3 things you should know about gold jewelry

gold jewelry: pure gold, solid gold and colored gold

 

  1. What is PURE gold?

Gold was the first metal widely known by humans, it was discovered around 3000 BC by several human groups in very spread out locations and everyone who found it was impressed by its brilliance, color and durability. The term “gold” comes from the Old English “geolo” which means yellow. It has always been used in ornamental functions for gods and kings and has been associated with the ideas of power, beauty, wealth and immortality.

pure gold nugget

At a more scientific level, Gold is a fundamental chemical element with symbol Au. Pure gold is made up of solely gold atoms and is a rare bright yellow mineral that is the most soft, malleable and ductile of all metals. Since it is very malleable and soft it is rarely used to make jewelry because it would easily lose its shape and would not be suitable for daily wear. This is the reason why most gold jewelry is actually made of solid gold in the form of gold alloy (an alloy is a combination of any two or more metals melt and stirred together).

 

  1. What is SOLID gold?

Solid gold is the name used to describe gold alloys: other metals with different mechanical and color properties are added to the gold in order to increase its hardness making the metal proper to be used as worn jewelry and also altering its color (as seen in white gold, green gold, rose gold etc).

Gold alloys consists of gold mixed with commonly silver, zinc and copper, sometimes also platinum, palladium or nickel. The purity or fineness of gold in the alloy is indicated by its karat number or percentage of pure gold. You can find this information stamped on to the gold piece either in the form of karat (18K, 14K etc.) or in the form of a fraction (750/1000, 583/1000 etc.) with the following equivalence:

100% pure gold = 24 kt gold

75% gold = 18K gold + 6K of other metals

58.3% gold = 14K gold + 10K of other metals

50% gold = 12K gold + 12K of other metals

41.7% gold = 10K gold + 14K of other metals

10K gold is the minimum karat that can still be officially called gold in the US.

 

  1. What are yellow gold, white gold and rose gold made up of?

Most pure metals are grey or white except for copper which has a pinkish-orange color and gold which has a natural yellow tone. As a direct application in gold alloys, adding copper makes it redder and adding silver or zinc makes it whiter.

Since the 1920’s, white gold is often sought after as a beautiful and cheaper alternative to platinum for engagement rings typically. It makes diamond and other precious stones dazzle. White gold is available up to 21 karats.

Rose gold, also referred to as pink gold and red gold, became first popular in Russia during the 19th century and and was also known as Russian gold. Although the names are often used interchangeably, the difference between red, rose, and pink gold is the copper content: the higher the copper content, the stronger the red coloration. Pink gold uses the least copper, followed by rose gold, with red gold having the highest copper content.

colored gold alloy chart

 

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One thought on “3 things you should know about gold jewelry

  1. This is so helpful! I’m always so confused when buying jewelry. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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