The Particulars of Gold
Due to its peerless qualities, Gold has an unrivaled legacy. Found naturally in its distinctive bright yellow, this timeless element is impervious to rust, corrosion, and tarnish. Despite its tensile strength, pure gold is by far the most pliable of precious metals.
Known as Au on the periodic table of elements, gold was one of the first metals humans discovered. The world's system of currency is defined by the gold standard so that all cash represents a value in gold. Because pure gold is too soft to be used in everyday jewelry it is often mixed with another stronger metal to form an alloy. Alloys are stronger and more durable than pure gold; the most common metals alloyed with gold are silver, nickel, copper, and zinc.
Purity is indicated by “karatage”, indicated by a “k” preceded by a number that expresses how much pure gold is in the piece of jewelry. Karatage is represented in 24ths, so the expression for 100% pure gold is 24k.
Most fine pieces of jewelry are crafted with both 18k and 14k gold. 8k gold has a pure gold content of 75% combined with some other alloy (25%) to make it durable enough to be worn. 14k gold is composed of 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% other alloyed metals.
100% gold = 24 karats (Too soft for fine jewelry)
91.7% gold = 22 karats (Too soft for fine jewelry)
75.0% gold = 18 karats (Ideal for fine jewelry)
58.3% gold = 14 karats (Ideal for fine jewelry)
41.7% gold = 10 karats (Not acceptable for jewelry)
The precise color of any piece of gold jewelry is decided by two factors.
- The metal that was used as an alloy.
- The percentage of the metal alloy in the piece of jewelry.
Gold’s natural brilliance combined with the color rich alloys gives yellow gold its luster. The red hues of copper and the greenish tones of silver are the alloys most commonly selected for this alloy. The perfect combination of these three metals is what gives distinctive warmth to this precious metal.
It is the silvery white aspect of white gold that makes such appealing jewelry. To achieve this sheer brilliance, pure gold is alloyed with naturally white metals and then finished with rhodium, an element valued for being very hard. Despite its durability, however, rhodium can wear away over time causing jewelry to lose some of its brilliance. The whiteness of your jewelry can be stored through a simple replating process.
White Gold plated with Black Rhodium
The combination of white gold plated with black rhodium creates a rich black aspect that is highly durable. As is the case with white rhodium, over time black rhodium may wear off and need replating. This is a fairly simple process and some jewelers offer this service to keep your gold jewelry sleek and radiant.
Combining the vibrant reds of copper alloys with the bright yellows of pure gold is what gives rose gold its singular beauty. The purity of rose gold is no different from that of yellow or white gold only the difference in percentages and specific alloys sets it apart.
Many of our exquisite pieces are crafted with the rich golden hues of vermeil. Vermeil is the term given in the industry to pure sterling silver plated with 10 k gold. The minimum thickness of vermeil is 2.5 microns, making it suitable to be worn regularly. Most vermeil pieces of jewelry feature 14k to 24k gold plating.
The price of fine gold jewelry fluctuates with the rates of international market value; the intricacy of the craftsmanship, as well as the design of each piece, also affects the final price. The greatest factor in determining the price of jewelry is the purity of the gold used and the karat weight.
Being as gold is a natural element, it can be adversely affected by harsh chemicals. Cleaning products can severely diminish the beauty and luster of your gold jewelry. It is highly recommended that you remove all jewelry before beginning any projects involving chemicals.
To clean your gold jewelry, we recommend a solution of soft soap and warm water, scrub lightly with a soft bristled brush. When you are not wearing your jewelry, keep it safe from the elements in a soft cloth baggie or better yet the original box. Taking necessary precautions will keep your gold looking good for generations.