Guide to Precious Metals

Jewelry is a timeless art making use of a wide variety of glamorous materials. Precious metals like sterling silver, gold, and platinum elevate these attractive accessories in a multitude of ways. Each metal has its own blend of characteristics that makes them unique and distinctive. When choosing jewelry, it’s essential to find an accessory made of a precious metal that best reflects your personality and design sensibilities.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is a sophisticated, refined, and affordable metal. It has a bright gray sheen that brightens up any outfit. Whether used in a chain or a necklace, sterling silver jewelry is well-suited for accentuating. Often used in fashion jewelry, it has a surprisingly low cost. Unfortunately, sterling silver can tarnish and dull if not polished and cleaned often. This is due to the other metals used in the alloy, as copper is particularly prone to oxidation.


This elegant and sleek material is not just silver. Rather, it is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals (usually copper). Copper is preferable as it doesn’t cause allergies in most people. Silver is usually made into this alloy because pure silver is brittle and weak, making it borderline unworkable for jewelry. The addition of copper, nickel, and other metals reinforce it.


Sterling silver was first invented in the 12th century, when it was used as currency. In addition to jewelry, today it is also used in musical instruments and silverware. On the whole, sterling silver can be a wonderful precious metal when incorporated into an ensemble.

Yellow Gold

For thousands of years, gold’s spectacular yellow hue and bright shine have inspired generations. Whether used as religious ornaments or status symbols, they have a dazzlingly chic style known throughout history. It remains so to this day, with yellow gold being one of the most popular and beloved precious metals used in jewelry. This material evokes timeless and glamorous beauty, making it an ideal choice for statement pieces. It also has a peerless vibrance when paired with gemstones like diamonds and rubies.


Gold has many unique qualities besides its beauty. It is also highly resistant to corrosion and environmental threats, making it resistant to tarnish, unlike sterling silver. The element is also an excellent conductor, so it is commonly used in electronics.


While yellow is the natural color of gold, this term is used to distinguish the metal from other alloys. It is inherently soft and delicate, so jewelers reinforce it with stronger metals to strengthen it and lower the cost. Gold is measured in karats – not to be confused with carats or carrots – to denote its purity, with a maximum of 24k. The higher the carat, the richer the color and softer the metal.

White Gold

This metal has a bright shine and a luxurious look. It is lighter and more radiant than silver. White gold is also stronger and more durable than its sterling silver counterpart, as gold is resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. This alloy has a sophisticated and charming appearance that is well-suited for showing off a fine gemstone.


White gold’s color comes from the addition of palladium, silver, and other metals to pure gold. Many white gold pieces have rhodium plating that boldens the hue while adding some sparkle. However, it must be redipped occasionally by a jeweler, or else the gold’s yellow color may peek through.

Rose Gold

Beloved for its pink-red hue, rose gold has a unique aesthetic. It is bold, regal, and enchanting while evoking a fantastically feminine and eye-catching effect. Rose gold is well-accentuated by diamonds and other contrasting gemstones. Many value the romantic quality of rose gold jewelry. It is also used in several watch cases, as it has a pleasant, warm aesthetic when paired with rich leather straps. In mixed metal pieces, it pairs well with white gold and other brightly hued alloys.


It’s worth noting that rose gold doesn’t tarnish over time. While copper is susceptible to corrosion, gold’s natural resistance helps protect the piece. Over time, rose gold jewelry can develop a patina, which ensures a richer color. It can also be easily removed with a trip to the jeweler or at home.


This alloy is made through the addition of copper to yellow gold. There are many names for rose gold, including crown gold, Russian gold, and more. Unlike white gold, it doesn’t have to be redipped as it doesn’t usually have rhodium plating.


Platinum is the most luxurious and valuable precious metal. It has a vibrant white-gray hue that is unmistakably gorgeous. This rare and radiant metal’s expense is due mostly to two factors: its rarity and its purity. Unlike gold, platinum is naturally strong and can be made into jewelry without the addition of other metals. It is also much rarer than gold. This combination ensures that platinum jewelry is peerlessly valuable and high-end.


While some may say that its color is akin to sterling silver and white gold, platinum has several unique characteristics. Unlike white gold, platinum never needs to be redipped. This metal naturally exhibits a bright gray color, although it is a little whiter than its counterpart. In addition, the metal’s luxurious price makes it a better investment and illustrates the importance of an item, making it suitable for engagement rings and wedding bands. Note that, while platinum is certainly strong, it is still susceptible to scratches like any other precious metal.

Shop Precious Metal Jewelry at Manfredi Jewels

Manfredi Jewels is Connecticut’s premier source of jewelry, timepieces, and more. Since 1988, we’ve been serving our community with the highest quality luxurious accessories available. Our wide selection of designer brands guarantees that every visitor receives their dream piece, be it a fine watch or a glamorous necklace. We offer all of these precious metals and more at our fantastic jewelry stores. In addition, we provide a myriad of professional services including jewelry and watch repair. Call our New Canaan store at (203) 966-8705 and our Greenwich location at (203) 622-1414 or email to learn more.