Fine jewelry is a term commonly used to refer to exquisite pieces of gold and silver jewelry. The jewelry may be studded with gemstones or made of gold and silver alone but it is certain to enchant most buyers.
The gold and silver used to make fine jewelry is not natural gold or silver because both the metals are too soft and can bend or break under pressure. Their composition and texture is hardened by the addition of other metals. For instance, copper is added to silver to harden it while the tensile strength of gold is increased by adding small quantities of copper, zinc or nickel.
The ratio of the composition of the alloy is pre-determined. According to the Federal Trade Commission Sterling silver should contain 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The purity of gold is determined by its karat value with 24 karat considered to be pure gold in which no base metal is present. The gold that is designated as 18 karat gold contains 75% gold while 14 karat gold contains 58.5% gold. The gold quantity goes down as the karat value falls. Thus, only 41.7% of 10 karat gold is pure gold.
Though silver jewelry is cheaper than gold jewelry it can easily get tarnished on exposure to air, and turn black. This can also happen on account with body contact, especially from constant sweating over a period of time. In fact, this is one of the major reasons why earrings screws turn black. This is not a problem with gold jewelry. Gold as a metal is highly resistant to atmospheric gases and salts and does not change color.
Both gold and silver jewelry need to be cared for. They should be stored in a cool and dry place. Also, silver jewelry should be stored in tarnish resistant bags, and kept away from grease or chemicals. The jewelry must be cleaned with soap water and dried with a soft cloth.