Gold is one of the world's most prized possessions - from Gold jewelry, Gold fashion, Gold investments and more. Learn about the what's and how's of Gold and discover why gold has always been the most treasured and still is a highly valued metal ever to be molded.
Knowing Your Karats:
Karat is the term used to measure the gold content or purity.
Gold has been the metal of choice throughout ages because of its natural beauty, soft glowing color and texture, resistance to erosion or tarnish, and ease of workmanship.
Gold is so soft and malleable that it can be melted and shaped to create virtually any design. But this softness also makes pure gold less than desirable for jewelry usage - which is why it is usually alloyed with other metals such as copper or silver to make it stronger and more durable.
The gold content in a particular alloy is expressed in karats (abbreviated as kt. or K). Generally, the higher the percentage of gold content, the softer and yellower would be the piece.
Here are some common karat specifications and the corresponding percentages of actual gold:
24K represents pure gold (100%) and is rarely used in jewelry.
22K gold contains 22 parts gold and 2 parts of other metals added as alloy, corresponding to 91.7% gold.
21K is 21 parts gold with three parts of other metals added, corresponding to 87.5% gold.
18K is 18 parts pure gold with 6 parts of other metals added, corresponding to 75% gold.
14K is 14 parts pure gold, or roughly 58.5% gold. This is by far the most commonly used in the United States (and perhaps the world) and provides a nice balance between gold content, hardness/durability and affordability.
10K is 10 parts pure gold, or 41.7% gold. This is an increasingly popular karat sold by many U.S. mall jewelry chains, department stores, discount stores and other mass market venues because it offers budget-conscious consumers precious metal jewelry at more affordable prices than the standard 14K. It is often used in rings because they tend to be worn every day and experience many knocks and thus require an exceptionally strong alloy.
9K is 9 parts pure gold, or 37.5% gold. This is a popular karat sold by mass marketers in England and other regions, although it cannot be marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States.
In the West, the karat is expressed in fineness. For example, 24K gold is expressed as 1000 parts out of 1000 pure or fineness 1.000. 22K is expressed as a fineness of .9166, 21K is .875 fineness and similarly 18K is .750 fineness.
To determine the karat weight of a particular piece of jewelry, look for the quality mark. Generally, pieces will either bear the stamp of their karat based on the U.S. or European system. The U.S. system uses karat designations as 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, etc. Europe uses number designations which correspond to the percentage of gold content. For instance, 10K is marked "417" for 41.7% gold; 14K is marked "585" for 58.5% gold; 18K is marked "750" for 75% gold, etc.
Note: The karat doesn't indicate color of the metal but only the purity, therefore, an 18K gold jewelry can be Yellow Gold as well as White Gold.
Colors of Gold:
Learn about the color wheel of gold jewelry options for your treasure chest.
Apart from yellow, there are other shades of gold available and in a spectrum of different hues. The tint the gold takes on depends upon the metals it has been mixed or alloyed with. Here are the main shades of gold:
Yellow gold is gold in its natural shade. It is by far the most common type of gold used in jewelry. Yellow gold used for jewelry is usually alloyed with copper and silver to strengthen it. The warm glow of yellow gold works with virtually any outfit, any skin or body type and any gemstone. How yellow a piece is will depend on its gold content. Generally, 14 karat gold has a brighter yellow than 10 karat gold; 18 karat gold has a deeper yellow than 14 karat gold, and so on.
White gold has become very fashionable in recent years as many consumers have opted for the cool, contemporary white look over the classic yellow look. White gold has the same properties as yellow gold, but is mixed with different alloys to give it its white color. Generally, white gold is created by using a nickel or palladium alloy, zinc and copper. Sometimes, white gold is plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium (a rare member of the platinum family) to enhance its appearance. A white gold setting can enhance the look of white diamonds and put a modern twist on a traditional standard.
Rose gold is fashioned by alloying just copper with yellow gold, thereby creating gold with a pink, blush-like tint, which experts say lends a soft, flattering effect to the skin.
Green gold is created by mixing silver, copper and zinc to yellow gold.