Precious Metals | First State Auctions

Precious Metals

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Just as a frame can really make a picture, the same is true with the metal in which gemstones are set. There are plenty of options out in the marketplace, but at First State Auctions we only sell jewellery set with high-quality precious metals. These metals are far more than just a setting for the stone – they have their own value and characteristics, adding to the look and feel of the piece.



Chemical symbol: Au
PURE GOLD: 100% pure gold is 24ct, reflecting a yellow or red colour. Because this is too soft to be worn as jewellery, it must be mixed with other metals to make it more durable. 18ct gold is typically used in premium jewellery and there are three main colours.
18ct yellow gold: 75% pure gold + 25% other metals
18ct white gold: 75% pure gold + 25% metals that lend a white appearance, such as palladium, nickel and silver
18ct rose gold: 75% pure gold + 25% copper to give it the rose colour
9ct gold is less valuable, made from 37.5% pure gold + 62.5% other alloys.
Found in: South Africa, Australia, Russia, USA, Peru.
Associated with: Summer, the sun, perfection, divinity, wealth, luxury
Annual production: Approx 1800 tonnes
Anniversaries: 50th




Gold needs very little introduction. For centuries, it has been documented through history, film, books, sport and more. Olympians strive for gold. Ancient cultures worshipped it. Loyalty clubs reward you with its benefits. And of course, lovers of jewellery look to gold as the original benchmark in design.

Gold is the ultimate go-to symbol for wealth and class. While it has many uses in dentistry and general industry, more than half of all gold is used for jewellery. Its non-corrosive properties and different colour options make it a dominant force in jewellery. Throughout history and throughout the world, over 8500m3 of gold has been mined. Whichever way you look at it, gold is certainly worth its weight!



Nothing beats the shine of gold. To clean it, wipe it gently with a soft cloth and warm water. Never wear your gold while undertaking vigorous activity. We recommend having your gold cleaned professionally every two years.

It is common practice in the industry to plate 18ct white gold with rhodium. This is a safe practice that is done to maintain the white appearance. Over time, the rhodium will wear slightly, and it is recommended to have it replated professionally.



Chemical symbol: Pt
Name origin: Derived form the Spanish ‘platina’, which translates as ‘little silver.’
Pure platinum: Unlike pure gold, pure platinum is durable. Therefore, only requires a small amount of alloy metal to make it hard enough for jewellery. It will typically be 90-95% pure.
First discovered: 1700s (although Ancient Egyptians and pre-Columbus South Americans used it to make artefacts much earlier than this)
Found in: South Africa, Russia, Canada
Notable platinum: The frame of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was made from platinum
Popular culture: Music that has ‘gone platinum’ is a higher achievement than gold. Many reward schemes also have platinum as their highest level.
Annual production: Approx 130 tonnes
Anniversaries: 20th (modern), 75th




It takes something quite special to upstage gold in the precious metal stakes, and platinum is just that. The key is its rarity and intensiveness – taking 10 tonnes and five months to produce just 1 ounce! Unlike gold, platinum’s existence has only been known relatively recently – first documented scientifically in the 18th century. Platinum's rarity made King Louis XV of France declare it “the only metal fit for a king” and its exclusivity endures today.

It may look like silver, but that is where the similarities end. Platinum is highly resistant to tarnishing (unlike silver) and very corrosion resistant – even in high temperatures. In fact, its general non-reactive properties and hardness make it the ideal base metal for jewellery that will last a lifetime!

Modern jewellery is turning more and more to platinum for a contemporary look and practical finish. When teamed with precious gems, including popular favourites diamond and emeralds, it is hard to beat.



Although platinum is very durable, it still requires simple care to keep it looking its best. Clean your platinum by gently wiping it with a soft cloth, clean warm water, and a mild soap. If unsure, please check with your jeweller.

We recommend that you never wear your platinum jewellery while undertaking vigorous activity. It’s also a great idea to have your platinum professionally cleaned and polished every two years.