing less than $150).
This is quite an affordable option, but it is very prone to scratches, corrosion and general wear and tear. Sterling silver is usually not the best choice for wedding bands, because of day-to-day wear. Its softness is also not ideal for stones as it is not strong enough to support such settings.
At The Village Goldsmith we use two reputable precious metal refiners.
Much of their precious metal products are produced by recycled waste from the Jewellery Industry within Australasia.
Alluvial gold from the South Island of New Zealand is another significant source of gold that we utilise. The alluvial operation complies with Department of Conservation protocols.
These products – being impure or of an unknown composition – require refining. The refining process involves burning or melting the material and then chemically refining to a pure state in our Laboratory. The pure gold, silver, palladium and platinum is then recycled into fabricated product.
Our refiners have fine tuned the refining processes with environmental sustainability in mind. For example: The melted and burnt exhaust is evacuated through afterburners and state of the art scrubber systems. The laboratory air extraction system has an automatic PH dosing system that is monitored and recorded daily.
All waste water from other production areas are run through sediment traps before being discharged. The Lost Wax Casting process ensures the majority of the wax prior to the burnout stage is steamed out and not burnt into the environment.
Our refiners also have a comprehensive system of rain water usage via roof catchment and tank storage that is useful for melt machine cooling and recycling throughout the factory.
All their systems are documented with an Environment Management Plan (EMP) which was prepared by consultants under the guidance of the management team. The EMP is monitored and complies with Council protocols.
Due to spikes in the production there are times when they purchase pure metal from internationally accredited suppliers.