This guide will allow you to discover the different precious metals used in jewellery, to choose between fine or precious stones, and to offer jewellery perfectly adapted to each occasion. The Rue du Commerce experts will provide you with answers to the questions you may have in order to make your future purchase easier.
Discover the materials
The world of jewellery is very specialised. In order to choose a piece of jewellery properly, you must first and foremost know the small details that will enable you to make an efficient purchase.
Gold: Gold has been a popular metal since the dawn of time, frequently used in the production of jewellery. The shade of gold is determined by the alloys mixed with the metal (silver and copper for yellow gold, copper for pink gold, etc…), but also by its purity, expressed in carats. The higher the number of carats, the purer the gold. The most sold gold in the world is 18-carat gold, identifiable by the eagle-shaped hallmark. It contains 75% pure gold and the rest is made up of different metals. 9K gold contains 37.5% pure gold and is authenticated by a clover-shaped hallmark.
Gold plating: Gold plating is a fairly old process of covering a material with a thin layer of gold. This method makes it possible to limit the purchase price of a piece of jewellery. In France, in order to be called “gold-plated”, jewellery must be covered with a minimum of 3 microns of gold.
Silver: pure silver is easily malleable and can therefore be altered. In order to make it more resistant when creating a piece of jewellery, it is mixed with 7.5% copper, which makes it solid silver. To be authenticated, it must be stamped with a minerva head.
Platinum: this is the most resistant metal among those used in jewellery. It is not easily scratched, making it the ideal metal for stone settings. Its colour is similar to that of white gold. Typically, platinum jewellery is made up of 95% pure platinum, with the remainder being alloys. For a guarantee of authenticity, platinum jewellery is stamped with a dog’s head.
Some gems are called precious stones because of their quality, beauty and rarity. The reason they are so valuable is that their formation is a long, complex and entirely natural process.
Emerald, stone of hope: a green mineral, emerald is mainly extracted in Brazil and Colombia. It sometimes contains inclusions (small foreign bodies), called “thrushes”, which are a guarantee of purity and quality.
Sapphire, stone of paradise: Sapphire means “the most beautiful of things” in Hebrew. Its colours range from cornflower blue to midnight blue, but there are also pink, orange, purple, colourless and even black sapphires. It is found mainly in Asia – Thailand, Ceylon and Burma.
Ruby, the passion stone: Ruby is the rarest of the precious stones, and therefore the most expensive and most sought-after. It is comparable to diamond by its hardness. Today, ruby deposits are practically all in Asia – Thailand, Burma, Ceylon.
Diamond, stone of eternity: of extraordinary hardness and inalterability, diamond is made up of carbon atoms crystallised within the earth’s crust, where considerable heat and pressure prevail. The quality and value of a diamond is measured on the basis of internationally recognised criteria: the 4 C’s – Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat. The most important deposits are located in Russia, Central Africa and South Africa.
These are all gems that are not classified as precious stones.
Topaz, stone of serenity: Topaz is a silicate of aluminium and fluorine, which can be treated to develop a wide variety of colours. This stone is very popular because it is found in white, yellow, orange, pink, blue, green, purple, and sometimes multicoloured. It is mainly mined in Brazil, but can also be found in Mozambique and Nigeria.
Amethyst, symbol of strength: this stone is a variety of macro crystalline quartz. It varies from transparent pink to dark purple, and its colour is due to the presence of iron. It can be found on all continents, particularly in France on the heights of Mont Blanc.
Aquamarine, stone of the sea: this stone of the beryl family has always been associated with the sea. In fact, the term literally means “sea water” in Latin. It is the traces of iron that give it its blue colour. It is mainly found in Brazil.
Citrine, symbol of calm: this stone takes its name from the French “citrine”, in reference to its yellow colour. It is part of crystalline quartz and is found mainly in South America. It is the stone of warmth.
Peridot, stone of wisdom: also known as Olivine, this mineral exists only in green tones. It can have an inclusion of its own, called “water lily”, which is a guarantee of quality. This stone is mainly found in South America.
Pearls are creations of living beings, derived from molluscs and in particular oysters. When a foreign body slips inside its shell, the animal reacts by surrounding it with a protective layer called mother-of-pearl. The quality of a pearl depends on its diameter, lustre, colour, surface, shape and thickness.
Water pearls: these are considered the entry-level of cultured pearls. Cultivated in the freshwater lakes of China, they have a large pearl layer and therefore a beautiful lustre. Their colour palette ranges from pink to salmon to purple.
South Sea pearls: these are light-coloured pearls whose shades range from silvery white to the purest gold. They are highly prized for their colour and lustre.
Tahitian pearls: cultivated in the Polynesian atolls, the Tahitian pearl is renowned for its exceptional quality and infinite colour palette. It is its subtle reflections of blue, pink, or green that give it its unique and natural character. Its diameter, from 8 mm to 15 mm, makes it a prestigious and rare gem.