Jewelry can be made from a wide range of materials. However, stones and precious metals are often used.
Stones, both precious and semi-precious ones, have been used in making jewelry. Among these stones are the following, to name a few: Amber, Emerald, Jade, Jasper, Quartz, Ruby, Sapphire, Turqoise, and other gemstones, such as pearls and corals.
Amber is an ancient organic gemstone that must, at least be one million years old to be used in making jewelry. Some of them can be up to 120 million years old.
Emerald is one of the three most important gemstones, along with Ruby and Sapphire, which is known for its greenish color. Another gem that is green in color is the Jade, which is also referred to as “the stone of heaven”. Jasper, on the other hand, comes in a variety of colors and unique patterns.
Quartz is a family of crystalline gemstones of different colors and sizes. Types of quarts are the rose quartz (pink in color), smoky quartz (in shades of brown), Amethyst, and Citrine.
A Ruby is known for its powerful red color while Sapphires are most popular in its blue form. Along with Emerald, these two gemstones comprise the three major gemstones.
Turquoise is a rare gem, in that it can be found in only a few places all over the world. These stones are bright blue or greenish blue in color with a matrix of dark brown markings.
Pearls, corals, and amber are classified as organic; meaning, they are produced by living organism. Corals come in a variety of colors—red, pink, orange, white, black, yellow, and blue. The red corals, also known as fire corals, are prized as gemstones because of their rarity. And because of their softness and opacity, corals are most often used to make beads.
Alloys of almost every metal ever discovered have been used in making jewelry. Examples of this are the following metal alloys: Bronze, Gold, White Gold, Platinum, Palladium, Titanium, and Silver. The purity of metal, like Gold, for example, is declared in Karats (K). American gold jewelry must, at least, have a purity of 10K or 41.7% pure gold. The Silver used in jewelry is generally sterling silver or 92.5% fine silver.
In order to create finishes for metals such as Platinum, Gold, and Silver, several techniques can be employed. These techniques can be any of the following: high-polishing, satin/matte finishing, brush finishing, and/or hammering. Of the four techniques, high-polishing is the most common and gives the metal a shiny look. To reduce the shine or the reflection on the metal, satin/matte finishing is done. Satin/matte finishing is often employed to accentuate a gemstone, such as a diamond. Brush finishing, on the other hand, gives the jewelry a textured brush stroke look while hammering provides a wavy texture.
Some jewelry, like those made of sterling silver, are plated to provide a shiny, reflective look.