Sheet gold and silver are used for many applications such as metalworking, jewellery making and other artistic avenues. However, there is a difference in quality when it comes to the final product depending on what you choose.
Purity of gold and silver is measured in karats.
This is something you need to decide on before purchasing sheet or plate metal. The purity of the metal goes up with the karat value. 24K gold is considered pure gold. But as pure gold is a soft metal that is difficult to use for jewellery making, it is combined with other metals. This increases it durability. Some of the common alloys you will come across are 10K, 14K and 18K. The same follows when it comes to silver and there are other metals added to increase strength and durability. The most commonly used silver alloy is sterling silver which is 92.5% pure. You will also need to consider the gauge when it comes to sheet metal fabrication. This refers to the thickness of gold or silver. When the gauge number increases, the thickness decreases. The durability and workability of the metal is determined by the gauge as well. While it is easier to work with thicker gauges, thinner gauges tend to be more pliable making it easy to shape the metal. Some of the commonly used gauges are in the range of 14 to 24 when it comes to sheet metal.
The texture of the metal is called the finish and there are many finishes available such as brushed, hammered, matte and shiny. You need to consider the finish of the final product when selecting this. If you are planning to create something that is more understated, a matte finish will be ideal. For a luxurious touch, a shiny finish is better as it will catch your eye easily. Depending on the proportion and type of alloys used, the colour of gold and silver can change. You may have heard of white gold which is made by mixing nickel or palladium with gold. And rose gold is achieved by mixing copper with gold. In the same way, you can mix other metals with silver to create a variety of shades. One such example is oxidised silver.
Consider what the source of metal is.
You need to select a reputed supplier so that you can be assured of the quality of sheet or plate metal. This will also guarantee the purity of the product. Another aspect you can look at is whether the gold or silver has been obtained sustainably using responsible mining practices. If your company is focusing on sustainability, you need to make sure that the materials you use are sourced ethically. Depending on the gauge, finish, purity and source of metal, the price of gold and silver can vary. You need to have a budget in mind before you start looking for sheet metal for your project. Generally, thicker gauges and higher purity will be more costly.