The chemistry of Gold
Gold also known as Au is a soft yellow metal that is used to make coins, jewelry, kitchenware and even home decor. It’s a metal that represents wealth and power since the beginning of human history.
Solid Metal Phenomena
So it is not a surprise that it’s commonly worn as jewelry. It has a mystical shininess attractiveness and it’s the rarity that interest jewelry enthusiasts and wearers all across the globe. While it is the most commonly know metal there always seem to be a confusion about what is REAL gold! But fear not, I will teach you the difference and how the various types of gold lead in pricing and quality.
Of course, this being a free and safe space and will have no judgment on what kind of gold you prefer to buy. It all goes back to the budget and personal preference. I am a strong believer that as consumers we need to know what we are buying and if we are getting a good deal. So enough with the chatter, let’s get started.
Karat vs. Carat
One thing to start is the difference between Carat and Karat. Now both are measurements in the jewelry but the terms are used interchangeably. Carat is used describe the measurement of the weight of precious stones such as diamonds. A Carat is 200 milligram or 1/5 of a gram.
A Karat is a measurement of the purity of a metal. Of course, this is commonly used in measuring the purity of gold. What makes this confusing is that in the United States “Karat” is written with a K but in other nation, it is also written as “Carat”. In this article, the term “Karat” will be used to describe the purity of gold.
Things to know
The measurement of Karat ranges from 10-24 with 24 being the purest form of gold jewelry. Here is the table to break it down:
The way of knowing how many Karats your piece have is to buy checking the jewelry itself. It is usually embroidered on the back of the piece and a magnifying glass may be needed. It will benefit personally in case you are sensitive and if case you need to pawn it or if you want to sell it.
This chart gives you more or less an idea of the purity of gold. Now some may be wondering, well if my jewelry is only said…14 Karat or 60% gold then what is the rest made of? Glad, you asked! The rest if gold is made of a type of alloy. It depends on the company where you purchase your jewelry.
The remaining metal is usually copper, silver, zinc or even nickel. Some are allergic to certain metals, particularly nickel or copper. This is where there is a break between pricing and quality.
This purity concept applies to the type of gold you want. For example, there is rose gold which is about 5% silver with a mix of 20% copper. This combination is used to create this rich gold with a pink undertone. There is also white gold, I know sounds like an oxymoron which is a 58.5% gold mixed with a white metal such as palladium or manganese.
Not to get under your skin but…
If you someone with sensitive skin then you will need to consider purchasing the purest gold pieces that fit your budget. However, if want or need to purchase say a 10 Karat piece figure out what alloy is combined with the gold before purchasing. Of course, those without skin allergies have more options on the Karat they want to buy in terms of gold jewelry.
Another thing to watch out for the labels of your jewelry. There is a difference between gold jewelry and goldplated jewelry. Goldplated jewelry is jewelry that is plated with gold and usually is made of nickel. Goldplated jewelry is not best used for consistent wear because after a while gold plating wears off.
In closing there various levels of gold purity that set the price, it up to you to check the measurement of your gold. If there is a type of golf you like make sure to know what are the metal combinations are in your jewelry. Remember if there is uncertainty is never hurting to ask.
So tell me what you think? Is there anything I am missing? Is there a topic you want me to go into another topic. Feel free to write in the comment below!
This article is dedicated to a fellow jewelry lover and loving aunt, mother, grandmother, and sister Herminia Suazo Pablo (1952-2018)