Gold is not just a precious material; it’s a treasure that serves more than one purpose. Gold is both beautiful and useful. People are often confused about the different types of gold. Pure gold, 24 karat, is very soft and not suitable for jewelry making. It is combined with alloy metal to give it strength and durability, making it wearable jewelry. Alloying also creates the color of gold. The most common gold jewelry colors are yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.
“Karatage” is the measurement of gold purity when alloyed with other metals. 24 karat gold is pure gold and does not contain a mixture of other metals. It has a rich yellow color and is very soft and malleable. Lower karat gold contains less gold. For example, 18 karat gold contains 75% gold and 25% other alloys, like copper or silver.
Jewelers also use the process of alloying gold to change the color of gold into different shades of yellow, white, or rose gold. To create white gold, they mix pure gold with white metals, such as nickel and silver. Alloying pure gold with silver and copper gives rise to the soft pinkness of rose gold. White gold jewelry is often rhodium plated to create a harder surface with a brighter shine.
The minimum accepted standard of gold in the United States is 10 Karat. Other countries may allow a lower karat percentage for jewelry to be legally called gold. Following are the most common standards of fineness used today in the jewelry industry. Following are the percentage of pure gold and the equivalent karat weight. (i.e. 9k = .375% pure gold & .625% other metals)
- .375 = 9 karat (Canada and England)
- .417 = 10 karat
- 1.583 (.585) = 14 karat (14 Karat should have a hallmark stamp of .583 (14/24 = .5833), but most manufacturers make 14 karat gold jewelry slightly over 14 karat. Thus, the fineness stamp is .585.)
- .750 = 18 karat
- .833 = 20 karat (Asia)
- .999 (1000) = 24 karat pure gold (24 karat should be 1.0 (24/24 = 1.00). But in reality, there is a likelihood that pure gold would contain very slight impurities and can only be refined to a level of .999.
To change the color and karat weight of pure gold, jewelry manufacturers combine different metals (alloys) using different formulas. 9K, 10K, 14K & 18K yellow gold use silver and copper. 22k yellow gold uses silver, copper, and a small amount of zinc. 9K, 10k, 14k, and 18k white gold uses copper, silver, nickel, or zinc. Some companies use palladium & platinum, removing the nickel. 9k, 10k, 14k, and 18k rose gold uses silver and copper.
About the business
When buying jewelry, you should always choose reputable jewelers. The easiest way to shop for high-quality gold is to visit well-known and trustworthy outlets like Portsmouth Jewelers located at 801 Islington Street, Portsmouth NH. 603-501-0043. We are a full-service jewelry store offering quality products and flexible customer services. We offer custom jewelry designing, custom engagement rings & wedding bands, jewelry repairs of all kinds, and a large assortment of designer jewelry in a wide variety of styles. For more information about us, contact us at 603-501-0043, connect with us through email at Portsmouthjewelers@comcast.net or fill out the contact form.