Knowing Your Gold Jewelry

Yellow Gold

By far the most common color of gold used in jewelry, yellow gold is gold in its natural shade. Yellow gold is usually alloyed with copper and silver to increase the strength of the metal. How yellow the metal is depends upon the content of gold. A 14-karat piece of jewelry will have a brighter yellow hue than a 10-karat piece. Likewise, an 18-karat piece of jewelry will have a deeper yellow than 14-karat gold, and so on.

White Gold

Increasing in popularity in recent years, white gold has become fashionable as the preferred cool and contemporary look. White gold boasts the same properties as classic yellow gold, but achieves its white color by mixing with different alloys. In general, white gold is created when a nickel or palladium alloy (zinc and copper) is used. White gold may also be plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium, to enhance its cool appearance. As well, a white gold setting can enhance the rapture of white diamonds.

Rose or Pink Gold

Rose or pink-colored gold can be created by alloying copper with yellow gold. This hue of gold tends to have a pink, bluish tint that complements many skin tones.

Green Gold

This color variation of gold can be created by alloying silver, copper and zinc with yellow gold.

Karats

Gold’s softness and malleability make it a wonderful metal to work with when creating virtually any design in jewelry. But this softness can be a drawback as well. To make it stronger and more durable, gold is usually alloyed, or mixed, with other metals such as copper or silver. The higher a metal’s percentage of gold content, the softer and more yellow the jewelry piece. The karat weight system used to measure gold in a piece is the same for all hues, including white and yellow gold. The word “carat” is Arabic, meaning “bean seed.” This is because historically seeds were used to measure weights of gold and precious stones. In the United States, “karat” with a “k” is used to measure gold’s purity, while “carat” with a “c” is used in measuring a gemstone’s size. The karat mark of gold represents the percentage of pure gold to alloy.

24K is pure gold or 100% gold

21K is 21/24ths gold content or 87.5% gold

In the United States, jewelry with this karatage or higher is rare. It is far more common in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

18K is 18/24ths gold content or 75% gold

This karatage is a popular high-end choice in the United States, Europe and other regions. Its popularity is spreading throughout North America.

14K is 14/24ths gold content or 58.5% gold

This is the most common gold karatage in the United States because of its fine balance between gold content, durability and affordability.

10K is 10/24ths gold content or 41.7% gold

This karatage is gaining popularity for its affordability and durability. Commonly used in everyday-wear jewelry such as rings, 10K gold beautifully withstands wear and tear. It is the lowest gold content that can be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States.

Gold Filled, Gold Plated & Vermeil

Alternative types of gold jewelry include gold filled, gold plated and vermeil. Over time, gold plating and vermeil will wear off, requiring re-plating. Gold plating is an electrolytic process in which a gold coating of at least 10K gold with a minimum thickness is affixed to all surfaces.

Vermeil refers to mechanically bonding or electroplating gold with a minimum fineness of 10K over a base of sterling silver.

Gold-filled jewelry consists of a layer of 10K gold or better mechanically bonded to the surfaces of a base (non-precious) metal. This layer of 10K gold must be a minimum of 1/20th of the total metal weight to be called gold filled. Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through. The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on manufacturer, so there is no single, simple comparison. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate

Why Are Other Metals Mixed With Gold?

You’ll find examples of pure gold jewelry, but pure gold is soft and isn’t practical for daily wear. Other metals are mixed with it to make it more durable (and to lower its cost).

Adding other metals to the mix also allows metallurgists to change the color of gold. Palladium or nickel can be added to create white gold. Adding copper produces a rose or pink tint, while silver gives gold a greenish cast.

When metals are added to the gold the result is an alloy, a blended mixture of the metals that you can think of as a very expensive cake batter. Solid gold is a term that can be used to describe an item that’s at least 10K (in the US) gold all the way through. Even though it’s a gold alloy–18K, 14K, or anything down to 10K–it can be called solid gold.

source

Advertisements

4 responses to “Knowing Your Gold Jewelry

  1. Pingback: What You Need To Know Before Buying Investment Gold Jewellery

  2. Invest in Gold June 2, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Nice blog. Its very informative & interesting content. thank for sharing these things in this article.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Your Questions About Sell Gold Prices Jewelry |

  4. Rodrigo June 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I purchased these eanrgris as a Christmas gift for a friend. They were on sale, and a great deal. When they arrived, I was amazed at the quality of the eanrgris, as I hadn’t expected them to be so nice for the great low price they cost. My friend was thrilled, they were very well received.Delivery was very fast, I didn’t have to wait very long at all for them.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: