Suzanne Storms, VHJ

Your Horses Hair Made Into Fine Jewelry

Short Glossary of Terms for Precious Metals

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The items are listed in the glossary as a reference and may be confusing to some. This is because the jewelry industry in the United States readily interchanges the metric and English systems of measurements. The karat system for rating gold has been around for thousands of years and will probably be around for a while longer. It is easy enough to determine if something is gold filled, plated or has a high content of base metal. To analyze the exact content gold requires complex analysis. The US Federal Trade Commission requires that statements made to attest to the quality of precious metals meet prescribed minimum standards.



Gold is mixed with other metals in various proportions which will determind the shade of gold color. Some of the metals used are silver, copper, nickel and zinc. White gold will appear to be white silvery or gray and has to be plated - usually with rhodium which is in the platinum family.
14 K contains 50% gold
18 K contains 75% gold

About 10% of the population is allergic to nickel which is used as a whitener in the gold. The nickel can be replaced with palladium which is a white metal in the platinum family. The addition of polladium will add considerable cost to the white gold jewlery.

Gold jewelry will react with chlorine. Never take gold jewelry into a pool or a hot tub.


2.54 centimeter 


A measure in terms of a fractional part of pure gold blended with a metal alloy such as copper, silver, zinc and nickel. Pure gold being 24 parts of 100%.
* One karat is a blend of 1 part of pure gold and 23 parts of a metal alloy that amounts to 4% pure gold.
* 10 karat is a blend of 10 parts of pure gold and 14 parts of a metal alloy that amounts to 42% pure gold.
* 14 karat is a blend of 14 parts of pure gold and 10 parts of a metal alloy that amounts to 58% pure gold.
* 18 karat is a blend of 18 parts of pure gold and 6 parts of a metal alloy that amounts to 75% pure gold.

Copper added will gives gold a rose color, silver and zinc will produce a green color and nickel will produce white gold.

(Note: About 10% of the population is allergic to nickel, which is used to color gold, and sometimes in electroplating as a barrier between the base metal and gold electroplate.) 


39.37 inches 


1,000,000 microns 


0.000001 meter 


Platinum is a white metal, but unlike gold it is used in jewelry in almost its pure form from 85%, 90% or 95% pure. Suzanne uses only 95% pure. Platinum is very hard and is extremely long wearing and is very white, so it does not need to be Rhodium plated like white gold. Platinum is very dense making it much heavier than 18k gold.

Because Platinum is hard it is best suited for setting the large, valuable stones. The platinum prongs for setting stones would be stronger than the a setting made with softer gold.

Sterling Silver:

0.925 (92.5%) pure silver alloyed with 0.075 (7.5%) copper. Only silver of this quality can be labeled sterling silver as defined by the Federal Trade Commission. 


Total carat weight, referring to weight of gem stones.

Troy Ounce:

31.10348 grams


(Pronounced: Vermay)

Heavy gold electroplate covering all significant surfaces to a minimum of 0.0001 inches (2.54 microns) as defined by the Federal Trade Commission.  The plating to meet the standard for vermeil is 15 times thicker than the minimum standard for electroplate. Used on early earrings. No longer used by Suzanne.