Precious Metals & Gemstones

Discover more about the variety of precious metals and gemstones that you can incorporate into tailored and bespoke pieces.


Silver in it's purest form is a very soft metal, this is usually only suitable for necklaces and earrings.

In order to make it suitable for jewellery wearing it is alloyed with another metal, usually copper, to make it more hardwearing. Known as Sterling Silver, this is especially suitable for rings, bracelets and bangles.

The colour and lustre of silver makes it very appealing to wear for everyday jewellery.

Unlike gold, silver will react with certain chemicals, so it's important to consider the environment your jewellery will be worn in.

Silver does tarnish, so it may require more regular cleaning if it's not worn regularly.


Gold comes in a variety of colours (yellow, white, rose, green and even blue!) and carats, which refers to the purity and gold content of the metal.

9ct gold has 37.5% gold content, whereas 18ct gold has 75%. The higher the carat number, the more gold the piece will contain. Pure gold, 24ct, is a softer metal, but it is also hypoallergenic.

18ct gold is considered to be more hardwearing than 9ct, making it more suitable for rings that will be worn everyday, such as engagement, commitment and wedding rings.

A great alternative is 14k gold, which isn't as common in the UK. It's more hardwearing than Sterling Silver too.

Platinum & Palladium

Both of these metals are hypoallergenic, and although similar, they're quite different too.

These are both white metals which won't discolour or tarnish like silver or white gold (which needs replating regularly).

Extremely malleable, these metals can easily bend out of shape, like gold would, with excessive force.

Platinum is a dense metal, which makes it extremely hardwearing, but this makes it much heavier. It's not a hard metal and can scratch and dull easily.

Palladium is harder than platinum but less dense, making it feel less luxurious. This also makes it less durable compared to other metals.

Both these metals are long-lasting and considered a low maintenance option for jewellery.

What to consider

When Choosing Your Metal

There's a few things to consider when choosing which metal you'd like for your jewellery.

1. Personal Preferences

Everyone always has a preference on which metal they prefer, and some styles even change over time too! Some metals will suit different complexions more than others. If you look at your veins, you can usually tell if your skin has warm or cool undertones. Blue veins indicate cool tones and green indicate warm, if you can't see your veins, you've probably got neutral skin. Contrary to misconception, the colour of your skin isn't an indicator of a cool or warm undertone.

2. Allergies

An important one to consider. Pure metals, such as 24K gold, sterling silver, fine silver, platinum, palladium and titanium are considered hypoallergenic metals. This means they are less likely to cause a reaction. If someone is allergic to a specific metal there may still be a reaction. Common culprits are nickel, cobalt, copper and chromium.

3. Jewellery Type

Some items of jewellery will withstand wear more than others, depending upon the type of jewellery. Earrings tend to have less wear and tear, coming into less contact with surfaces. Necklaces have a little more, especially chains and pendant bails which can be worn down from playing with them. Bracelets, bangles and rings all have more wear and wear from being positioned on or near the hand, which is constantly in motion and doing everyday tasks. These all eventually take their toll on your jewellery.

It's best to choose more hardwearing metals for the pieces that will be worn everyday and at higher risk of wear and tear.

4. Environment

The type of job or environment you work and live in can have an impact on the metal you may choose for your jewellery. Some jobs even require that certain types or no jewellery is to be worn, due to health and safety.

Take this into consideration when choosing your metal as some will scratch, bend or tarnish more easily than others.



A pop of colour, an extra sparkle or an eye-catching shape. Gemstones are a lively addition to your jewellery piece.


Each one diverse

Gemstones are usually formed naturally, underground and under high pressure with varying conditions, making each one distinctive. With advances in technology there's now a variety of gemstones available.


These are formed naturally with no interference, apart from being mined and cut and polished. A large portion of gemstones are treated in some way to enhance their appearance.


With advances in todays technology, it's possible to create some gemstones in a laboratory. These share the exact same physical and chemical characteristics as the natural gemstone itself. The only difference is the way in which it is created.


Many natural or synthetic gemstones are treated in order to stabilise them or enhance their colour. There's a variety of different treatment methods used depending on the desired effect. Not all stones specify this method — they could be laser filled which removes inclusions or fills cracks, heated or irradiated to change or enhance the colour. Some treatments are more temporary than others.

Imitation or Simulated

These are gems made to look like their natural counterpart but they share no chemical or physical properties. They're usually made of glass or plastic.

How to choose


Some people choose gemstones due to their significance or symbolism to celebrate a special occasion.

Our advice — choose the gemstone because you love it!

It might be the shape, cut or colour that's caught your attention. Each one has unique characteristics which makes them unusual.

If you're choosing a gemstone for an everyday piece of jewellery that gets a lot of wear, such as a ring, use the Mohs scale below to help understand the hardness of popular gemstones.

Mohs Scale

This scale is the measurement of a gemstones scratch resistance against other minerals. With 1 being the softest and 10 the hardest.

The curve does climb sharply towards the end as corundum (9) is twice as hard as topaz (8), and diamond (10) being four times as hard as corundum.

Note that diamonds can only scratch other diamonds.

A list of common gemstones showing their position on the Mohs scale.

Remember, the Mohs scale is a measurement of scratch resistance against other materials — some common ones include a fingernail (2.5), copper penny (3.5), knife/glass plate (5.5), steel nail (6.5) and masonry drill bit (8.5).

For example, a fingernail (2.5) will scratch gypsum (2) but not calcite (3), a masonry drill bit (8.5) will scratch topaz (8) but not sapphire (9).

Remember this scale represents hardness, which is the ability to resist scratching, nothing more. No gemstone is indestrictible!


Ask for Advice

If you're still unsure of what precious metals or gemstones to choose for your next jewellery addition, let Lindsay help you!

With over 10 years industry experience, including working as a bench jeweller, doing repairs, Lindsay has extensive knowledge of what may suit certain individuals and has seen first-hand the type of stress some treasured pieces have endured!

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If you'd like to create a special piece of jewellery using your choice of precious metals and gemstones, get in touch.

Work with Lindsay to inspire designs, source unusual gemstones and craft a piece that tells your story.