The Materials

Decision Precision - Precious Metals

We can, and do, work in all the traditional and modern gold alloys, as well as in silver and platinum...but we are also mindful of the practical here in the Le Soleil workshop.

Like you, we want the best value for our money. And we appreciate materials that last a long time and that are easy to maintain.

We can tell you about your options and help explain the properties of different metals....answering questions is part of the everyday service we are happy to offer. It's best if you can come in to speak with us in person, but for the meantime, here are a few precious metal FAQ's and FGA's for you.

What's the difference between 10 karat gold and 18 karat gold?

In Canada, most gold used for jewellery is a mixture of pure (24 karat) gold and other metals. There are many different blends.... the most common are 18 karat, which contains 75 % pure gold, 14 karat which is 58.5% pure and 10 karat which has 41.7% pure gold content. Other metals make up the balance and it is this added material that alters the colour and workability
of the alloyed product.

What is white gold?

The yellow gold most of us are familiar with is made by mixing pure gold with copper, silver and zinc. White gold is usually made by combining pure gold with copper, nickel and zinc. White gold can also be made with alloys containing palladium to reduce or eliminate the nickel component in the mix. Palladium is a white metal related to platinum.

Is the type of alloy used in my white gold important?

The metal that causes your gold to become white will alter the nature of the material significantly. Standard North American white gold contains nickel. This additive can be very effective at bleaching the red and yellow colours away but when it does it also causes the metal to become brittle and very hard to work with. Also, some people have or develop an allergy to nickel. And nickel can be weakened by exposure to substances such as chlorine. So most commercial manufacturers cut back on the nickel content in their white gold. The result is a tinge of yellow. To counter this, most white gold is plated with a coat of rhodium but the plating will wear off.
The owner of this type of white gold will need to replate it regularly to maintain the original appearance.

There are alternatives. White gold alloyed with palladium is among the best we have found. Palladium "bleaches" the gold without harming it's working properties and creates nice white colour that does not need to be plated (or replated!). This material is not "steely" bright like rhodium plated nickel white gold. Paladium white gold has a more subdued tone like platinum. It is a bit more expensive than nickel white gold (about eighty dollars extra on a ladies ring of average size) but palladium white gold is a very good way to avoid the problems encountered with commercial white gold formulas. Because of it's similar appearance and properties we even suggest it as an less expensive alternative to platinum.

Another alternative is white gold made with the special nickel-free alloy we have tracked down through Italian suppliers. Europe has banned allergy producing alloys and their producers have adopted new materials in response. This new generation white gold alloy delivers hardness, bright white colour and maleability without pesky nickel side-effects.

We at Le Soleil consistently monitor the latest in metallurgical processes and continually provide our customers with the best product available.