Gold is one of the most traditional and sought after metals in jewelry. When buying gold jewelry, you have to make sure to take into consideration your preference for the color of gold and its gold content. This article takes a closer look at the different options you have when it comes to buying gold jewelry.
GOLD PURITY AND MARKINGS
Karat is the system used to describe the percentage of pure gold that an item contains. The first thing to look for when buying gold jewelry, is the karat quality mark that is stamped on the piece. The karat mark will let you know how much gold content the jewelry has. The most common karat types are 10 karat, 14 karat, 18 karat and 24 karat. Keep in mind, the higher the karat value, the more valuable the gold.
10 karat Gold
10 karat is the most affordable type of gold for jewelry and is the lowest legal gold content in the United States. It contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of one or more additional metals. This makes its pure gold content 41.7% (58.3% alloyed with other metals).
10 karat markings: You will find it stamped either 10k or 10kt on jewelry. European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, so 10 karat will be stamped 417 for its 41.7% purity level.
14 karat Gold
14 karat is the most sought after and ideal type of gold used in jewelry (in the U.S.). It contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals. This makes its pure gold content 58.5% (41.5% alloyed with other metals).
14 karat markings: You will find it stamped either 14k or 14kt on jewelry. European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, so 14 karat will be stamped 585 for its 58.5% purity level.
18 karat Gold
18 karat is also ideal for jewelry making. It contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals. This makes its pure gold content 75% (25% alloyed with other metals).
18 karat markings: You will find it stamped either 18k or 18kt on jewelry. European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, so 18 karat will be stamped 750 for its 75% purity level.
24 karat Gold
24 karat is pure gold. It is not alloyed with any other metals. It is rarely used for jewelry because pure gold is a soft metal and is more likely to scratch and bend.
24 karat markings: You will find it stamped either 24k or 24kt on jewelry. European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, so 24 karat will be stamped 999 for its 99.9% purity level.
A common practice is to apply a coating of gold onto a less expensive metal, such as silver. A popular way of doing this is called gold plating. Silver jewelry that is yellow is always plated and will eventually wear off.
Gold Plated Jewelry : Gold plated jewelry is made by using electricity or chemicals to deposit and bond a very thin layer of gold over another metal. Gold plated jewelry is the best option for wearers who are jewelry obsessed but need to stay in a budget.
The pricing of gold jewelry depends on the purity of the gold or karat weight, the market value of gold, and the level of craftsmanship and design of each piece of jewelry.
The color of gold is determined by two factors:
- the type of metal alloys included
- the percentage of each metal alloy
Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals such as silver, palladium, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength/durability and to create different colors. The most common gold colors are: yellow, white and rose.
Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with silver and copper. It is the purest color, the most hypo-allergenic, and requires the least maintenance of all the gold colors.
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal (usually silver, nickel or palladium). White gold jewelry is additionally coated in a precious metal known as rhodium. It adds further strength and helps hold the white color. White gold is more durable and scratch-resistant than yellow gold. It is also more affordable than both yellow gold and platinum.
Rose gold is a mixture of gold, copper, and silver. Copper gives rose gold the rose/red hue. Due to its copper content, rose gold is more durable than yellow or white gold.
Whether you prefer white, yellow, or rose gold, we will help you find the perfect piece of gold jewelry at our jewelry store in Boca Raton, Florida.
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