Because of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties.

Alloys with lower caratage, typically 22k, 18k, 14k or 10k, contain higher percentages of copper, or other base metals or silver or palladium in the alloy.

Palladium itself has been used as a precious metal in jewelry since 1939, as an alternative to platinum or white gold. This is due to its naturally white properties. It is slightly whiter, much lighter and about 12% harder than platinum.

Similar to gold, palladium can be beaten into a thin leaf form as thin as 100 nm (1/250,000 in). Like platinum, it will develop a hazy patina over time. Palladium is one of the three most popular metals used to alloy with gold, making white gold.

Palladium-gold is a more expensive alloy than nickel-gold, but it's naturally hypoallergenic and holds its white color better.

Platinum is an extremely rare metal, occurring as only 0.003 ppb in the Earth's crust, and is 30 times rarer than gold. It is sometimes mistaken for silver but platinum is whiter in appearance.

Platinum's wear - and tarnish-resistance characteristics are well suited for making fine jewelry. Platinum is more precious than gold or silver.

The price of platinum changes along with its supply and demand.

Titanium is a light, strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant (including to sea water and chlorine) transition metal with a silver colour. Titanium is as strong as some steels, but 45% lighter. Because of its durability, titanium has become more popular for designer jewelry in recent years.

Today, titanium rings — including engagement rings and wedding bands — are one of the fastest growing segments of the titanium jewelry market, in part due to the ability of the metal to be grooved, inlaid, and carved without losing strength.

Its inertness again makes it a good choice for those with allergies or those who will be wearing the jewelry in environments such as swimming pools.

A major use of silver is as a precious metal, and it has long been used for making high-value objects reflecting the wealth and status of the owner. Jewellery and silverware are traditionally made from sterling silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper.

Sterling silver is harder than pure silver, and has a lower melting point (893 °C) than either pure silver or pure copper.

Silver jewelry can also be plated with rhodium (for a bright, shiny look) or gold

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