Custom jewelry design: our precious metals explained
Ready to try your hand at custom jewelry design? It’s time to get to know our precious materials. When you create a piece with Tiary, the first thing we ask you to choose is your metal, and your options don’t stop at silver or gold. With yellow, rose and white gold to choose from, not to mention the different karat numbers (10k, 14k and 18k), you’ve got plenty to play with. Here’s how to find the metal that’s right for you.
Whatever metal you choose, there’s one thing all of our materials have in common, and that’s ethical sourcing. Whether it’s a sterling silver ring or 18k rose gold earrings, we’re not going to let any doubts about sourcing take the shine off your new creation. Here at Tiary, we only work with suppliers who adhere to internationally-agreed responsible mining standards, so that you can wear your custom jewelry with confidence.
What is 925 sterling silver?
Sterling silver, also known as 925, is the industry-wide quality standard for silver, and the one we use to create your custom jewelry. It isn’t 100 percent pure silver: pure silver might sound more premium, but in fact it’s so soft and malleable that it’s easily damaged. Instead, sterling silver is an alloy made up of 92.5 percent silver (which is why it’s called 925), and a dash of other materials to make it strong enough to wear.
What do the gold karat numbers mean?
Pure gold is like silver: too soft to use on its own, it needs to be mixed with other metals to make it durable enough for jewelry. The karat numbers are a measure of how much pure gold is in the mix, on a scale of 1 to 24. So 10k gold contains a minimum of 41.7 percent (10 karats out of 24); for 14k gold it’s 58.3 percent, and for 18k gold it’s 75 percent.
White, yellow or rose gold?
Because the gold used in jewelry is an alloy, it doesn’t have to be a “natural” yellow; it’s the other materials that give white and rose gold their color. Copper, for example, is what lends rose gold its warm pink blush. As a result, no one shade can be crowned as “the best”. Trends come and go — rose gold has been enjoying cool-girl status recently, while Meghan Markle’s engagement ring brought yellow gold back into the spotlight — but really, it’s all about choosing the shade that most appeals to you for each particular piece.
Whether you’re creating a piece for yourself or as a gift for someone else, choosing your metal is the start of every custom jewelry design project — the first step in creating a piece that’s uniquely yours.