When it comes to jewellery, the three most precious metals are silver, gold and platinum - in that particular order. As a soft metal, silver needs to be alloyed with other metals before being made into jewellery, in order to make the metal stronger and more resistant. This small copper content means that silver jewellery is likely to tarnish, so if you're thinking about buying a sterling silver ring or bracelet, it's important to make sure you clean in properly. Further, to make sure the silver jewellery you've bought is high quality, ensure that it's been stamped with a purity mark (like 925) before you buy.
As with silver, gold is a soft metal and so also has to be alloyed with other metals to make it hard enough for jewellery making. Pure gold, for example is yellow, while white gold is gold that has been alloyed with nickel, copper and zinc, and can sometimes look similar to platinum. Generally speaking, platinum jewellery is 90% pure platinum and 10% iridium or palladium alloy. Moreover, jewellery that contains more than 95 per cent pure platinum is marked 'platinum' (950 plat or 950pt), whereas 85 percent pure platinum will be marked 850plat or 850pt. Platinum jewellery is rapidly gaining popularity and other related metals - like palladium and titanium - are, as a result being used with increasing frequency in jewellery-making.