Ever since primordial times, gold has been valued as a glowing precious metal preserved for exclusive uses only. For instance, ancient Egyptians are considered some of its biggest admirers all time; they used it to craft the jewelry for their pharaohs. The popularity of gold jewelry is still immense today, which means that people trust in the quality of this metal when choosing it as a fashion addition or jewelry of promise. Maybe you are not a novice in buying this gold jewelry, but you definitely want to learn all the tidbits that lead to an effective, best-value-for-money purchase.
1. LEARN ABOUT THE GOLD PURITY STANDARDS
Gold is valued for the “finesse” or “purity” it promotes. You already know that there are different gold markings, such as 10K, 12K, 14K, 18K and 24K gold, but you probably do not know the amount of purity they stand for. Here is the detailed explanation.
» 10K gold is made of 10 parts gold and 14 parts of some other metal(s), which results in 41.7% pure gold.
» 12K gold is made of 12 parts gold and 12 parts of some other metal(s), which results in 50% pure gold.
» 14K gold is made of 14 parts gold and 10 parts of some other metal(s), which results in 58.3% pure gold.
» 18K gold is made of 18 parts gold and 6 parts of some other metal(s), which results in 75% pure gold.
» 24K is made of 24 parts gold and it is 100% pure gold.
Note that these markings are used on the US jewelry market only. European markings are slightly different:
» 750 is the marking for 18K gold and it stands for 75% purity.
» 585 is the marking for 14K gold and it stands for 58.5% purity.
» 417 is the marking for 10K gold and it stands for 41.7% purity.
Diamond Z Shaped Ring in 10K Gold
The golden rule says: the higher the karat value, the higher the purity; the higher the purity, the higher the price. However, 24K gold is prone to scratching and way too soft to work with, especially in jewelry craftsmanship, that is why the most used karat value for all types of gold jewelry is 14K.
2. LEARN ABOUT GOLD ALLOYS
A well-informed jewelry purchase includes being familiar with the gold alloys and their use. Since gold as a single metal is too soft, it is regularly combined with other metals to make it harder and more durable. Therefore, adding one or more metals to gold creates an alloy, which is basically, a blended mixture of all metals that instead of increasing the price of the jewelry piece, it reduces it. This is another benefit and a huge reason for the popularity of gold jewelry.
The three most used “additional metals” for gold are nicker, copper and palladium. Each of these metals gives a special characteristic to the jewelry they are used for. For instance, palladium and nickel turn yellow gold into white gold, while copper gives gold a rose (pink) color.
3. LEARN ABOUT GOLD COATING
Gold coating is a process when a jewelry piece that is originally not made of gold is given a golden look. In other words, the basic metal is covered with a layer of gold, which can be thicker or thinner. Obviously, the thicker the gold coating, the bigger the possibility to wear away and disclose the metal underneath. Coating is usually classified as:
» Gold Filled – type of gold coating that includes higher presence of gold.
» Gold Plated – type of gold coating that includes lower presence of gold.
Gold-filled jewelry lasts longer and it is a more versatile coating option, because it is thicker and it is less likely to wear than gold-plated jewelry. Plating can be performed in various ways; the typical gold-plating procedure is carried out by dipping the base metal (brass or steel) into an electroplating solution with pure gold. With the use of an electric current, the gold adheres to the metal, thus creating a layer. The newest and coolest alternative to plating is vermeil, which is applied to base metals, such as sterling silver and gold that have to be at least 42% pure. The second condition to be fulfilled for a vermeil coating is to have a thickness of 2.5 micrometers of fine gold.
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