Thursday, March 16, 2006

Know Your Gold Jewellery

The word ‘Jewellery’ is almost a generic word so when looking at what sort of gold jewellery to buy or even what to sell, it pays to ‘know your jewellery’.

Probably a good start is to know some basic terms so when you are discussing with a jeweller you look like you know what you are talking about and not like a good little consumer spotted at 600 paces.

Here are some basic terms that Jewellers use which is not only good to demonstrate you know what you are talking about but also provides a bit of an education when it comes to gold jewellery.

ASSAY A chemical process used to determine the fine precious metal content of materials. Can be expressed as a percentage or carat rating e.g. 9ct.

Au Chemical symbol for gold.

BEZEL An item that is used as a mount between the ring shank and the setting, available in different sizes to match the individual settings.

BIMETAL A combination of two differing metals bonded together. Main application in the Jewellery Industry is in the manufacture of lockets and padlocks where the material used is a 9ct sheet backed with 9ct solder (referred to as 9ct SC/9ct easy solder backed sheet). Also available in silver. The use of this material removes the need for a separate application of solder.

BOLT RING A circular catch used for fastening chains (either necklets or bracelets). Available in a variety of sizes measured by diameter e.g. 5mm, 6mm etc. and as 'open' or 'closed' type which refers to the loop by which the chain is attached.

CARAT A term used to denote the fine gold content of precious metal alloys. The designation for fine gold is 24ct therefore 9ct is 9/24 or 37.5% pure. Also a unit of weight measurement for precious stones.

CATCHES A semi-finished product used in manufacture of brooches or any item which includes a pin for fastening. The catch holds the pin in place when closed.

HALLMARK A stamped mark which is applied to items of jewellery and silverware by the Assay Offices of Britain as a guarantee of authenticity. It acts as a safeguard to purchasers. The mark consists of four components. The sponsor (or manufacturer) mark, the standard mark which denotes the precious metal content of the item, the Assay Office Mark (London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh) and the date letter which shows the year in which the article was hallmarked.

OUNCE Pre-metric unit of weight. There are two scales of ounce measurement. Ounce avoirdupois which is generally associated with foodstuffs and other consumables and ounce troy which is the scale used for precious metals. The metric equivalent of one troy ounce is 3 1.1035 grams.

Pd Chemical symbol for palladium

PENNY WEIGHT A unit of weight measurement for precious metals, there are twenty pennyweights in one troy ounce, or 1.6 grams per pennyweight.

Pt Chemical symbol for platinum.

ROLLED GOLD A base metal alloy bonded with a surface 'veneer' of precious metal, usually 9Ct. Available in various qualities determined by the carat gold thickness and base metal type. Available as single or double plate, i.e., gold alloy on one or both sides.

SEAL SET A signet ring, usually stamped, which is set with a semi-precious stone e.g., Onyx. A seal set ring differs from a stone set ring in that the stone stands proud of the ring surface and is surrounded by an open rim rather than solid metal.

STONE SET A signet ring, usually stamped, where the head has been pierced to take a semi precious stone e.g., Onyx.

TEMPER The degree of hardness exhibited by a metal.

THOU Unit of measurement relating to thickness, width etc. Short for thousandths as in thousandths of an inch. One thou is expressed as 0.001".

There are many other terms used in the gold jewellery business but the above will give you a grounding in the basic terms.

More terms can be found at Know Your Jewellery from which these terms were derived.

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