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  • Writer's pictureKatrine Høilund Holmgaard

Here's everything you need to know about gold

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Here's everything you need to know about gold

What is gold in jewelry?

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79. It is a soft, dense, yellow metal that has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. In its purest form, gold is too soft to be used in jewelry, so it is often alloyed with other metals to increase its durability and strength.

The purity of gold used in jewelry is measured in karats. Pure gold is 24 karats, but it is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Most gold jewelry is made from 14k or 18k gold, which is mixed with other metals such as copper, silver, nickel, or zinc to create an alloy that is more durable and better suited for jewelry-making.

The percentage of pure gold in a piece of jewelry is indicated by its karat weight. For example, 14k gold contains 58.3% pure gold, while 18k gold contains 75% pure gold. The higher the karat weight, the more pure gold the piece contains, and the more expensive it is likely to be.

Is gold good to make jewelry from?

Yes, gold is an excellent metal for making jewelry. It is prized for its beauty, rarity, and durability, and has been used for this purpose for thousands of years.

Gold is a very malleable and ductile metal, meaning it can be easily shaped and formed into intricate designs without breaking or cracking. It is also resistant to tarnishing, rusting, and corrosion, which makes it ideal for everyday wear.

Furthermore, gold has a beautiful, warm, and lustrous appearance that does not fade over time, making it a timeless choice for jewelry. Additionally, because gold is a precious metal, it holds its value well over time and can even appreciate, making it a good investment for those who purchase high-quality gold jewelry.

How do I maintain gold jewelry?

Proper maintenance of gold jewelry can help to keep it looking its best and prevent damage or wear over time. Here are some tips on how to maintain gold jewelry:

  1. Store it carefully: When not wearing your gold jewelry, store it in a cool, dry place, such as a jewelry box or pouch. Avoid storing it in a humid or damp environment, as moisture can cause damage and tarnishing.

  2. Clean it regularly: Gold jewelry can collect dirt and oils from your skin, so it's important to clean it regularly. You can clean gold jewelry using a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or jewelry cleaner. Gently brush the jewelry with the solution, rinse it thoroughly with water, and then pat it dry with a soft cloth.

  3. Avoid harsh chemicals: Gold jewelry is generally safe to wear, but you should avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, bleach, and household cleaning products, which can damage or discolor the metal.

  4. Remove it during certain activities: It's a good idea to remove your gold jewelry before engaging in certain activities, such as swimming, showering, or exercising. This can help prevent damage from exposure to moisture, heat, or sweat.

  5. Have it professionally cleaned: If your gold jewelry becomes heavily tarnished or dirty, you may want to take it to a professional jeweler for cleaning and polishing. They can also inspect the jewelry for any signs of wear or damage and make any necessary repairs.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your gold jewelry looking beautiful and shiny for years to come.

How do I clean gold jewelry?

Cleaning gold jewelry is a relatively simple process. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution: You can create a cleaning solution by mixing a small amount of mild dish soap or jewelry cleaner with warm water in a bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate the jewelry you want to clean.

  2. Soak the jewelry: Place your gold jewelry in the cleaning solution and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. This will help loosen any dirt or oils that may be stuck to the jewelry.

  3. Scrub gently: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a soft cloth to gently scrub the jewelry, paying extra attention to any crevices or hard-to-reach areas. Be sure to use a gentle touch to avoid scratching the metal.

  4. Rinse and dry: Rinse the jewelry thoroughly under warm running water, making sure to remove all the soap residue. Pat the jewelry dry with a soft cloth or allow it to air dry.

Additional Tips:

  • For stubborn dirt or grime, you may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times or soak the jewelry for a longer period.

  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or brushes, as these can scratch or damage the gold.

  • If your gold jewelry has gemstones or other delicate materials, be sure to check with a professional jeweler to ensure that the cleaning method is safe for those materials.

What's the difference between karats?

Karat is a unit of measurement used to express the purity of gold. The higher the karat, the greater the proportion of pure gold in the alloy.

Pure gold is 24 karats (24k), meaning it is 100% gold. However, pure gold is too soft for use in jewelry, so it is often alloyed with other metals to increase its strength and durability.

The most common karat weights used for gold jewelry are 14k, 18k, and 10k.

14k gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of other metals, or 58.3% pure gold. It is a popular choice for jewelry because it is relatively durable and less expensive than higher-karat gold.

18k gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals, or 75% pure gold. It is considered to be a high-quality gold alloy and is more expensive than 14k gold.

10k gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals, or 41.7% pure gold. It is the least expensive and least pure of the common karat weights.

In general, higher-karat gold is more valuable and has a richer, more vibrant color. However, it is also more malleable and prone to scratching and other damage than lower-karat gold. The choice of karat weight ultimately depends on personal preference, budget, and the intended use of the jewelry.

What is white gold?

White gold is an alloy of gold and other metals, such as silver, nickel, palladium, or platinum, that has a silver or white color. The white color is achieved by adding one or more of these metals to the gold alloy, which can range in purity from 10k to 21k.

In its natural state, gold is yellow. However, when mixed with other metals, it can take on different hues. For white gold, the addition of nickel or palladium is common, but due to concerns over nickel allergies, some manufacturers now use other alloys, such as silver or platinum.

White gold jewelry can be cared for in the same way as yellow gold jewelry, but it may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance to retain its luster and prevent any discoloration or tarnishing.

Is white gold more expensive than normal gold?

White gold is typically more expensive than traditional yellow gold because it requires additional alloying metals such as palladium or platinum to give it its characteristic white color. These metals are often more expensive than copper or silver, which are commonly used to alloy yellow gold.

The price of white gold can also vary depending on the karat weight and purity of the gold used. For example, 14k white gold will be less expensive than 18k white gold because it contains a lower percentage of pure gold.

Additionally, some manufacturers use rhodium plating to give white gold jewelry a brighter, more polished appearance. This can add to the cost of the jewelry, as the rhodium plating will need to be reapplied periodically to maintain the desired look.

Overall, the cost of the white gold will depend on several factors, including the current market price of gold and other metals used in the alloy, the karat weight and purity of the gold, and any additional finishing or plating processes used in the manufacturing of the jewelry.


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