Perhaps no other substance on earth has captured the hearts and minds of man more than gold.
Popular for its rarity and luster, gold quickly became a method of payment and a key component used in the manufacture of jewelry when it became fashionable during the times of Alexander the Great.
Gold is the most easily worked of all metals and ranges in softness based on its purity. Generally pure gold is too soft for use in jewelry, so it's commonly mixed with alloy metals such as copper and zinc.
Karatage, denoted by a number followed by "k" indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold, 100% gold.
Below is a breakdown of the percentage of pure gold in each of the popular karat weights:
24 Karat: 99.9% Pure ( Too soft for fine jewelry )
22 Karat: 91.7% Pure ( Too soft for fine jewelry )
18 Karat: 75% Pure
14 Karat: 58.3% Pure
12 Karat: 50% Pure
10 Karat: 41.7% Pure
It is important to balance gold purity with the durability. Jewelry items like rings and bracelets often take more abuse and are much likely to become deformed if softer gold is used. As a result, 18 Kt or 14 Kt Gold may be a better selection for those types of items.
We craft our jewelry using both 18k and 14k gold. 18k gold is composed of 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough for everyday wear. 14k gold is composed of 58.3% gold and 41.7% of other metals.
In addition, there are a number of other forms of gold that must be considered when shopping for jewelry. They include:
Uses sterling silver which has been gold plated. The highest quality Gold Vermeil is 24K, but it can be made with varying qualities.
The industry standard definition of vermeil is sterling silver that is plated with 10k gold with a minimum of 2.5 microns in thickness for longwearing durability.
This is a good combination for those with allergy to normal, plated jewelry items. The difference between vermeil, and gold-filled, is in the thickness of the gold and the base metal used. In vermeil, the base is sterling silver.
Employs a process in which gold is bonded to a base metal alloy such as copper or brass. Commonly, the amount of gold used must make up at least 5% of the total weight and all exterior portions are solid gold. Most gold-filled jewelry pieces tend to be 18Kt or 14Kt, but every piece of Gold-Filled jewelry should be labeled with its Karatage.
Choose gold-filled items for your top-of-the-line jewelry. It is hard wearing. With reasonable care it will not peel or flake, and should last as long as solid 14k gold jewelry. It is safe for most people with sensitive skin.
Employs a base metal which is then electroplated with gold. Usually a steel or brass item dipped into a bath of electroplating solution that deposits a thin layer of gold on the jewelry.
The gold layer is less than gold filled, quite thin and will wear off faster than gold-filled.
Combines pure gold with other white metals, such as zinc, nickel, platinum and silver. Durable and resistant to tarnish, White Gold jewelry is brittle and requires platinum or rhodium plating.
Generally produced to be a more cost effective than platinum, White Gold can cause allergic reactions once the plating wears off.
Is an alloy that combines gold with copper to create a golden metal with a reddish hue. While it normally uses a gold to copper ratio of 3:1, rose gold can be found with varying percentages of each.
Based on the addition of copper, the intensity of rose gold will be lighter or darker and will patina over time.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR GOLD JEWELRY
Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products.
We recommend that you remove your jewelry when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster.
To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush.
When not worn, store your gold pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.