Beyond Precious Metals – A Guide to Precious Metals Alternatives
A guide to jewelry metals and precious metals alternatives, beyond silver, gold and platinum.
Ceramic, technically known as high-tech ceramic, is a jewelry material that marries high tech and high fashion. Made of a material called titanium carbide (TIC) – also used in space shuttle shields – ceramic jewelry it is created using exacting jewelry craftsmanship and polishing. It is one of the most popular precious metals alternatives.
Ceramic Jewelry Material
It is scratch-resistant, durable, lightweight and hypoallergenic, making it the perfect jewelry material for an active and style-conscience woman or man. It also doesn’t tarnish, oxidize – or darken — over time.
Ceramic Jewelry Appearance
High-tech ceramic jewelry is available in a range of colors including white, black, pastels and bold hues. It is often combined with metals. Ceramic is popular material for watches and in men’s jewelry, paired with other durable metals, like tungsten carbide.
A platinum group metal, palladium offers many of platinum’s benefits – bright white color, purity and strength – at a more affordable price. However, palladium is neither as rare nor as dense as platinum.
Palladium Jewelry Material
Palladium jewelry alloys are very pure. Look for “950 Palladium,” which is 95-percent pure palladium usually mixed with five-percent ruthenium, or “900 Palladium,” which is mixed with 10-percent iridium.
Palladium Jewelry Appearance
Unlike most white gold jewelry, palladium does not require plating to maintain its lustrous white color; palladium will not tarnish. It is hypoallergenic.
Precious Metal Clay
Appearing in the early 1990s in Japan, precious metal clay (or PMC) allows designers to create amazingly detailed jewelry items in a wide range of styles and prices.
Precious Metal Clay Material
Precious metal clay consists of tiny particles of silver, gold or platinum mixed with an organic binder and water. This creates a pliable “clay” material that can be shaped into forms like soft clay. When heated to high temperatures, the organic binding compound burns away leaving the solid metal piece. It can then be worked like any piece of conventionally manufactured jewelry to create styles often unattainable or too costly to create using traditional methods. Clay is one of the affordable precious metals alternatives.
Precious Metal Clay Appearance
Jewelry made from precious metal clay is silver or gold, many times with intricate detailing because of the materials malleability.
Stainless Steel, Titanium & Tungsten Carbide
Stainless steel, titanium and tungsten carbide offer affordable alternatives to precious metal jewelry and are gaining popularity, especially in men’s jewelry.
Stainless Steel, Titanium & Tungsten Carbide Material
These industrial metals have the benefits of being very strong, lightweight, hypoallergenic and scratch resistant, so they are well suited to active consumers who wear jewelry on a daily basis. When used in chain or link bracelets, the metals are less likely to break – making the need for repair infrequent.
In fact, tungsten is considered the world’s hardest metal substance; it ranks 8.0-9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (diamonds are a 10.0). However, their strength also limits their applications: resizing rings is sometimes difficult, but many manufacturers offer resizing services.
Stainless Steel, Titanium & Tungsten Carbide Appearance
They share a steely gray appearance, which men in particular find appealing. Thus Stainless Steel is one of the popular precious metals alternatives.
- Jewelry Metals Buying Guide
- Silver Jewelry Buying Guide
- Gold Jewelry Buying Guide
- Platinum Jewelry Buying Guide
- How to Clean Jewelry
Last Updated on December 29, 2020 by JewelryNStyle