The purest form of gold is 24 karat (24K), which is too soft for lasting jewelry, so gold is traditionally combined with other metals (copper, nickel, silver) to form stronger alloys and create different colors of gold. The karat number indicates how much of the metal is gold, and how much is other metal. For example, 14K gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal.
Edwardian jewelry, with its light, airy designs, and the architectural and geometric shapes of Art Deco jewelry lent themselves to an abundant use of platinum. The clean whiteness of diamonds contrasts sharply with vivid sapphires, rubies and emeralds in elaborate platinum settings. Platinum’s popularity waned in the 1950’s-1980’s but is once again the hot metal for today’s jewelry, especially bridal sets.
Fine rubies, emeralds and sapphires are among the most lovely and expensive of gems—even more so than diamonds, in some instances! Although there are many convincing synthetic gemstones on the market, nothing can imitate the brilliance and quality of precious gems.
The value and quality of a diamond rests primarily on its color, size and clarity. Diamonds more than one carat in size are considered large, while those over five carats are rarer. Cutting styles have changed over the years, so if you have a diamond that is chipped, you might have it recut in a more contemporary form. Colored diamonds especially the deep fancy yellows often called “canary” are quite popular including other rare colors such as pink.