Silver and Gold in Jewelry

There are different metals used in jewelry and the choice is really great but there are some materials that are more popular than others, more trusted and valuable. Let's take two most popular quality jewelry materials- silver and gold- and study them and their types.
Silver has been used for hundred of years for decoration. This beautiful metal is mined from many countries but the main producers are Peru, Mexico and Australia. People add other metals to silver because in its pure from it's too soft.
Sterling silver is the main type of silver used in dinnerware, ornaments and jewelry nowadays. Silver body jewelry is really popular nowadays.

Sterling silver is a mixture of 7.5% metal alloy and 92.5% pure silver. It's hallmarked as "925". Sterling silver jewelry is loved by many women and men for its beautiful luster, unique shapes and available price.
Silver plating is widespread in stuff. Silver plated items look almost like sterling silver but tend to wear off quickly. They are made using nickel or brass as base metal which is put through electroplating process adhering a thin layer of pure silver.
German silver or Alpaca silver is a greyish alloy resembling silver but it isn't silver at all. It's used in silver plated items as a base sometimes and is called new silver or nickel silver.
Britannia silver contains of more than 4.16% cooper and 95.85% pure silver and is marked "958" in Ireland and the U.K.
Mexican silver is that with more than 90% pure silver content. This term is used to describe silver made in Mexico and today it's actually sterling silver.
Nowadays the practice of applying a finishing process to sterling silver jewelry called antiquing is very popular. It not only gives sterling silver jewelry an appearance of age but also helps to produce contrast making the details of designs more noticeable.
Gold is also too soft to work with and some metals are brought into to give gold jewelry desirable colour and necessary mechanical properties. It may be cooper, silver, nickel, zink, palladium or other metal.
The carat system is used in USA, Switzerland and Britain and 1000th mark of quality of metal corresponds to 24 conventional units. The state legislates and guarantees the quality mark pf precious metal alloys and the mark is defined by the digits.
18k gold contains 7%- 15% silver, up to 14% palladium, up to 4% nickel, 2%- 5% zink, up to 15% cooper or 7.5%- 16.5%.
14k gold is an alloy that can be of different colours. The ratio of the ferrous metals influences the colour. If 14k gold is of greenish colour it means that there are 36% silver, 5.7% cooper and 58.3% gold in it. Pink colour gold alloy contains 18.3% silver, 23.4% cooper and 58.3% gold. 58.3% gold with 33.4% cooper and 8.3% silver gets reddish colour. 14k white and yellow gold jewelry is the most popular and looks great.
24k gold contains only 37.5% gold, 48% cooper, 10% silver and 3.8% palladium. It's rarely used and isn't durable.
Gold plated jewelry< is also popular due to its resemblance to gold and low price. But a thin layer of gold can be washed off with time and the base metal will be seen. Gold plated piercing jewelry is more widespread than classical jewelry plated with gold.