Finenesses, solders and coatings

Articles of precious metals released onto the market and intended for sale in Finland must carry marks indicating the fineness, shown in the adjacent table. The gold, silver, platinum or palladium fineness of such articles must be at least that indicated in the fineness mark; lower finenesses are not allowed.

 

Reinforcing, filling of increasing the weight of an article of precious metals is not allowed with a precious metal, metal or other material or solder with a fineness grade lower than that indicated in the mark. Acceptable low-fineness solders should be used only to the extent necessary for soldering. The EU Regulation REACH limits the use of cadmium in solders (cadmium should not account for more than 0.01 per cent of the weight).

 

Articles made of precious metals may have coatings. The fineness mark of an article with a coating indicates the fineness of the coated precious metal. In other words, the array of marks may not contain one indicating the fineness of the coating material. For example, if an article is a gold-plated product, it must be stamped with a mark that identifies it as being made of silver. A gold article with a silver-plating must be marked as gold.

 

For the consumer, platings may present something of a problem. Coatings wear off, and the colour of the article may change over time. For example, articles coated with rhodium should be recoated at every few years, depending on the use, in order to preserve the article’s appearance. Some articles have been coated using intermediary coatings of copper, for example. Such articles may develop red patches in places where the surface coating wears off.