It's all about Gold
People love gold—and they have for a very long time. While the gold adornments preferred by Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun (aka: King Tut) circa 1323 BC. differ from those worn by today’s style influencers, gold is as prized now as it was then.
As the most malleable of all precious metals, gold is an excellent choice when crafting designs with very intricate details. Plus, it’s resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion. Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it’s alloyed with a mixture of silver, copper and a trace of zinc, to give it strength and durability. This hardens the final product enough to last for many generations.
Karat, denoted by a number followed by “k”, indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Gold karat is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold the highest karat gold. It has a rich and luxurious gold-yellow color, but unlike 14k or 18k gold, it’s far too malleable for everyday wear. If you're unsure what karat your jewelry is, you can find out by looking for a number followed by a lower case “k” stamped somewhere on the piece.
Gold is commonly stamped with what’s known as a hallmark. The hallmark indicates the amount of pure gold content, and sometimes denotes the date of completion and country of origin. And under federal law, gold jewelry must be accompanied by a maker's mark or registered trademark.
Real gold jewelry will be stamped with a number followed by the letter “k” to indicate its fineness. It may also have a maker’s mark or even year engraved on the piece. Symbols such as “GF” and “KP” indicate that your piece is not solid gold but instead gold plated or filled.
lthough it’s true that the color of pure gold is yellow, gold jewelry or objects are almost always affected by the added alloys. The metal they are alloyed with changes their color to a variety of shades depending on:
The type of metal alloys included
The percentage of each metal alloy
The metals used to alloy gold, which include: zinc, copper, nickel, iron, cadmium, aluminum, silver, platinum and palladium
Our fine gold jewelry comes in 3 colors: yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. These varying types of gold are each valued for their unique beauty and lasting durability.
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A mixture of silver, copper, pure gold (and a trace of zinc) gives yellow gold jewelry its rich shine. Although the percentages of each metal used to create the alloy vary, all formulas start with 75% pure gold for 18k gold and 58.3% for 14k gold. The result gives off a classic warm glow that makes an especially good setting for lower diamond color grades with a faint yellow tint.
If you're interested in 14k yellow gold it’s important to note the difference in durability and hardness. 18k is softer and will therefore show scratches more readily. 14k is harder which makes it a little more resistant to scratching.
White gold is yellow gold with an alloy plating that gives it a silvery-white color. In order to give white gold jewelry its signature color, pure gold is alloyed with a mixture of nickel, palladium and silver, plus other whitening alloys. white gold jewelry then undergoes another step in the process known as plating. Plating is when the base gold metal is covered with a layer of another metal, which in the case of white gold, is a plating of rhodium.
While rhodium plating is relatively long wearing, some occasional replating may be required. It’s not uncommon after a few years to see a slight champagne-colored tint in your white gold. This can be a sign that your jewelry needs replating to restore its original whiteness.
The romantic pink hue of rose gold jewelry is created by using a copper alloy. The more copper in the alloy, the rosier the hue. Rose gold jewelry has the same amount of pure gold as yellow or white gold. What’s different is the ratio of other metals that make up the remaining percentage of the alloy mix. Rose gold is a beautiful and unique choice for engagement rings, and its modern-vintage appeal has been a hot trend in the last few years. The preference of one karat over another comes down to whether people want a lighter (18k) or slightly deeper (14k) rose color for their setting or band.
Rose gold is considered lower maintenance than white gold as it doesn’t need to be replated. Rose gold’s romantic hues come from its alloy mixture alone, so there is no plating that could wear away. Instead, rose gold’s pinkish tones will last for years with regular jewelry care.
24 karat = 100% gold
22 karat = 91.7% gold
Both 24k and 22k are considered too soft for fine jewelry, though prized and worn in some cultures.
18 karat = 75.0% gold
Considered to be the luxury end of fine jewelry.
14 karat = 58.3% gold
Ideal for fine jewelry, balancing wearability and value.
10 karat = 41.7% gold
What Karat Is Best?
The gold karat that’s right for you may be a personal preference or a matter of budget. Both 14k and 18k jewelry are sure to impress. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which to choose:
Good balance of durability and price because of the higher percentage of alloys used
Our most popular choice
In yellow gold, may appear a little less yellow than 18k gold
Luxurious choice with a precious appeal
Slightly softer and less durable than 14k because of the higher amount of malleable pure gold in the alloy
In yellow gold, may appear yellower than 14k yellow gold
14k And 18k Gold Similarities
Both are suitable for frequent wear
In white gold and rose gold, fineness differences are not as visually apparent