From time immemorial, humanity is using various types of jewelry and ornaments to decorate their body. First, they used stones, shells, and wood, which then slowly transformed into different metals and alloys to make unique designs. Jewelers started adapting every possible material they came across and started creating the most beautiful, elegant, and costly pieces of designer jewelry.
The trends in jewelry making kept on coming and going from time to time. In the same way, the choice of metals and alloys also changed. However, there were three metals which withstood all tests of the times and continued to imprint an impression in the jewelry buyers mind. These are:
These metals are called noble metals and belong to the classic group of elements.
The specialty of noble metals
Noble metals are known for their capabilities to resist oxidation, which will help them protected from corrosion when exposed to moist air. These metals also possess high resistance to acids and other harmful substances. Along with silver, gold, and platinum, this metallurgic group also consists of elements like rhodium, ruthenium, palladium, osmium, and iridium.
However, it is not just the noble properties of these metals, which make them ideal to be used for jewelry making. They also have some noble characteristics as:
- These metals are available worldwide, but not in larger quantities to make them more valuable.
- These metals are previous and have been used even as currency at times.
- Many of the cultures and empires considered these are the signs of pride, sensuous, beautiful and glamorous.
- These metals possess high malleability to be formed into any possible forms, which adds value to their preferences in jewelry making.
As we know, gold is the most popular metal among all these and fashionable and elegant jewelry and now made across the globe using this metal. Gold is not only considered for jewelry making, but this metal is also considered as a previous investment commodity by many. For the past several years, the price of gold remains steady or going appear, which makes it investor’s best option. Serving the purpose of jewelry as well as an investment at the same time, gold remains one of the favorite choices of fashionable and cost-conscious consumers from across the globe.
Let’s further discuss gold, its alloys, and about gold jewelry in details.
Although long admired for its shine and beauty, gold also possess many special physical properties to make it the most admirable metal for jewelry making. Gold will not tarnish and also features great workability. It will be amazing to know that it is possible to stretch a single ounce of gold to about 50 miles as a thought thread. You can also shape it to roll or as a flat sheet, which will cover about 100 sq. Ft. space.
- Alloys of gold
Softness is a major drawback of gold in the midst of all its desirable properties. Used in it purest consistency, gold will wear out easily. So, mixing gold with other stronger metals is a standard practice to make durable and stronger ornaments. The common metals mixed with gold for alloys are silver, nickel, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, cadmium, tin, and titanium, etc.
- Karat value
‘Karat’ is the term which indicated the gold purity while you buy or sell jewelry. You should remember that carat is different from karat, whereas carat refers to the gemstone weight in the jewelry and karat to notify the purity of gold. – – Pure gold is 24 karats.
– 18 karat is 75% of gold.
-14 karat is 58.33% gold
– 12 karat is a 50:50 alloy, which has half the consistency of pure gold and half of other metal.
– 10 karat is 41.66% pure.
- Gold color
Gold is available in various colors as with the change in alloys. Say, for example, copper with gold forms a darker yellow. White gold consists of nickel, zinc, platinum, copper, or manganese, etc. Silver further softens gold and gives it a greener tint. There is also green, blue, and red gold.
- Terminology related to gold
There are strict laws in the United States concerning buying and selling gold. There are many Federal laws to govern the purity and quantity of gold through labeling and certifications. The label the specific karat purity, a solid item should be within the three parts per thousand in karat marking. The items contain solder must stay within the limit of seven parts per thousand.
The pieces which fail to meet these strict criteria will be given lesser karat certification. Any references related to an item made in gold should consist of the karat rating, and the vendors cannot use the terminology as solid gold if the purity is not the full 24 karats.
- Gold – new and old
‘New gold’ doesn’t mean that it is mined newly. This means that the gold is refined to optimum standards. Old gold refers to old melted down jewelry, bards, or coins. Based on the amount of solder in the original piece, old gold may have a lower karat weight than new gold. The impurities due to mixes in old gold may create problems during recasting as bubbling etc. For this reason, jewelers used to send the old gold to refiner than melting it down and recasting by their own.
- Gold solder
Jewelry makers used to connect the pieces of gold together using gold solder. The solder will have a lower melting point than gold. Gold solder is available based on color and not content. To have an even finish, jewelers need to match the solder color with that of the joining pieces.
- Gold overlays
As the price gold is hefty for many to afford, many pieces of jewelry put forth alternate options to the consumers to buy jewelry with the same look and feel of gold at a reduced price. One of the most common methods of doing it is coating the ornaments made of lesser expensive metals with gold. These items are called gold overlay or gold-plated ornaments, which may have the shine of the same gold ornaments; however, may wear off over a long term. The two most popular methods in gold overlaying are gold filled material and rolled gold plate.
Even though we have discussed a few essentials of gold and ornaments made of gold, one needs to make further careful considerations while trying to buy gold jewelry as market price, warranty, after-sales support, reselling price, etc. before initiating a purchase.