15 Mar Clearing Up The Facts On Gold
Gold is fascinating, beautiful and all things glam — but, if we’re honest, quite confusing! When shopping for gold, it can be overwhelming but we hope to clear a few things up before you get to the store:
What Is A Karat?
Karat, carat, carrot… what? Let’s clarify things a little. A karat, not to be confused with “carrot” (obviously) or “carat”, a term used to measure diamonds and other gemstones (see more here), is a North American unit of measurement to classify the purity of gold. Twenty-four karat (24k) gold is the purest form of gold you can find. There is no higher grade although some cagey gold dealers may claim there is!
What Are The Different Karat Ratings & What Do They Mean?
As you can expect, 24k gold is the most expensive, as it’s gold in its purest form. But fun fact, although 24k gold is the purest, it has a lesser density than gold of lower karats. Jewellery is not usually made from 24k gold because it’s so soft. Twenty-four karat gold is most often found in bars and coins as well as the manufacturing of some electronic devices. Why? Gold is one of the best conductors of electricity!
Twenty-two karat (22k) gold is the form most commonly used in jewellery making. This consists of 22 parts gold and two parts some other metal (eg. nickel, copper, zinc, silver, etc.). The two parts that aren’t gold give jewellery the durability the piece needs, while still maintaining a high level of gold.
Eighteen karat (18k) gold is a 3:1 ratio of gold to other metals. This ratio of gold is often used to make jewellery such as studded and diamond pieces. However, 18k gold is noticeably duller than 22k and 24k varieties and is much more likely to tarnish.
How Can Gold Be Different Colours?
Pure gold (24k) will always be a natural yellow gold colour as it’s 100% gold. But coloured gold can come from adding other materials to a lesser karat value.
If copper is added, the gold will appear rose/pink in colour. When nickel, silver and/or palladium is added the pure gold turns more of a white colour, which is a popular choice for diamond engagement ring bands. And added zinc and silver will turn the gold into green gold.
Sometimes, colour is added to gold by electroplating the surface. This can produce some beautiful colours but will wear off over time.
Fascinating Gold History
Did you know that gold is the reason America was discovered? That’s right — Columbus was actually searching for the source of China’s gold trail when he stumbled upon America!
Gold has represented wealth and power throughout history in almost all cultures. In Africa, gold was used to celebrate chiefs and leaders and was specifically made for use in ceremonial practices. The Romans used gold to create pots and other household items to symbolize wealth and prosperity. Ancient Egyptians believed gold to be the flesh of the sun god, Ra. And in the Irish culture, gold jewellery was often made to be offered to the Celtic gods.
As you can see, gold has a fascinating history and is extremely useful in more than jewellery making. Need a little more guidance? We’re at your disposal — online or in downtown Duncan.