Sterling silver close up



Precious metal of transition, it is ductile, malleable, white and shiny.

Its symbol on the periodic table is Ag, and its atomic number is 47.

It is the known metal with the highest electrical and thermal conductivity in addition to having the highest reflection index.

Its name would come from Latin "Argentum", silver or from Greek "Argyros" which means bright, milky and clear white or from Sanskrit "Arjun", brilliant.

The use of silver to make ornaments such as jewelry, various objects and tableware began during the Neolithic period around 5000 years ago.

It is one of the 7 metals known since Antiquity, when the use of this metal along with gold as currency began. At the time, its value was close to that of gold due to its scarcity, which changed with the discovery of the New World and giant mines in countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and Chile.

Some of these are still mined today, others like the Potosí mine in Bolivia are virtually exhausted due to over-exploitation since the arrival of the Spanish.

The ancient Greeks associated silver with 3 lunar divinities: Selena, goddess of the full moon and birth, Artemis, goddess of the crescent moon and hunting, and Hecate, goddess of the new moon and death.

One of the noble metals that alchemists sought to create alongside gold, its extraction is partly reminiscent of alchemy, as silver does not often occur naturally. That is, it usually must be separated from other minerals by bringing them to their melting point or by using other techniques.

Sterling silver

Also called .925 silver, it contains 925/1000 fine silver (99.99%) with another metal, usually copper. This alloy allows Sterling silver to be harder and more resistant. In many cases, a bath of another metal such as rhodium is also carried out to prevent it from tarnishing.

Various alloys of silver and other metals exist. For example, electrum is obtained by mixing silver and gold in various proportions.

It is estimated that half of the world's total silver production comes from the Americas. Mexico is the largest producer worldwide; some other countries where it is extracted are China, Australia, Russia and the United States.



18K yellow gold close up



The noblest of the noble metals, it is ductile, soft, malleable, slightly yellow-orange and dense.

Its symbol on the periodic table is Au, and its atomic number is 79.

A transition metal, it is one of the least reactive ones giving it its reputation not to rust or corrode easily.

Its name would come from Latin "Aurum", gold, sometimes also translated as aurora. It could also come from Germanic languages with the words "Gold", "Geld" or "Gyld".

A scarce element, it is a solar symbol due to its color that recalls that of our star. Synonymous with excellence, perfection and purity, since ancient times numerous civilizations have linked it to royalty, eternity and the divine.

It is estimated that gold was discovered around 40 000 years ago during the Paleolithic period in small quantities inside caves of later to be Europe.

The oldest found gold artifacts were discovered in the Varna Necropolis in Bulgaria. The treasure consisting of coins, weapons and jewelry would date back to around 4600 B.C.

Often forming as a free element in the form of flakes and rarely as nuggets, it is extracted from ores of minerals, veins of rocks and collected from alluvial deposits. It is found in several cases as a natural alloy or as an inclusion in other minerals such as pyrite, sometimes also called "fool's gold".

Its geological origin is largely a mystery and various theories exist about it:

It could go back to the formation of the solar system and planet Earth, which would explain its presence in the mantle and Earth's crust. Volcanic and seismic activity would cause it to emerge close to the surface.

It has also been theorized that it could come from outer space. It could be the result of the explosion of supernovae or the collision or merger of neutron stars, celestial bodies formed after the gravitational collapse of supermassive stars.

Motive for the so-called gold rushes in the United States, various areas of Australia, Otago in New Zealand, in South Africa and in the Klondike in Canada, it is also a source of inspiration for myths and legends such as that of the lost city of El Dorado started by the Spanish upon arrival in Colombia.

About K's

The caratage (K) of gold corresponds to its purity. Being the known metal with the highest malleability, 24K corresponds to fine gold of 100% purity, which is generally smelted with another metal to obtain a harder and more resistant alloy.

18K gold corresponds to 75% gold content and 14K to 58.3% and so on. The metal that is added to it makes it possible to create gold of other colors such as rose gold when copper is used, white gold when palladium is used, green gold when silver is used, or blue gold when iron is used.

Numerous alloys of gold with other metals exist. Tumbaga for example, is an alloy of gold with copper that was commonly used by the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica.

Various finishes and processes can be applied to gold jewelry. Mokume-gane for instance is a Japanese technique that involves superimposing sheets of different gold alloys to create a grained wood effect.

Since 2020, China is the world's leading gold producer, followed by Russia and Australia. Gold recycling, much less polluting than its extraction, has progressed in recent years and represents around 25 to 30% of annual world production.



Bronze close up



Alloy of metals with a characteristic golden to metallic brown color, it is hard, ductile and resistant.

Its main base component is copper, usually mixed with tin and/or another metal or mineral such as zinc, aluminum or lead.

Brass, with which it is often confused, is made of copper and zinc.

The word "bronze" could come from Middle French "Bronze" or Italian "Bronzo". In turn, both words could come from medieval Latin "Brundisium", tin or mineral from Brindisi, after the Italian port city that was the main entrance to the Roman Empire.

Bronze develops a patina (it oxidizes) but only on the surface and is resistant to corrosion.

The oldest bronze artifacts discovered were found on the Iranian Plateau and date to around 5000 B.C. These had copper and arsenic instead of tin, this alloy is called arsenic bronze.

The discovery of copper alloys that allow the creation of bronze represented such important advances for humanity that the name Bronze Age was coined for the historical period that goes approximately from 3300 B.C. to 1200 B.C. (depending on the part of the world).

Bronze was eventually difficult to produce as tin deposits are rare compared to those of copper. In addition, the deposits of both minerals rarely occur in close proximity to each other, so tin had to be brought from distant regions.

The next period, the Iron Age, is believed to have started due to this fact and the progress in iron working that would later give way to the discovery of steel. Additionally, iron is one of the most abundant metals on Earth.

The aforementioned arsenic bronze was the first known and used alloy but there are multiple types of bronze, their properties and use(s) depend on the minerals that compose each.

Kara-kane, or "Chinese metal" in Japanese, has been used to make bells, statues and also in goldsmithing.

Bell metal bronze, which, as its name indicates, is used to make bells, but also gongs, Tibetan bowls and other musical instruments, is known as such due to its ability of producing sound variants depending on the proportions of copper, tin and other metals in its composition.

Nowadays copper comes from many countries. Although the largest mine in the world is located in the state of Utah in the United States, the main world producer is Chile, followed by Peru.

Tin, meanwhile, is mostly extracted in Southeast Asia.