Gold Purity

The purity of gold is measured in karats. Pure gold measures 24 karats but is too soft in this state to be used effectively in jewelry. So it is alloyed with other metals--silver, copper, nickel, and zinc--to increase its strength and durability. Common measurements once the alloy is added are 18 karat (75% gold), 14 karat (58%), and 10 karat (47.7%). In the United States, the legal karat limit for the metal to still be considered gold is 10 karats. A higher karat measurement in gold content indicates a greater value of the jewelry piece. Gold jewelry should always be stamped with the karat mark, either 18k, 750 (European marking for 18k), 14k, 585 (European marking for 14k), or 10k. In addition, to assure its quality, the piece should be stamped with the manufacturer's trademark or country of origin.

Gold Color

The color of gold may vary based off of the type of metal alloy included and the percentage of the metal alloy used. Most commonly, gold is available in yellow, white and rose coloring.

Yellow gold is the most common color and is usually alloyed with silver and copper. Yellow and white gold are similar in strength and malleability, making them perfect for jewelry that is worn daily.

White gold is alloyed with nickel, copper, and zinc--and while it looks similar to platinum, it has vastly different properties.

Rose-colored gold is alloyed with copper and is often used to accent white or yellow gold. The saturation of color varies from piece to piece and according to gold content.

Caring For Your Gold Jewelry

To keep gold shining and scratch-free, avoid contact with chlorine and other harsh chemicals. Do not wear jewelry during rough work and be sure to store it in a fabric-lined jewelry box or pouch. To clean gold jewelry, use warm water, a mild soap, and a soft bristled brush, if needed.

Learn More About Precious Metal Jewelry: Visit our Education Guide

The Amazon Curated Collection



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Find a special gift for a loved one or a beautiful piece that complements your personal style with jewelry from the Amazon Curated Collection.

Expires Aug 25, 2013

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