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Pawn Shop Gold & Precious Metals

Pawn America Jewelry 101

Welcome to Pawn America Jewelry 101, where you will find helpful resources and guides for jewelry education, precious metals lessons, and watch instructions. At Pawn America, we care about you and the value of your items on both sides of the business, and we want all of our customers to be educated on the pieces they choose to pawn, buy or sell. Whether you’re looking to purchase an engagement ring for the first time, or have old, unwanted family heirlooms to sell, let PA Jewelry 101 guide and educate you through the process.


We have certified, graduate GIA Gemologists and Master Goldsmiths on staff who assess, inspect, and polish the jewelry we sell in our stores in addition to trained appraisers behind the pawn counters who are ready to answer any questions you may have.


We believe that the more you know, the more confident you will feel about your transaction with us. Please, browse through our resources, give us a call or stop into the store nearest you to learn more!



Precious Metals


Gold and precious metals make jewelry into beautiful masterpieces to be worn for the world to see. Keep your jewelry showing off its beauty by learning more about the metals that make it that way. [then go into gold]

To determine the karat gold used in a piece of jewelry, check its markings, also called its hallmark. This is usually found on the inside of the shank or the underside side of a pendant, earring or bracelet. The traditional hallmark uses the gold purity percentage. Modern hallmarks are simply stamped with the karat weight.


The color of gold is determined by two factors, the type of metal alloys included and the percentage of each metal alloy.

  • Yellow Gold: pure gold mixed with a little silver and copper for a warm look
  • White Gold: pure gold is combined with palladium and silver or with nickel, copper and zinc. Rhodium plating improves whiteness and durability.

White gold is the sturdiest of the colored golds, which is why it’s frequently used in prongs in diamond settings.

  • Rose Gold: pure gold plus copper. The more copper, the redder the metal.
  • Green Gold: yellowish green in appearance, pure gold plus silver



    Platinum is a silvery, white metal with a soft hue that’s extremely rare and considered more precious than gold. It is much heavier than gold as well and does not tarnish or oxidize. Because of its hardness, the details on intricately engraved or embellished rings look sharper and more precise when done in platinum.

    As with other metals, platinum is commonly mixed with other metals when used in jewelry pieces. However, for a piece of jewelry to be labeled as Platinum, it must meet a minimum level of purity. Platinum in jewelry is 90% to 95% pure, which brings out the beauty of diamonds set in platinum engagement rings. Normally, platinum pieces can be identified by a stamp with PLAT.

    Sterling Silver

    Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable and easily damaged, so it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. Sterling silver can range from bright white to grayish white and can have a matte or shiny finish. It is usually combined with other metals such as copper to boost its strength. Sterling Silver must contain at least 92.5% pure silver, which is why it’s stamped .925

    Other Metals

    Stainless Steel: Shiny and strong, stainless steel rings can be polished to take on many different looks, from matte to chrome.

    Titanium: Titanium is a natural element and can be black, silver, grey or white in color. It is the hardest natural metal in the world. Though it is lightweight, titanium is the strongest and most scratch resistant metals available for wedding rings, but it cannot be resized once made.

    Tungsten Carbide: a steel gray, white or black metal whose strength and high melting point makes Tungsten a favorite in the arms industry. It is harder than gold alloys and is hypoallergenic. It is the most popular alternative metal for men’s wedding bands, but cannot be resized.

    Palladium: One of the rarest metals in the world, Palladium is a member of the platinum group of metals. These metals are referred to as noble metals due to their superior ability to withstand corrosion and oxidation.

    Cobalt: Made from a highly durable alloy, cobalt is 4x harder than platinum, but is less dense. Cobalt alloy is a bright white metal, giving it the appearance of platinum. Because of its natural hardness, cobalt jewelry is extremely scratch, chip and corrosion resistant. It is also hypoallergenic, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin.

    Tantalum: This is the newest addition to contemporary metals and is highly scratch resistant and hypo allergic. Naturally a blue-grey metal, tantalum is 99% pure and coated with a ceramic glaze that gives the metal a matte black finish.

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