At Pièces Uniques, we strive to offer high quality jewelry to our customers. For that reason, we exclusively craft in 18-karat our collections and we often prefer and recommend 18-karat over 14-karat for our custom designed pieces. But do you know why?
As you probably already know, our workshop is based in Paris and our craftsmen are French, so it is very important for us to respect the French standard of craftsmanship in order to produce high quality jewelries. That’s why, at Pièces Uniques, we nurture a real culture for 18-karat gold(1) which contains 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals. In other words, it means that 75% is gold and 25% is alloyed. Because of the ductility of gold, other metals such as copper and silver are added to strengthen it. This is what we call an alloy. To avoid allergies or skin rashes, we do not use nickel in any of our jewelry.
Our white gold is made with palladium in order to maintain the metal’s color and sparkle over time. The very last step in making a piece of white gold jewelry is to electroplate it with a metal called rhodium. Rhodium is a bright silver color metal that belongs to the platinum family. It is very expensive and therefore only used in a plating solution.
The 18-karat pink gold alloy used by Pièces Uniques is made up of 75% gold, 20% copper and 5% silver.
For our contemporary collection (silver-vermeil(2)), we also use three layers of 18-karat gold in the plating process, allowing our gold plated jewelry to last if well used and cared for.
To summarize, the higher the karat number the more gold the jewelry contains.
(1) The purest gold is 24-karat gold.
18Kt gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 75% gold. 14Kt gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 58.3% gold.
(2) The industry standard definition of vermeil is sterling silver that is plated with 10k gold with a minimum of 2.5 microns in thickness for longwearing durability. At Pièces Uniques, our vermeil pieces are plated in 18Kt.