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Precious Metals

Precious Metal Descriptions

precious metal casting grain

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is the whitest precious metal. But it's rather soft, scratches easily and can develop a dark tarnish over time. I don't recommend it for engagement or wedding rings. Sterling silver is 92.5% Silver and 7.5% other metals, mostly copper.

  • Pros: inexpensive, very white
  • Cons: very soft, not durable to withstand daily wear and tear, tarnishes easily


Palladium 950PD

Please note: Global supply pressure has significantly increased palladium markets and acquisition costs. We recommend platinum as an alternative option.

Palladium is naturally white metal and will not tarnish. Like platinum, palladium does not require rhodium plating and will maintain its bright white color indefinitely. Palladium rarely causes allergic reaction. It is very durable and even outlasts white gold. It is a great choice for engagement or wedding rings. The alloy used contains 95% Palladium and either 5% Ruthenium or 5% Gallium. There is no copper and no nickel in this alloy and therefore a great metal for people with nickel or copper allergies.

  • Pros: very pure, hypo-allergenic, does not tarnish or react to most household chemicals or chlorine, whiter than white gold alloys and no yellowing, many of the platinum properties, much lighter than platinum, does not wear down like white gold
  • Cons: slightly softer and scratches easier than palladium white gold alloys, may be harder to find a repair jeweler in rural US areas or internationally, but should not be a problem in most US cities


14K Palladium White Gold/ 18K Palladium White Gold

Nickel free white gold that does not need rhodium plating. No rhodium plating means lower maintenance. It has a warm gray hue (it will not match your rhodium plated white gold jewelry). Palladium white gold is an alternative for people being allergic to standard nickel white golds. 18kPDW is slightly brighter in color than 14kPDW and also a bit harder and more scratch resistant than 14k palladium white gold, platinum or palladium.

14k white gold is made up of 58.3% fine gold and 41.7% other metals, 18k gold is made up of 75% fine gold and the rest other metals. The other metals are usually silver, copper and palladium. 18k white gold is purer and has a higher content of non reactive / non tarnishing metals, so it's less likely to discolor or cause allergies than 14k gold. 18k white gold is a bit heavier than 14k white gold and more expensive. All gold alloys react to chlorine in water and can get damaged and porous over time and with long exposure.

As with all gold alloys there are variations in color hue even with the same purity depending on exact alloy composition. Some are more yellow than others. I can't guarantee your wedding ring and engagement ring will match exactly if not ordered at the same time.  

14k Palladium White Gold

  • Pros: slightly harder than palladium or platinum, less expensive than 18k palladium White Gold or Platinum
  • Cons: warm gray color, darker than other white metals, not very pure, more likely to react (tarnish/discolor/be allergenic) than 18k Palladium White Gold, Palladium or Platinum

18k Palladium White Gold

  • Pros: harder and more scratch resistant than palladium, platinum or 14k Palladium White Gold, less expensive than Platinum, slightly whiter than 14k Palladium White Gold, less likely to react (tarnish/discolor/be allergenic) than 14k Palladium White Gold
  • Cons: warm gray color, more likely to react (tarnish/discolor/be allergenic) than Palladium or Platinum

Some designs are not available in both palladium white gold options. Due to the rising cost of palladium on the metal markets I am also offering certain designs in standard nickel containing white gold alloys. 

14k/18k Nickel White Gold

In these white gold alloys nickel is used instead of palladium to whiten the gold. About 15% of the population is allergic to nickel. Therefore I do prefer not to use it but can as custom orders for certain designs. Nickel white gold alloys are less expensive than palladium white gold alloys.

>>> Please note that I do not offer rhodium plating of white gold alloys. The palladium white gold is grayer than rhodium plated nickel white gold. It will not match in color if you are intending to wear it next to plated white gold rings. However, you can get your palladium white gold or nickel white gold rings plated at a local jeweler who offers plating services. Plating wears down over time and has to be redone every 6 month to 1-2 years depending on wear. Frequent replating will wear down jewelry over time as the old plating needs to be removed, then repolish the rings out fully and then replate. During the repolishing of all the surfaces the wear is affected. It removes fine details, wears down prongs, textures, engravings and softens crisp edges.

White sapphire set in white gold or sterling silver

White Gold (14kPDW) vs Sterling Silver set with a white lab created sapphire

Platinum

Platinum is a naturally white metal that will not tarnish in air. It does not require rhodium plating to maintain whiteness. Platinum is considered being Hypoallergenic. It has a greater wear resistance compared with white gold in terms of metal loss and is very durable.
Being one of the densest elements on earth, rings in platinum are heavier than gold or palladium rings. All precious metals will scratch, however, when platinum scratches, it tends to displace rather than lose metal weight. It will develop a patina like appearance with wear and can easily be re-polished to it's original shine. Your platinum jewelry will outlast other precious metal jewelry and hold stones in place more securely.

The most common platinum alloy I use contains 95% Platinum and 5% Ruthenium, upon request I can also use a 90% Platinum/10% Iridium alloy.

  • Pros: very pure, hypo-allergenic, does not tarnish or react to most household chemicals or chlorine, much whiter than white gold alloys and no yellowing, does not wear down like white gold, best for stone settings
  • Cons: slightly softer and scratches easier than palladium white gold alloys, very heavy, most expensive alloy

14k Yellow Gold/ 18k Yellow Gold

Classic yellow gold that provides durability and timeless appeal. 14k gold is made up of 58.3% fine gold and 41.7% other metals, 18k gold is made up of 75% fine gold and the rest other metals. 14k has a medium yellow color - not as rich yellow as 18k yellow gold with it's higher gold content. The other metals are copper, silver and possibly a tiny amount of zinc and possibly silicone. There is no nickel in these alloys.

18k white gold is purer and has a higher content of non reactive / non tarnishing metals, so it's less likely to discolor or cause allergies than 14k gold. 18k white gold is a bit heavier than 14k white gold and more expensive. All gold alloys react to chlorine in water and can get damaged over time and with long exposure. Most 14k yellow gold alloys are a bit harder and more scratch resistant than 18k yellow gold alloys.

As with all gold alloys there are variations in color hue even with the same purity depending on exact alloy composition. I can't guarantee your wedding ring and engagement ring will match exactly if not ordered at the same time. 

rose gold metal grain wire sheet

14k Rose gold

This gold alloy has a high copper content to give the metal it's warm red color hue. Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition and can range from a peach color to a coppery rose color. 14k rose gold is made up of 58.3% fine gold and 41.7% other metals. Those other metals are copper, silver, zinc and silicone. There is a high copper content in rose gold which may cause allergies for people with copper allergies. It's also more likely to tarnish/ discolor or react to household chemicals. All gold alloys react to chlorine in water and can get damaged over time and with long exposure. 14k rose gold is softer than yellow gold alloys.

 

 

Precious Metal Comparison

Metal

Composition/

Weight (Specific Gravity)

Hardness /
Wear Resistance

Color

Allergies, Resistance to discoloration/ tarnish/ chemicals

Maintenance

Sterling Silver

92.5% Pure

92.5% Silver, 7.5% Others (mostly copper but can have minor palladium, germanium, silicone)

Specific Gravity: 10.2, very light

 

75-80 HV as-cast

 

Soft and scratches easily

 

Low wear resistance, thins due to wear

Whitest metal but can tarnish easily

Tarnishes easily in air and if exposed to household chemicals. Nickel free.

Frequent repolishing required, Scratches may be too deep to get them removed through polishing

Palladium

95% Pure

95% Palladium, 5% Others (Ruthenium or Gallium)

 

Specific Gravity: 11.8

Similar in weight to 14k yellow gold,

55-60% lighter than platinum

125-138 HV as-cast

 

Slightly softer than palladium white gold alloys

It does not wear down or thin over time as much as white gold.

15% greater wear resistance compared with white gold in terms of metal loss/thinning due to wear.

Maintains it's white color forever. The color is a neutral gray. Darker than Sterling Silver or rhodium plated white gold. But lighter than non-plated palladium white gold. Very close to the color of platinum.

Nickel and copper free. Generally Hypo-allergenic

Extreme tarnish resistance, not likely to be affected (discolored or corroded) by household chemicals or chlorine

 

Long term maintenance includes repolishing. Polishing palladium is more labor intensive than gold, but not as much as platinum

Most scratches are not deep and can be easily be polished out by a jeweler.

Platinum

95% Pure

95% Platinum, 5% others (mostly Ruthenium)

 

Specific Gravity: 20.7

75-80% heavier than white gold, platinum is the densest metal alloy

 

130 HV as-cast

 

Slightly softer than palladium white gold alloys

It does not wear down or thin over time as much as white gold.

23% greater wear resistance compared with white gold in terms of metal loss/thinning due to wear.

Because of it’s high density it holds textures, patterns and engravings better than other alloys and often edges look sharper

Maintains it's white color forever. The color is a neutral light gray. Darker than Sterling Silver or rhodium plated white gold. A tad lighter than palladium. Much lighter than non-plated palladium White Gold.

Nickel and copper free. Hypo-allergenic

Extreme tarnish resistance, least likely to be affected (discolored or corroded) by household chemicals or chlorine

.

 

Long term maintenance includes repolishing. Polishing platinum is more labor intensive than gold or palladium alloys.

Most scratches are not deep and can be easily be polished out by a jeweler.

 

 

14k Palladium White Gold

58.3% gold, 41.7% Other (copper, silver, palladium),

Nickel-free

 

Specific Gravity: 14.6

Slightly heavier than palladium but only 30% lighter than platinum

125 -140 HV as-cast (palladium white gold)

 

Usually stiffer and slightly harder than palladium or platinum with slightly better scratch resistance.

Metal does wear down over the years more than platinum or palladium.

Warm gray color, darker than palladium or platinum with a yellow tint to it. Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition.

 

Does not yellow over time as much as nickel based white gold alloys.

 

Does not need rhodium plating, but plating can be done at a jeweler if a whiter color is desired.

 

Nickel free. Lower gold purity than 18k white gold and more likely to cause allergies, tarnish or discolor than 18k white gold, palladium or platinum.

Can be damaged (get brittle and porous) if exposed to chlorine and household chemicals.

Long term maintenance includes repolishing.

Most scratches are not deep and can be easily be polished out.

 

Does not require rhodium plating, but if plating was done it does need to be refreshed every couple of months/years depending on wear

18k Palladium White Gold

75.2% gold, 24.8% Other (copper, palladium),

Nickel-free

 

Specific Gravity: 15.9

10-20% heavier than 14k gold, 20-25% lighter than platinum

 

130 -158 HV as-cast (palladium white gold)

 

Usually a tad stiffer and slightly harder than palladium or platinum with slightly better scratch resistance. Slightly harder and more scratch resistant than 14k palladium white gold.

Metal does wear down over the years more than platinum or palladium.

Warm gray color, darker than palladium or platinum with a yellow tint to it. Often a tad brighter than 14k palladium alloy. Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition and alloy manufacturer.

 

Does not yellow over time as much as nickel based white gold alloys.

 

Does not need rhodium plating, but plating can be done at a local jeweler if a whiter color is desired.

 

Nickel free. Purer than 14k white gold but not as pure as palladium or platinum. Less likely to cause allergies, tarnish or discolor than 14k white gold (more likely to react than palladium or platinum)

Can be damaged (get brittle and porous) if exposed to chlorine.

Long term maintenance includes repolishing.

Most scratches are not deep and can be easily be polished out.

 

Does not require rhodium plating, but if plating was done it does need to be refreshed every couple of months/years depending on wear

14k Yellow Gold

58.3% gold, 41.7% Other (copper, silver, zinc, silicone)

Nickel-free

 

Specific Gravity: 13

Lighter than 18k yellow gold.

134 - 140 HV as-cast

Harder than 18k yellow gold or 14k rose gold.

 

Metal does wear down over the years.

Paler and often slightly warmer in color than 18k yellow gold.

Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition and alloy manufacturer.

 

 

Nickel free. Lower gold purity than 18k yellow gold and more likely to cause allergies, tarnish or discolor than 18k yellow gold.

Can be damaged (get brittle and porous) if exposed to chlorine and household chemicals.

Long term maintenance includes repolishing

18k Yellow Gold

75.2% gold, 24.8% Other (copper, silver, zinc, silicone)

Nickel-free

 

Specific Gravity: 15.6

Heavier than 14k yellow gold.

125 to 135 HV as-cast

Slightly softer than 14k yellow gold.

 

Metal does wear down over the years.

More intense yellow than 14k yellow gold.

Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition and alloy manufacturer.

 

Purer than 14k white gold. Less likely to cause allergies, tarnish or discolor than 14k yellow gold.

Can be damaged (get brittle and porous) if exposed to chlorine.

Long term maintenance includes repolishing

14k Rose Gold

58.3% gold, 41.7% Other (copper, silver, zinc, silicone)

Nickel-free

 

Specific Gravity: 13

88-130 HV as-cast

Softer than 14k yellow gold.

 

Metal does wear down over the years.

Coppery color which can be peachy or more rosy.

Actual color may vary depending on exact alloy composition and alloy manufacturer.

 

Nickel free. But high copper content (which can cause copper allergies). More likely to tarnish or discolor than 14k yellow gold.

Can be damaged (get brittle and porous) if exposed to chlorine

Long term maintenance includes repolishing

 

Rhodium plating: Very thin layer of metal plating over nickel white gold, 800 HV Vickers Hardness, very hard but wears off quickly (within 6 month to 2 years depending on wear and body chemistry), makes white gold more scratch resistant for a short time, adds maintenance cost to redo plating frequently, plating has be redone if ring gets sized or repaired. Rhodium plating is not offered by Nodeform.

Silver/Palladium (discontinued)

Silver/Palladium alloy (AGPD) contains approximately 54% silver, 25% Palladium, and 21% Copper. Its hardness falls right in between that of 14KY and 14KW golds. In addition to increased durability it provides better tarnish resistance than normal Sterling Silver. It's color is very similar to palladium (950PD) with a warm hint, a bit greyer than sterling silver. It's an economical choice if Palladium or white gold are not in someone's budget. But since it is a custom alloy, it could be challenging to get any future repair or sizing work done at your local jeweler. I discontinued this metal option as I won't be able to cast it anymore due to health concerns related to the lost-wax-casting procedure.

I won't be offering it anymore for any made to order ring. It was a metal I had to cast in my own studio and I won't be able to do that anymore due to ventilation issues and health concerns. If you got previously an engagement ring from me in the silver/palladium alloy I recommend to choose a 14k Palladium white gold wedding band to match it. The metal looks pretty much the same and it will wear similar. So there are no issues wearing these 2 different metals next to each other. They are similar in hardness too and both nickel-free.

More detailed information about the all the alloys and pictures are available in this blog post.

 

Recycled Metal

All precious metals I use are recycled.

I do send out all my casting at this time. All those casters do use recycled metals.

For platinum and palladium I use Techform as my preferred caster as they provide the best quality and service I have seen so far from commercial casters. Unfortunately they don't cast any white gold or silver, I use a Quality Casing in NY for that.

For the metals I can cast or melt down for fabrication, I recycle some of my own old metals. Typically a mix of max 50% old and min 50% new metal is required to avoid issues.

I do buy most of my new recycled casting grain and mill products like wire and stock from well respected trade suppliers such as Hoover and Strong, Stulleror my local supplier in Los Angeles, D. H Fell. They also do my metal refining for scraps I can't reuse directly. All metals in my designs including the one's from the offsite casters are recycled and refined.

 

Metal Allergies

The precious metals I use are usually nickel free unless it's specifically indicated in the listing to be used on some findings for white gold earrings and necklaces. 

A few people seem to have allergic reactions to Sterling silver. This could be due to the copper content. My guess is also that some actually are allergic to plated silver. My designs are never plated, but some commercial jewelry gets plated with rhodium to prevent it from tarnishing. As I understand it, to plate silver it needs to be plated with nickle first and then with rhodium. Once the rhodium wears off, it exposes the nickle layer underneath which causes allergies.

Some are also allergic to yellow golds as those contain copper too. Basically any metal when constantly worn can cause an allergic reaction. If allergies are a concern, the best (but most expensive) choice is using platinum, followed by palladium and nickel free high karat (18K) gold alloys (palladium white gold or yellow gold).


Metal allergies are complex and it's often hard to really be able to pin point which of the ingredients in an alloy causes the reactions. Keeping jewelry clean is crucial to avoid skin reactions. Sometimes trapped soap residue is actually the cause for rashes and not the metal. If someone experiences allergic reactions, it is best to consult with a medical specialist and get an allergy test done.

 

Other Metals

I don't use copper, bronze or brass for my rings. I can't currently work with Titanium or Steel. They require some totally different tools and techniques. 

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