The world has been in love with gold ever since it was discovered. It is called a precious metal because it has a high economic value and is relatively scarce in relation to the level of demand for it. Gold was the standard in which the values of many currencies around the world were based until recently; because of confidence in its ability to hold it’s value over the long haul. At times of trouble, people always default to valuable portable property such as gold, diamonds and other valuable gems.
Gold has been the preferred metal for wedding rings in the west for a long time. It is very rare that couples exchange rings other than gold rings when getting married. In fact, in some Asian cultures, wealth is transferred unto the newlyweds in the form of gold jewelry.
Gold is very malleable and so has been the preferred metal for jewelers over centuries. It also does not rust or decay. If it gets dull, just applying a quick polish restores it’s luster and shine.
Gold is virtually indestructible and everlasting.
Gold keeps it’s value over time and is easily marketable
Gold is easy to work with so you will get the most beautiful jewelry made out of gold
Everybody loves gold.
What kind of Gold?
Before buying gold jewelry the most important thing to ask yourself is the reason why you are buying. This is important because it will help you determine how much to budget for your purchase, what quality and type of jewelry to buy and from where to buy it.
If you are only interested in buying a gold ring for fun, then you might not care too much about the quality of the ring or the supplier as long as it looks good on your finger. If, however, you are buying an engagement ring, an anniversary ring or a wedding ring, you had better pay more attention to the quality of the ring and the service you can expect from the supplier. A wedding ring, we hope, will be appreciated for a long time and you will want your partner to know that you put some thought into the selection of their ring. You want the perfect ring so you need to make sure that your supplier has a good return or exchange policy and that they are easily contactable.
There are different qualities and colors of gold used in jewelry. The different types of gold jewelry are determined by the metals mixed in with the pure gold, and whether the piece of jewelry is formed as a solid piece, plated or maybe hollow.
Pure gold does not rust or tarnish, and people that are allergic to some metals are rarely allergic to pure gold. However, pure gold is very soft and easily bendable. It is also very expensive. So to make it practical for jewelry that can be worn everyday it is mixed with different metals.
Gold jewelry is generally marked 18K, 14K, or 10K. The higher the Karat (k) the higher the percentage of pure gold to other metals in the jewelry.
- 24K gold is pure gold.
- 18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 75% gold.
- 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 58.3% gold.
- 12K gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 50% gold.
- 10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 41.7% gold.
10K gold is the minimum karat that can be called “gold” in the United States. A high proportion of gold Jewelry is made in 10K gold.
Jewelry from Europe may be marked is a different manner with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold like this:
- 18K gold is marked 750 to indicate 75% gold
- 14K gold is marked 585 for 58.5%
- 12K gold is marked 417 for 41.7%
Genuine gold jewelry should have, in addition to the karat marking, a hallmark or trademark that identifies its maker. Sometimes the item’s country of origin might also be included. The hallmark or country of origin may sometimes be left out in very small and delicate pieces of Jewelry.
Colors of Gold:
Pure gold is, of course, gold in color. However, gold can be made into jewelry of different and exciting colors by adding different metals to it. When other metals are added to pure gold the result is called an alloy. Any gold alloy from18K, down to 10K can still be called solid gold. Anything less that 10k is not solid gold.
White Gold: Created by adding Palladium or Nickel to pure gold.
Rose Tint Gold: Created by adding copper to pure gold.
Greenish Cast Gold: Created by adding silver to pure gold
Gold Coated Jewelry
Applying a coating of gold on lesser value metals has always been a way of producing jewelry that looks as valuable as gold but not as expensive to manufacture. This is OK as long as the buyer is aware that the piece of jewelry they are buying is not SOLID gold and as long as they are also aware of the quality of the plating.
Gold Filled Jewelry:
Gold filled jewelry is usually 14k gold heavy-layered over sterling silver. More recent gold-filled jewelry have markings that indicate how much and what type of gold was used for the layer. A marking that says 1/20 12K G.F. means that the jewelry is at least 1/20th 12K gold by weight. Gold filled jewelry generally retain their coating longer than gold plated jewelry.
Gold Plated Jewelry:
The gold layer in gold plated jewelry is usually thinner than the gold in gold-filled jewelry. This means that the goal plating usually wears away more quickly. However, all gold plating is not the same. Some will be thicker and more even than others and thus may provide you with long lasting true gold finish, sometimes comparable to gold-filled jewelry.
Dangers to Watch out for
Gold plated jewelry can provide a great deal of satisfaction and joy to the buyer as long as they know what they are buying. It is unfortunate, but there are still unscrupulous people out there that try to pass off gold plated jewelry as solid gold. The only way to protect yourself from this is to look carefully at the markings on the jewelry; observe the color; feel the weight in relation to the size of the jewelry; and most importantly, know whom you are buying your jewelry from. If you’re not sure take an expert with you when buying.
So Now You’re Ready To Take The Step
When buying gold always aim to buy solid gold if your budget allows. This will last you a lifetime, many lifetimes actually. Anything from 10k to 22k or 24K is good.
If you are allergic to nickel or other metals then you should aim to buy the higher karat gold jewelry such as 18k or 22k gold. It will cost more but you can offset this by buying a smaller piece of jewelry or by buying fewer pieces and only buying ones with higher pure gold content. Your skin is still your most important and valuable piece of jewelry and you should treat it accordingly.
Gold plated and gold-filled jewelry is great for fashion jewelry that will not be subject to heavy usage. And oh yes, try not to wear your gold plated or gold filled jewelry when washing up or using any form of detergents. Although not as valuable or durable, gold plated and gold filled jewelry are cheaper and can last for years if treated kindly.
When wearing Jewelry always remember that a confident and happy wearer can make almost any piece of Jewelry look more beautiful and valuable.