GOLD - It comes in various qualities called Karats that determines the purity: 24K is 100% Gold; 18K is 75%; 14K is 58% and 10K is 49%. Pure Gold is mixed with other metals for strength, durability and/or color - Nickel creates White; Copper creates Rose. Nickel CAN create allergic reactions in some people but the risk has been lessened to great degree with new alloys being developed to countereact reactions to the wearers. May Jewelers Rhodium-plate their White Gold Jewelry but that is just a coating that wears off eventually and must be reapplied.  We have been using  a Specific White Gold alloy that is almost as white as plated jewelry, BUT does not need to be plated and has an extremely low risk of wearer reaction!
Other Precious Metals - PLATINUM is used at 90-95% pure for jewelry and is very dense and heavy. The small % of alloys is for strength/durability.  SILVER - used at a purity of 92% and is the least costly of all precious metals. Durability/Strength is the least of all BUT there are new, stronger alloys available - Sterlium and Silvadium are patented silver alloys with high tarnish resistance, higher strength and no nickel reactions.
OTHERS - PLATED many rings (some of non-precious metal) are electroplated with a VERY thin layer of Rhodium, Gold or Palladium for color, but it is NOT durable for extended wear. Gold over Silver is called Vermeille. GOLD FILLED is a process where 1/20th of the total weight of the piece is layered over brass with 14 or 24K Gold. "PRECIOUS BOND" - a patented process where 25% Gold is permanently bonded to 75% Silver to create an affordable Wedding Band.

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