Precious metals buying guide

Precious metal jewellery is the type of jewellery that never goes out of fashion. Treat yourself or a loved one to precious metal jewellery is a sure way to bring joy across all generations.

Silver

Silver is a beautiful and inexpensive way to wear precious metal jewellery. All silver jewellery at Tesco is made from Sterling Silver 925 - find out more about this on the hallmarking section below.

Although silver is a hard-wearing metal, it can still naturally tarnish over time, this does not mean the jewellery is faulty. Wearing your silver jewellery helps to keep it in good condition; should it begin to tarnish you can rub it with a soft dry cloth, or use some silver cleaner to get it looking like new again.

Gold

A statement of luxury and style, gold jewellery doesn't tarnish and will stay looking brilliant for years to come. The purity of gold is measured in carats, with 24 carat gold being pure. However, pure gold is too soft to effectively be used in jewellery making, so it's mixed with other metals such as copper and silver to make it stronger. 18 carat gold is therefore 75% gold and 25% alloy, while 9 carat gold is 37.5% gold.

White gold

Gold is mixed with other metals in order to turn it white, and often has a top plate of rhodium which is a member of the platinum family. This not only gives the white gold a dazzling white finish, but also protects it.

Platinum

Platinum shines brightly, and won't wear down or tarnish due to its purity, thus keeping its natural white colour for a lifetime. It is also highly durable, and does not change shape or wear away. This means precious stones will be held firmly and securely.

Palladium

Palladium is a naturally white metal and despite its rarity, it is significantly lighter and less expensive than platinum. Its purity also ensures allergic reactions are avoided, and is resistant to corrosion and tarnishing.

Hallmarks

In the UK, gold that weighs more than 1g, silver weighing more than 7.78g, platinum weighing over 0.5g and palladium weighing 1g or over must be hallmarked by one of the four Assay Offices. For earrings, the required weight is doubled, so gold earrings that weigh more than 2g and silver earrings weighing more than 15.5g must be hallmarked.

The number depicted on the purity mark shows how pure the metal is on a scale of 1 to 999. 18 carat gold is marked at 750, while 9 carat gold is marked at 375.

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