Gold has been around for centuries as part of religious rituals, currency, and jewellery. This is largely because the iconic tawny hue is impervious to eroding forces such as rust and tarnish. Gold is also unique in having the softest chemical makeup of all precious metals.
What is Gold Purity?
Pure gold is incredibly soft and can be bent or damaged with ease. This is why pure gold is usually alloyed with different metals such as copper, silver, zinc, and nickel to give it the durability for everyday use. We measure the amount of pure gold versus the amount of added alloys using the karat system. Karats (k) tell us how much the metal in a piece of jewellery is pure gold. 24k gold is gold that has had nothing else added. As the karat gets lower, so does the pure gold content.
The Different Hues of Gold
There are many different colours of gold caused by the varying amounts of added alloys. Generally speaking, the type of alloy as well as the added percentage of metal gives us such varieties as white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold.
The most common form of gold is in yellow. Combining the natural colour of gold with other warm metals gives yellow gold a hearty glow and firm durability. Copper is one of the primary metals used in this form of gold, although occasionally green-hued silver may be added.
White gold is often mistaken for silver or platinum because of its similar silvery hue. However, white gold is in fact pure gold mixed with rhodium, an extremely hard metal and other white-coloured metals. White gold may need to be plated after several years of wear and tear, as the white colour is not as durable as other varieties.
Rose gold is a look that is very popular amongst lovers of vintage. Mixed with the reddest of coppers, rose gold has a warm pinky glow and appears to best suited for classic settings.
What Does Gold Cost?
The price of gold jewellery varies on several factors. Firstly, the international gold price changes daily. The price of gold jewellery takes into account these fluctuations. Secondly, the purity of the gold must also be evaluated. Purer gold will necessarily command a higher price. Lastly, there is always variability in value according to the level of craftsmanship required to create the gold piece.
It is important to keep gold away from harsh chemicals and household cleaning products because gold can be eroded by sustained exposure. When dealing with chemicals of any kind, it is usually best to remove all jewellery. When cleaning, only use water and a very gentle soap to remove unwanted dirt.