Fairmined and Recycled Metals
We cast and fabricate all of our pieces right here in the Seattle workshop, using only recycled or fairmined gold alloys or recycled platinum, palladium and silver. Metal mining, especially gold mining, can be environmentally damaging as well as dangerous to the miners.
As part of our Above and BeyondTM initiative, we cast with fairmined or recycled gold only, and were one of the first jewelers to do so. Our goal is to minimize the use of industrial mining and to help support and protect small scale miners through improved mining practices.
While platinum is every master jewelers' first choice, the metal you select for your custom piece is reflective of your personal taste, budget and how the piece will be worn.
Our ultra white gold is a proprietary alloy that is so white it doesn't need rhodium plating, (which wears off and is often done to hide the yellowish tone of traditional white gold alloys).
Our warm white gold is a sublte warm tone that especially suits carved mountain and other reustic styles, and our rose and peach gold alloys have been selected for exceptional richness of color and durability.
Don’t know which noble, sustainable metal is the best for your ring? Just Ask a Designer or learn about different metals in our Design Elements section.
Gold is the classic rich, warm color that has been used for centuries to create pieces of value. Gold alloys can be made yellow, white, rose, green and even gray and is suitable for most fine jewelry applications.
Gold alloys are formulated in various fineness or karat. These are ways of describing the proportion of gold in an alloy; fineness is based on 1000 parts and karat, the traditional method in the US, is based on 24 parts. So an alloy with 75% gold is 18kt or a fineness of 750. The other metals, such as copper, zinc and nickel determine the color of the alloy.
The higher the gold content, the more yellow and malleable the gold is. Higher karat or fineness items therefore tend to be heavier and often need to be a bit thicker for durability. For white gold, 14k gold provides the “best of all worlds” in that it is more than half gold content, durable, and is more affordable than the higher karat alloys. 18kt white gold also tends to be a bit yellowish and is often plated with Rhodium to look whiter, which we do not recommend for long term durability.
Gold is a good choice for designs that are all but the most structurally delicate, and designs with engraving, milgrain, and filigree; however, over the lifetime of a ring, gold will microscopically rub off as it comes in contact with hard surfaces, causing the ring to lose metal weight and show wear in some areas. Repairs to shank, prongs, engraving and milgrain details can be expected; how soon or how often depends on the wearer’s lifestyle. Also, certain alloys (especially nickel in white gold) have been known to cause some skin allergies. If allergies are a consideration, white gold can be plated with Rhodium, but it will eventually wear off and has to be redone regularly.
A malleable precious metal, yellowish in tone, noted as Au on the periodic table. Pure gold is very soft and must be alloyed with other metals, such as copper, silver, zinc, silicon, and nickel, to gain workable strength and achieve various colors. 24k gold is 99.9% pure gold throughout, 18k gold is 75% gold throughout, and 14k gold is 58% gold throughout. 14k gold is the most durable for jewelry making. Gold does not react with most chemicals, but it is affected by chlorine, fluorine, aqua regia and cyanide.
Platinum is grayish white, heavy, and very durable. Unlike gold, platinum will not lose metal weight over time, though some repairs to platinum can be expected over time, just due to normal wear. Platinum will take dings and scratches and wear to a dull finish over time. Platinum is the recommended metal for filigree and detail work that requires strength. It is very rare for platinum to cause skin allergies.
Platinum is the most commonly used of the Platinum group of metals. (Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Osmium & Iridium & Platinum)
Platinum (Pt) is a grayish-white metal. It has a high fusion point, is malleable & ductile, expands slightly upon heating and has high electrical resistance. It is a chemically inert metal and resists attack by air, water, single acids and ordinary reagents. Platinum melts at about 1772 °C (about 3222oF), boils at about 3827 °C (6921 °F) and has a specific gravity of about 21.45. Platinums' atomic weight is 195.09 giving it high density.
The properties of platinum group metals are ideal for jewelry (although, like gold and silver, pure platinum is too soft to be used by itself). In its pure form, platinum is harder than pure gold or silver. Because platinum is usually alloyed with other platinum group metals, it retains its density and it's resistance to corrosion. It has little or no "memory", which means that, if it is bent, it doesn't spring back to its original position. This makes platinum ideal for prong settings and other delicate work.
Platinum is a little less malleable than gold and silver, and feels a bit “gummy” when filing and drilling. This makes working platinum, and to a lesser extent Palladium- (drilling, sawing, polishing)-more difficult.
Platinum has to be annealed often when it is worked. Cold working distorts the metal's crystal structure, and the crystals become elongated and compressed. Annealing (heating the metal until it's just below its melting point and holding the temp for a short time) reverses that process and the crystals realign themselves.
Platinum's low heat conductivity keeps the heat from the torch from spreading. Platinum's higher melting temperature makes it a bit more challenging to cast too, because tends to “freeze up” quickly. The larger the piece, the Harder it is to cast, so designs that can be assembled from several small castings, rather than one or two large often work out better. Working in platinum requires different skills than the basic goldsmith learns in school. Making and repairing platinum jewelry is more complicated, more difficult and more expensive than working in silver or gold. There are, however, some intrinsic savings, as Platinum prongs rarely need re-tipping or replacing.
Silver, one of the whitest metals, has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal has been used in coin and jewelry for centuries. As one of the seven metals of antiquity, silver has had an enduring role in most human cultures. Most silver jewelry is made with sterling silver (925 fineness or 925 parts per thousand). Most silver alloys will tarnish and the black background is one of the defining characteristic of most silver jewelry. Silver alloys that are tarnish resistant are available, however silver has a lower durability and value than most other precious metals, and is not generally considered suitable for delicate items that must last a lifetime of wear like engagement and wedding rings.
Silver was one of the seven metals of antiquity that were known to prehistoric humans and whose discovery is thus lost to history. In particular, the three metals of group 11, copper, silver, and gold, occur in the elemental form in nature and were probably used as the first primitive forms of money as opposed to simple bartering. However, unlike copper, silver did not lead to the growth of metallurgy on account of its low structural strength, and was more often used ornamentally or as money.
Since silver is more reactive than gold, supplies of native silver were much more limited than those of gold. For example, silver was more expensive than gold in Egypt until around the fifteenth century BC. the Egyptians are thought to have separated gold from silver by heating the metals with salt, and then reducing the silver chloride produced to the metal.
Palladium is taupe-gray in tone. Palladium is a very rare metal, and gives a similar look to platinum. While Palladium is similar to platinum, it is slightly more malleable and not recommended for the most delicate or structurally difficult designs. It is very rare for palladium to cause skin allergies. Palladium is generally used on 950 fineness and can be heat treated to an interesting dark gray or green surface finish.
A malleable precious metal, grayish white in tone, noted as Pd on the periodic table. Palladium is a cousin to platinum with very similar chemical properties.