Metals: Gold & Platinum

from John Paul's bench:

I tend to work in a variety of metals not always found in traditional jewelry stores. The most popular metals I work with include: Platinum, Palladium, Gold (all colors and karats), Silver (Pure Silver, Sterling Silver, Palladium Sterling & Platinum Sterling), Iron, Stainless Damascus Steel, Mild Steel, Stainless Steel & Copper to name more than a few.

An often misunderstood metal is Gold. In its purest 24k form, Gold is fairly soft with a rich, burning, yellow orange hue. To create other colors and karats of Gold, other metals are blended with pure gold to create an alloy. Metals are alloyed to change their color, or change their hardness, or both. For this reason, 10K Gold is harder than 18K Gold as it has less Gold in the mix and more alloy metals such as Copper, Zinc, Silver, etc. When designing rings, I take into consideration the density and durability of the material I am using, so that you can rest assured that ring will most likely last you a lifetime. 

Platinum: Platinum is one amazing metal. It is often the most misunderstood even in the jewelry trade. It is rare and heavy. And the part that is most often misunderstood is its durability. Most often, instead of the word durable, the word hard is used. Platinum is not hard. Platinum is soft. But before you decide you don't want a soft metal for a ring, hear this. Platinum will outlast any other material by over ten times. The reason being is this: when you scratch your gold wedding ring while working on your bike, the small divot created by the scratch removes a tiny amount of metal. Platinum on the other hand, when scratched, is merely dented or smudged like a fingernail scraped across soft clay. No metal is removed. And not only is no metal removed, the metal that was "parted" if you will, was compacted. We refer to this as work hardening. On a very small level, that tiny scratch on your Platinum ring compacted the molecules of the metal and this in turn makes the metal harder. So over time a well-worn Platinum ring is harder than the day you received it. Another side of that coin is that platinum is not for the shiny crowd. If you like a shiny, polished ring, platinum probably isn't your metal. I think of platinum like a leather belt or jacket. It just gets more beautiful with age. This is one reason that my textures look beautiful in platinum: the texture "conceals" the bumps and dings better.