Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals

How to Identify, Select and Care for Them



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A Gold Mine of Info

About gold, platinum, palladium, silver, copper, bronze, brass, iron, stainless steel, Damascus steel, titanium, niobium, aluminum, tungsten carbide and cobalt chrome. Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals explains how to test, buy, sell, and care for jewelry with precious and alternative metals. High-quality color photos show how these metals are creatively used in jewelry. Besides providing an historical perspective and interesting facts about the metals, this book discusses jewelry manufacturing methods, plating and responsible mining & business practices.

It also discusses:

♦ How to read the stamps on jewelry mountings

♦ How to identify jewelry metals

♦ How to determine the gold content in jewelry

♦ How to prevent and remove silver tarnish

♦ How and where to sell your unwanted jewelry

♦ How to spot a fair consignment contract

♦ How to select refiners and prepare jewelry metal for them

♦ How to clean metal jewelry  


Author: Renée Newman

Publisher: International Jewelry Publications


ISBN-13: 978-0-929975-47-4

$19.95, Trade paperback, 256 photos, 136 pages, 6" x 9"


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"Congratulations on a wonderful job! You have managed to include a tremendous amount of very useful information on a very expansive and potentially dry subject, while staying concise, interesting and even entertaining. Honestly, I learned a great deal about metals I did not know - so much so that this book will now be with me on the job at all times as a primary reference."  

Dan Kapler, Refining Sales Manager, David H. Fell & Company, Inc. Los Angeles , CA


"I must say that you have put together a well-crafted tome. Your book is very informative & easy to read & understand. You have obviously done your research & clearly know much more about metallurgy than the average person in the industry, certainly more than I know! Unless you wanted to add a chapter about refining, there is nothing I would change or could add to what you have written. Kudos!!!"

Lee J. Thompson, Jewelers Refining Group, Inc., New York City , NY  


"What a fascinating book! I've been in the jewelry business since 1972 and yet even with all that experience, your book provided new insights."

Chris Booth, Exotica Jewelry, Clarkdale , AZ


"Your latest work really is incredibly informative, even for us who work with these metals every day, and certainly for a public that has no ready access to any information at all on this subject!

      Every time you announce a new topic, I am amazed that no one else ever thought to focus on it: exotic gems, rare gems, each of those merited a book, but no one thought of isolating them. Each time one of your books appears, I slap my head and think: why didn't anyone think of that before? Each of your books fulfills a real need, and you perform the rare magical act of identifying with your reader, never talking down or assuming.

      As always, the presentation is impeccable, photos, text, clear and succinct. I loved the tables of alloy composition, and enjoyed the tour behind an appraiser's methods. Kudos, I can't wait to see what you do next!"

Eve Alfillé, Eve Alfillé Gallery, Evanston, IL

"Underpromise, overdeliver…underpromise, overdeliver…" Renee Newman must have been chanting that mantra the entire time she was writing her most recent book, Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals. It absolutely delivers on the title, but if you were to hide the cover and give the book to someone to read, they would have a hard time guessing its name. They might come up with something like "Contemporary Jewelry and Metals," but that would miss the mark because of all the historical background. There’s also scientific information about the metals, production technologies from the past as well as today’s cutting-edge processes, and so much more.
      Though not characterized this way, there is almost a cradle-to-grave approach at work here. You can learn sources of information about jewelry, old and new, how to verify the nature and quality of the materials, and tips on acquiring jewelry, caring for it, and reselling unwanted pieces. There’s even a bit about do-it-yourself metal testing (you can’t keep a good jewelry appraiser down!) and a simple way to remove tarnish from silver. It’s simply jammed full of a wide range of useful information that’s well illustrated and easily readable. What’s not to love?
      Who’s the target reader for this book? That could be just about anyone, from the layperson who wants to know more about jewelry to an industry professional seeking a broader perspective. The book is so wide-ranging that it would be hard to imagine anyone not getting their money’s worth. Broad range can imply a shallow depth, but that is definitely not the case here. One of the first things I do with a book is to peek at its index, bibliography, acknowledgments, and table of contents. This gives me an idea how well researched a book is, and the kind of scope I might expect. Newman’s list of contributors is impressive. The works cited come from a broad range of sources, and the topics span from ancient to cutting-edge.
      The book starts with some general background on metals and is arranged in eight chapters that discuss specific metals and families of metals that share common characteristics. The chapters have a nice blending of scientific, historical, practical, and commercial knowledge. In each chapter there are charts to draw distinctions between alloys, clear images of hallmarking stamps one will encounter, and wonderful photographs. The photos offer compelling examples of each metal, showing off its color and beauty and how a variety of makers use it in their designs, along with close-ups that hone in on various details.
      Roughly half of the book is devoted to its survey of metals, and the balance is spent covering manufacturing methods, the differences and consequences of real versus fake jewelry (some interesting legal points here), valuation, care, determining fineness or karat value, and plating and coatings. Last but not least, I’m giving the author a Good Citizenship merit badge for including a chapter titled "Responsible Mining and Manufacturing." Newman rightly points out the more enlightened path that many are taking in this regard. She lists best practices and cites numerous organizations concerned with environmental impact, origin and chain-of-custody issues, health and safety, social responsibility, and ethics. Brava!
      You will be enriched by having read this book, and will value and use the information contained within it."

Douglas Hall, Gems & Gemology, published by the Gemological Institute of America

"This current book by Renee Newman, GG, is an excellent and comprehensive guide to everything concerning the metals used in jewelry design. It is written clearly and concisely and has an abundance of charts and color photographs. It is not excessively technical yet it covers the topics thoroughly. I have always felt that my background as a BFA graduate with a major in metalsmithing and jewelry design gave me an advantage in appraising jewelry. In my opinion this book will help close this knowledge gap for anyone interested in jewelry metals, be they appraisers or consumers.         

      Renee covers everything from ancient markings to X-ray diffraction testing. From the tedious ancient processes of hand crafted Mokume Gane and Damascus Steel crafting to Cad Cam and Concept Laser Additive Process manufacturing of the 21st century.

      The chapters are laid out in a logical progression from covering alloys to caring for metals. The only deficit I noted was that she did not say how much a “box” of baking soda is as a measurement when giving a handy recipe for cleaning silver with the Aluminum retraction process, a very minor detail.

      The various metals used and methods used to test them are thoroughly covered; though today most appraisers use digital metal analyzers and only use touch stone testing as a back up. I especially liked the chapters on “Green” metal practices as well as the advice on evaluating Vintage and Antique Jewelry. As appraisers, we have been trained to thoroughly examine the jewelry that crosses our desk and look past the obvious. The chapter on “How much is your jewelry worth?” will encourage the lay person to stop and take another realistic look at the jewelry they own.

      As I have found with the other books Newman has written, this newly revised Metals’ book is a must have for the appraiser’s library as well as the book shelf of the clients we serve in our stores and offices."

Kate Pearce, GG, The Jewelry Appraiser, published by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers


"Everything you didn’t know about jewellery metals is included in this book. As a gemmologist I found this information most useful bridging the gaps in the jewellery knowledge that is usually not covered in gemmology.  It also opens your eyes to look differently at metals you would not normally consider as jewellery metals.

      From terms and trademarks to gold prices and the history of gold, we begin the journey of jewellery metals. The pros and cons of gold with a high or lower carat value are discussed. We learn that even gold is plated with gold to achieve uniform colour so that components can be matched. We are constantly educated by Newman’s diverse knowledge and a few more foreign terms – mokume gane and shibuichi in our vocabulary.

      Typical of Newman’s books, is the proliferation of luscious photographs and excellent tables – an inspiration for any jeweller.  It is also packed with technical information that can be referred to time and again.  Not to mention the fascinating tidbits of information, such as surgical instruments initially being made of silver due to their bacteria killing properties.

     The chapter on silver is most informative with a large section devoted to avoiding silver tarnish, tarnish resistant silver, and removing silver tarnish on both old and new pieces of jewellery.

 Some information is a chemistry lesson in itself.  Now where did I put that magnet?

 “Manufacturing Methods” offers the layperson real insight into the way a piece of jewellery is produced. The meaning of “handmade” is discussed. Interestingly chain manufacturers consider chains that have been assembled by had to be “handmade” even if the links have been formed by a machine. Advantages and disadvantages of the various methods are listed in detail. 

      Tests are discussed to determine whether a metal is real or fake and what its carat value is. You will learn how to read jewellery stamps and the significance of the shape of the surround.

      Types of plating coating and enameling are explained as well as the durability of these.

      An entire chapter is devoted to “responsible Mining and Manufacturing ‘’ such important and relevant issues today. 

      The section devoted to valuing antiques and vintage metalwork is fascinating and emphasizes the cultural and artistic importance of those pieces.

      The journey ends with tips on how to care for all these wonderful metals. There is a wealth of information in this concise book and it can be consulted regarding any question about jewellery metals – so relevant in today’s economic climate.  As Newman remarks, “A solid well-made piece of jewelley will outlast other accessories.”  This book will guide you to make the best choices.

      The easy reading and beautiful photographs typical of all Newman’s books make this one not only a reference book, but also an inspiration to consider buying and using metals not normally considered for use in jewellery."

Carol Resnick, Australian Gemmologist


"The author of this book on the metals used in jewellery needs no introduction to gemmologists.  Renee Newmans’ popular series of books on gemstones is as invaluable to retailers selling gems as to gemmology students.  This volume is an updated and expanded replacement or her 2000 Gold and Platinum Jewelry Buying Guide. For gemmologists, a book on metals might seem peripheral, but the precious metals have always served a supporting role in gem-set jewellery. And this is a useful, practical handbook. . .

     The properties and use of the various metals are described --- the colours of gold for example --- along with useful information ranging from how silver jewellery can be blackened to methods of testing and identification of frauds. The chapter on manufacturing techniques such as casting is up to date with its mention CAD and 3D printing. Hand fabrication is only briefly discussed --- a sad but realistic recognition that most jewllery on the market is not made by hand. There is coverage of decorative techniques such as plating and enameling, and even about responsible mining.  Inclusion of chapters on copper, brass, bronze and other metals reflects how, as precious metal prices rise, many retailers are looking to less costly alternatives. . . . All in all this is a very useful brief guide, and one that will be relevant to anyone."

Jack Ogden FGA, former CEO of Gem-A, Gems & Jewellery


"Well written and profusely illustrated with many color photographs on enameled stock, this book is particularly important in today’s financial climate. Television and newspapers are filled with ads for gold and silver sales. . . . Collectors and investors both will find this book very helpful in their quests for treasure.  It explains how to read the stamps on jewelry mountings, how to identify metals, how to determine the gold content in jewelry and how and where to sell unwanted jewelry among other topics. . .In addition to the informative text, the color photographs are amazing and each one conveys the proverbial thousand words. Before anyone buys their next gold ring or diamond bracelet, they should read this book and carry it with them when they go shopping."

Chuck N. Baker, The Veteran’s Reporter News


"Precious Metals charm us with their gleam, but it’s all too easy to be led astray. Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals is a guide for those with an interest in jewelry, be it professional or amateur, and how to better identify these materials as legitimate, care for the metals and how to get the best price for your jewelry. With full color photography all throughout, Gold, Platinum Palladium, Silver & Other Jewelry Metals is an invaluable and much recommended resource, not to be missed."

Midwest Book Review

 Table of Contents

   Acknowledgments  7  


   1.  Jewelry Metals: Key Facts  9

          Precious Metals Prices Compared 9

          Terms Related to Metals 11

          Terms Related to Gold Content 12

          Weights, Measures and Marks 12

          Miscellaneous Terms 15


   2. Gold  16

          A Brief History of Gold 16

          Karat Value (Gold Fineness) 19

          Which is Better—14K or 18K gold? 21

          Gold Colors and Alloys 21


   3.  Platinum  25

          A Brief History of Platinum 25

          Platinum Group Metals 26

          Platinum Fineness Regulations Worldwide 28

          Platinum Alloys 30


   4.  Palladium  33

          A Brief History of Palladium 33

          Palladium Fineness Standards 36


   5.  Silver  38

          Silver Fineness Standards 41

          Avoiding Silver Tarnish 43

          Removing Silver Tarnish 44

          Oxidized Silver 45


   6.  Copper, Brass and Bronze  48

          Brass 49

          Bronze 50

                          Shibuichi 54

          Identifying Copper, Brass and Bronze 54


   7.  Manufacturing Methods  55

          Lost Wax Casting 55

          Stamping (Die Striking) 58

          Electroforming 60

          3D Printing from CAD (Additive Manufacturing) 61

          CAD Milling (Subtractive Manufacturing) 62

          Hand Fabrication 67 

          Handmade Jewelry 69

          Why Manufacturing Methods are Often Combined 70


   8.  Real or Fake?  71

          Tests that Require No Acids

          Nitric Acid Testing for the Layperson and Hobbyist

          Silver Testing 78

          Palladium Testing 78

          Acid Testing for Jewelry Trade Professionals 79

          Disposing of Acids 80

          Safety Tips for Using Acids 80

          The Consequences of Buying Counterfeit Goods 81

          Buying Tips for Branded Items 82


   9.  Determining Karat Value (Fineness)  83

          Touchstone Test 83

          Electronic Gold & Platinum Testers 86

          Two Test Examples 87

          Why Precious Metals Tests Sometimes Fail 89

          Subtle Deception Techniques 90


 10.  Iron, Stainless Steel, Damascus Steel & Tungsten Carbide  91

          Stainless Steel 93

          Damascus Steel 95

          Tungsten and Tungsten Carbide 97

          Cobalt-Chrome 98


 11.  Niobium, Titanium & Aluminum: Colorful Alternative Metals  99

          Niobium 99

          Titanium 101

          Common Characteristics of Niobium and Titanium 102

          Caring for Niobium and Titanium 102

          Aluminum 103


 12.  Plating, Coating and Enameling  105

          Terms and Markings Related to Precious Metal Surface Coverings 106

          E-Coating 108

          Enameling 108


  13. Responsible Mining and Manufacturing  112

          Beyond Profits 112

          Environmental Impact 113

          Origin and Chain of Custody 114

          Health and Safety 114

          Social Responsibility 114

          Ethics 115


 14. How Much is Your Jewelry Worth?  116

          Jewelry Rescues: Spotlight on Valuing Antique & Vintage Metalwork 120

          Tips on Reselling Your Jewelry 123

          Characteristics of Ethical Dealers and Consignment Contracts 123

          Selecting a Refiner 124

          Preparing Jewelry Metal for a Refiner 125


 15.  Caring for Metal Jewelry  127  

          Cleaning Metal Mountings 127

          Miscellaneous Tips 129


        Bibliography  130  


       Index  134


Buy Gold Platinum, Palladium, Silver and Other Jewelry Metals 

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