Jewelry is any personal ornament that is made of precious metals, gemstones, and other materials such as shells and leather, among others. Earrings, pendants, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and bangles are examples of popular jewelry pieces.
The use of jewelry dates back to thousands of years when man created it first for practical purposes like pinning clothes together. Over the years, jewelry's value in the society has changed from practical to decorative. While jewelry has always had a cultural and economic value, nowadays it has become a status symbol.Gold
Gold is probably the most sought-after precious metal ever recorded in history. Its use as money, jewelry, sculpture and other ornaments, and even in dentistry and electronics has contributed to its high economic value.
Pure gold, designated as 24K, is very soft; thus gold is mixed with other metals to harden it for use in jewelry. Pure gold is bright yellow in color. When it is alloyed with other base metals, the resulting metal has a different color depending on the quantity of base metal added. White gold, for example, can be made by adding palladium, nickel, silver and other white metals. White gold was originally developed in the 1920s as an alternative to platinum but has since become a popular jewelry metal itself.
Gold remains to be the most popular metal for use in making earrings, pendants, bangles, bracelets, chains or necklaces, and rings.Silver
Like gold, silver has been long valued as a precious metal and has been used to make jewelry and premium tableware, hence the term silverware. Silver metal is also used nowadays in the electronics industry.
Silver is slightly harder than gold. Commercial-grade fine silver is 99.9% pure silver metal; sterling silver is an alloy with about 92% silver and 8% copper. Rhodium can also be used to plate silver materials for a shiny look.
Most silver earrings, rings, bangles, bracelets, chains, or necklaces available in the market today are made of sterling silver. This is because sterling silver is harder than pure silver.Diamonds, Jade, and Other Gemstones
Diamonds are, indeed, forever; the diamond is recognized to be the hardest naturally occurring mineral. Diamonds are also highly traded commodities. As a jewelry, diamonds in rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets are the ultimate status symbol.
Jade is another mineral used in earrings, rings, pendants, and bracelets. There are two types of jade: nephrite and jadeite. Jade was used in ancient times not only in jewelry but also in medicine and weaponry; nowadays, it is purely decorative. Jade has the distinction of being the first non-metal to be used in an Olympic medal (2008 Summer Olympics).
Gemstones are precious or semi-precious minerals that are used in jewelry because of their attractive colors, luster, and hardness. Famous gemstones used in earrings, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and bangles include aquamarine, diamonds, emeralds, opals, ruby, sapphires, spinels, and topaz.
Modern technology has also ushered the existence of synthetic or artificial gemstones for use in rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces, chains, bracelets, and bangles. Some gemstones are imitations of the real stones; they look the same but do not have the same chemical or physical characteristics.
Some gemstones created in laboratories, on the other hand, still possess the same chemical and physical properties like their naturally occurring counterparts. Although synthetic gemstones have a more vivid color, they also cost less; natural gemstones, in general, have higher economic value than synthetic ones due to their rarity.