Your Gold Guide – (Almost) Everything You Need to Know
Color, Purity and Care
The enduring value of gold has withstood the tests of time, as economies the world over have based their monetary policies on a gold standard.
Gold’s value is rooted in its relative scarcity, and its malleability and easy smelting for minting and fabrication. Because of its vibrant and distinctive color, and its resistance to corrosion and other chemical reactions gold has been used for coinage, art and most notably, jewelry throughout recorded history.
Today, the world consumption of new gold sees about 50% of it going to jewelry, 40% to investments, and 10% to industry (electrical connectors, infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, tooth restoration and more).
Gold in its natural state is a bright yellowish color. Altered, gold can vary in color from almost white to near pink. Undoubtedly, you will have seen many jewelry pieces that span this scale.
The variation in color we see in gold is determined by the different composite metal alloys present in the gold and to what percentage these individual alloys contribute to the whole.
Gold is most commonly seen in jewelry as yellow, rose or white gold.
Yellow gold’s warmth comes from the addition of silver and copper alloys to natural gold.
Rose gold gets its attractive pink hue from the addition of copper alloy to natural gold.
White gold is created using natural gold plus a white metal, usually nickel, but sometimes manganese or palladium.
Less common are black gold, blue gold, grey gold, green gold and spangold.
No matter what metals are added to natural gold, the purity of the gold is measured in the same way, by “karatage”.
Measured in 24ths, and indicated by a number followed by a ‘K’, karatage tells us how much of the metal in jewelry is pure gold. 24 karat gold is 100% pure gold. If a ring is 18K gold, out of a maximum of 24 karats, we know that 18 parts are pure gold and 6 parts are a different metal. Since 24K gold is too soft for use in fine jewelry, most gold used in jewelry will have other metals added for strength, and the vast majority will be either 18K or 14K gold.
Gold is precious and should be treated as such! It is soft and sensitive to harsh chemicals and abrasions, so it would be sensible to remove your gold jewelry to protect it if you know it might be exposed to anything harsh or scratchy during your day.
Cleaning your gold jewelry regularly to maintain its luster, and storing it properly when not in use is also recommended for preserving the beauty of your gold pieces.
You can take your fine jewelry to a jewelry store for professional cleanings from time to time, or buy specialty jewelry cleaning solution to use at home. If you have plain blue Dawn dish soap on hand, that will also work well, if used with warm water and given a gentle brush with a new soft bristled baby toothbrush. Gently pat dry using a soft towel or allow to air dry.
For storage, use a soft pouch or the original packaging that the jewelry came in. Taking proper care of your jewelry will ensure that it will endure and continue to bring joy for many years to come!
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