Consumers today have more options then ever when it comes to finding that perfect piece of fine jewelry. In addition to featuring a wonderful array of colored diamonds and gemstones, bracelets, pendants, and rings are found in a wide variety of both precious and non-precious metals. Precious metals, like gold, silver, and platinum, are rare, natural elements that hold a high economic value. Also known as noble metals, they possess high surface luster, are ductile, and are resistant to corrosion. Non-precious, or base, metals are relatively abundant and react or corrode more easily. Copper and titanium are examples of base metals that are often used in jewelry. Each of these metals has unique properties that affect how the item is manufactured and worn–something to consider when buying a piece or taking jewelry in for repair.
The oldest examples of gold jewelry are nearly 6,000 years old and were discovered in the tombs of ancient Sumerian queens. Gold symbolizes power and success, good health, and happiness and is traditionally used in gifts for a fiftieth anniversary. It has long been associated with the sun; in the periodic table it is identified as aurum, which is Latin for “glowing dawn”. Silver has also been used in jewelry for thousands of years and has been found in tombs dating back to 4000 BC. The ancient Incas referred to silver as the “tears of the moon.” Indeed, silver is associated with the moon in many different cultures. Its bright color represents clarity, awareness, and vision, and it is believed to attract and enhance the energy of gemstones. Platinum was once declared “the only metal fit for a king” by King Louis XVI of France. Its bright white brilliance was popular during the Edwardian period and features heavily in Art Deco designs. The rarest and purest of the noble metals, platinum symbolizes durability and lasting love. It is the metal of choice for one’s seventieth anniversary. Copper is the oldest known metal, dating back 10,000 years. Like gold, it is associated with the sun and like silver, is said to amplify a gemstone’s energy. The Egyptians used it to ward off evil spirits, while the Aztecs wore it into battle to improve their skills and agility. Like the mythological Titans for which it is named, titanium is known for its superior strength. It is stronger than steel, as light as aluminum, and will not corrode.
It is important to consider what kind of jewelry repairs an item may require as it is worn, as well as the symbolism of the piece and the personality of the intended recipient. A well-chosen, properly maintained piece will be an emblem of love for generations to come.