Is silver softer than gold

Little material science // silver, gold, platinum, stainless steel

Working with precious metals is fascinating: each one has its own characteristics, is softer or harder, with beautiful colors. For almost two years now, we have not only been working with silver, but also with gold, stainless steel and platinum. We have also been asked about titanium. Today I would like to give you some background information about the different materials we use to make our jewelry.

silver

Silver is a fairly soft, highly reflective material with a very light shade. In jewelry production, silver is processed both as fine silver (999 silver) and in an alloy with copper, in a ratio of 92.5% silver / 7.5% copper it results in the well-known 925 sterling silver. At FOYA we prefer to work with 935 silver, which is the material we use to make a large part of our jewelry.

Some time ago I did a little more research on silver and found a lot of really amazing information:

  • Silver is particularly shiny. It is the most reflective element and is used in mirrors, telescopes, microscopes and solar cells. Polished silver reflects 95% of visible light - but ultraviolet light is poorly reflected.
  • Silver has been known since ancient times. It was one of the first five metals to be discovered, probably around 5000 BC. The oldest silver objects found date back to 4000 BC. estimated. Since around 3000 BC. it is possible for people to separate silver from lead.
  • Silver itself is non-toxic to humans, but most silver salts are. Silver also has an antibacterial effect.

You can find even more interesting and exciting facts about silver here: >> Fun Facts - interesting facts about silver.

gold

Gold is one of the few colored metals. It is used in many different alloys for making jewelry, besides yellow gold, especially red and white gold are popular gold alloys. But there are also gold alloys with a shade of green. The higher the gold content in the yellow gold alloy, the richer the yellow tone. Most famous are 333 (8K), 585 (14K) and 750 (18K) yellow gold - we can use all three alloys for our jewelry. Gold used to be alloyed exclusively with silver and copper, nowadays other metals are also added, for example to influence the color and hardness of the material.

Red and rose gold

Red gold gets its magical hue from the alloy of yellow gold with copper. The lower the copper and the greater the silver content in the alloy, the more delicate the shade of red, then it is more likely to go into rose gold. We use 585 and 750 red and rose gold for our jewelry.

Here you can see a pendant in rose gold:

And here a pendant in rose gold:

And if we put them exactly next to each other, you can see the color difference quite clearly:

White gold

White gold is an alloy of gold and “discoloring” metals such as silver and palladium. The alloy with palladium is of higher quality. Palladium is a material related to platinum, it creates a very beautiful shade of white. White gold alloys without palladium are pale yellow in color, which also looks beautiful. We work with 585 and 750 white gold with and without palladium components. Due to the gold and palladium prices, they are significantly different in price, with 585 white gold without palladium having the lowest price and 750 white gold with palladium the highest - if you want a piece of jewelry made of white gold, it is best to specify which alloy You would like to have so we can calculate that exactly.

Here you can see the color difference between silver (right) and white gold (left):

platinum

The color of platinum is rather gray, similar to silver, but a lot darker. It is very noble and of high quality, long-lasting and tarnish-resistant, but also rare, which is why platinum jewelry is quite expensive. In the jewelry sector, platinum is used in a 95 to 96 percent alloy, i.e. almost pure platinum. At FOYA we work with 950 platinum. What I find particularly fascinating about platinum jewelry is its weight: platinum is incredibly heavy.

We made the three elements with the handprint of mom and the footprints of the two children from platinum.

And here is another beautiful ring made of platinum:

stainless steel

In terms of its character, stainless steel is much more robust than silver, much darker, less reflective and, above all, harder. This is why it is often used for key rings because it is not easily scratched. We cannot engrave stainless steel with our diamond graver because it is far too hard for that: the diamond “pulls” the engraving into the material. Lettering and symbols must be removed from stainless steel with a rotating engraving stylus. This is not a problem for us on flat pieces of jewelery, unfortunately ring engravings in stainless steel are currently not possible.

In this photo you can clearly see the color difference between silver and stainless steel

This is what an engraving on stainless steel looks like:

We also like to work with other materials, for example we can also make titanium jewelry for you. And we are already working on completely new ideas and materials that we will hopefully be able to present to you in the coming year.

Last but not least: gold plating and rhodium plating

If the solid gold and platinum jewelry doesn't fit so well into the budget, you can also work with gold plating as an alternative. This is possible in yellow gold as well as in red / rose gold. The coating is in the µ range, so that neither the imprints nor the engravings can “run”. However, in contrast to solid gold, gold plating is not resistant to scratches and a certain amount of wear and tear, i.e. at some point you may have to re-gold plating again later. We also offer you rhodium plating, i.e. a coating with the precious metal rhodium, this material looks almost exactly like silver, only if you look very carefully you will see a very delicate color difference (rhodium is slightly darker than silver and has a delicate bluish cast ). Rhodium plating comes into question above all if you want to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing: it creates, so to speak, protection against environmental influences (especially sulfur), which favor the dark tarnishing. You can find more information here: >> About stamping, cleaning and rhodium plating.

So much for me for today. And here again a little reminder: the countdown is on, we are still accepting Christmas orders for 10 days this year!

Best regards,
Your Katja