History of Gold
Gold was the first metal known to the people back in the ancient times. In fact, it was a part of every human civilization on the Earth. When studying history and the progress of technology, we often read about the development of iron and copper-working, but very few if any historians mention that gold was discovered much earlier. It was valued for its brilliance, natural beauty, and resistance to tarnish. These qualities linked gold to deities and royalty thus making it a symbol of power and beauty. It’s interesting that gold was widely known practically in all parts of the world and it was treated much the same way.
In Georgian and Victorian times, gold was number one choice for jewelry and ornamentation. In was usually set with diamonds, turquoise, rubies, and other precious stones and often decorated with engravings, etchings, and ornamented with black enamel.
The value of gold jewelry is based on several factors, including the karat count, weight in grams and the workmanship reflected in the piece.
Colors of gold
Traditionally, yellow gold jewelry is the most popular color, but its color can be changed through mixing it with other metals:
- White gold is created in the result of mixing pure gold with white metals like palladium or silver
- White gold can might also be plated with rhodium, so it has a harder surface and shines brighter
- Rose gold is created by mixing pure gold with copper (exactly the color of antique Russian jewelry which normally contains 25% copper)
- Blue and even purple gold can be created by adding patinas or oxides on the alloy surface
- Black gold comes from mixing gold with cobalt oxide
Right now, rose and white gold are gaining popularity among the trendsetters. So if you want a more fashionable look you might want to check those types.
Karat is the measurement used to identify how much pure gold an item contains. Karats are calculated by multiplying the mass of pure gold by 24 and then dividing by the total mass of an item. If a gold piece is 24k, it means that it’s made of pure gold. A 22-karat gold item contains 22 parts of gold and 2 parts of base metals.
The minimum karat weight of gold varies by country. In the USA, the legal minimum is 10 karat, but the most popular karat weight number is 14. 9 karat is the lowest karat count allowed in France, Great Britain, Austria, Portugal, and Ireland. 8 karat is the minimum accepted in Denmark and Greece.
What you need to remember is that pure 24 karat gold is very soft, so in the result of regular wear it may get scratched and bent. That’s exactly why gold is usually mixed with other metals in order to make high quality jewelry. If you want a piece of jewelry that can resist wear and tear, it makes sense to look for something between the lowest and the highest karat weight. 14 karat is the most popular type. In our store, we sell mainly 10 and 14 karat gold items made in the USA.
Karats and carats measure two different things!
As mentioned above, karat is a measurement of the purity of gold. As for carats, they measure the mass of diamonds and other gemstones. However, in many other countries, these terms can be used interchangeably, but the two separate meanings still exist.
All items of jewelry must have two stamps indicating the karat count and the mark of the maker. Both stamps must be clearly visible. However, if you are buying gold abroad, the stamp might not necessarily show the karat by number. Instead, it may have a three-digit figure (585 for example) representing the parts of gold per thousand or a percentage. The table below shows the most commonly used karat figures.
- 22 karat = 916, or 91.6%
- 20 karat = 833, or 83.3%
- 18 karat = 750, or 75%
- 14 karat = 585, or 58.5%
- 10 karat = 417, or 41.7%
- 9 karat = 375, or 37.5%
How to figure out your ring size
Click here to find detailed instructions to understand your ring size.
How to take care of your gold jewelry
- Remove your jewelry before bathing, showering, or cleaning
- Don’t wear gold items in the pool
- Store each piece separately in a soft cloth or in the separate compartments of a jewelry box
- Check regularly that gem settings are secure -- if they aren’t ask a professional jeweler to tighten them
How to clean gold jewelry
- Mix mild dish detergent with warm water
- Soak your jewelry for up to 3 hours
- Rub your jewelry one piece at a time to avoid scratching
- Rinse it in warm water
- Dry it with a soft cloth
This procedure needs to be repeated every three or four months.