Gold has been used by mankind for thousands of years. Known for its beauty, resistance, and workability, gold makes the perfect precious metal for a wide array of jewelry. Gold is much more durable than lower quality metals, but it is also much rarer. Today, 90% of the gold that has been mined is used in jewelry and investments.
Karat is the term used to describe gold purity (not to be confused with stone carats). The higher the karat number, the purer the gold is.
24 karat gold is the purest gold available; it is 99.9% pure and is very soft so it is often not used in jewelry. The reason the measurement "24" is used is because it means that "all 24 parts of the gold are pure and do not contain any other metals". When gold is mined, it is normal to find it naturally mixed in with other elements. To get 24 karat gold, many chemical reactions must be done to separate out these other elements. As you move down in karatage, it indicates that less processing has been done to the gold.
In its purest form, gold is a deep yellow with slight red hues. As you move down in karatage, the yellow color will lighten and the red hues will diminish. The only way to process gold into colors other than yellow is to add other elements to it. This has the consequence of lowering the karatage of the gold. For example, rose gold is made by adding more copper, while white gold is made with the addition of more nickel.
Diamonds are formed deep within the earth under extreme pressure over millions of years. During this process, other materials can become trapped within the diamonds, which affect their clarity. These imperfections in the diamond are known as inclusions.
These are real examples of what inclusions look like:
As you can see, the diamond on the top left looks much nicer than the one on the bottom right.
In addition to clarity, due to the presence of different elements in a diamond, they can come in a range of colors! Diamonds with a yellow hue are generally less desirable than those with no color (colorless). In some rare cases, diamonds may have hues darker than those shown on this scale, or be other colors such as an intense blue or pink, which can dramatically raise their price.
These are real examples of the difference in color of diamonds:
Carat is the term used to describe one unit of weight for precious stones and pearls. It is equivalent to 200 milligrams.
Different stones have different densities and therefore the size of the stone corresponding to any particular carat weight will vary. The chart below gives the approximate diameter, in millimeters, of round cut diamonds based on their carat weight.
CT stands for "carat" and refers to the carat weight of a single stone while CTW stands for "carat total weight" and refers to the carat weight of all of the stones that make up a piece.
There are a wide array of stone cuts available:
The setting of the stones in any piece can make a world of difference in the look of the finished product.
This is the most popular style for setting stones into jewelry as it is the easiest and therefore least expensive method of setting. This style uses tiny, hand-made prongs to hold a stone in place on a piece of jewelry. Additionally, this setting allows for a good amount of light to enter the stone which gives it the brilliance most people associate with fine jewelry. This setting is most common in engagement and bridal pieces.
Pave (pronounced "pa vay") setting is similar to prong setting except that it is used to create a cohesive patch of stones across a piece rather than to augment one or a small number of stones. Prongs are still used in this style but holes are drilled into the metal so that the stones sit in them and are held in by the prongs. This creates a layer of brilliance across the piece.
Channel setting is a technique which gives stones the appearance of floating as they are set side by side within a channel of metal. This protects the stones are their sides aren't exposed and is therefore often used on pieces that will be subject to a lot of wear such as rings, bracelets, and yes, even grillz.
This setting is considered one of the most difficult setting techniques. It is similar to pave setting except that there are no prongs used and therefore the stones are set edge-to-edge without any interrupting metal. Square, princess cut stones work best for this setting as they can be placed side-by-side without any gaps. This setting gives the appearance of an uninterrupted wall of brilliance.