Gold Karats, Color, and Care Guide
Throughout history gold has been considered the most sought after precious metal. Gold's versatility, durability and striking appearance have made it one of the best metals for jewelry creation. Gold is soft in its pure form and so it is usually alloywed with other metals such as silver, copper, nickel or zinc to increase its hardness so as to make it more wearable as jewelry. The alloyed metals that gold is mixed with can enhance and change gold's sheen and color. The amount of gold in the alloy mix compared to the other metals determines its purity or Karat, and also changes its tone. Based on the alloy-mix, gold can come in colors ranging from white to black, rose to purple, green to grey and of course yellow.
Gold purity is expressed in karats (k or kt), that should be confused with gem carats that represent weight and not purity. The most pure form of gold is 24k which is approximately 99% pure. Outside of the Unites States gold purity is often referred to in terms of fineness. Fineness in gold is expressed in parts of gold out of a 1000, so that a 750 stamping on a ring would stand for 75% gold or 18k in the United States karat reference.
Gold make take on many different colors depending on its alloy mix. The three most popular golds are white, yellow and rose.
Yellow gold is the most known and familiar gold color on the jewerly market, and is typically alloyed with copper or silver. Lower purities of gold bring out a silvery tinge and higher ones create a richer yellower look to the jewelry. The two most common grades of yellow gold are 18kt (75% gold) and 14kt (58.3% gold). While 18 karat gold is considered to have a warmer and richer yellow tonet, 14 karat gold is valued for its relative affordability and increased durability.
White gold is the most sought-after color of gold today. White gold gets its color from being alloywed with nickel, silver, palladium or zinc. White gold does not tarnish like silver and it is than silver as well. By default, white gold jewelry is electro-plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a lustrous, durable and precious metal that is from the platinum family of metals. Rhodium provides for significantly harder, it has become It gets its sleek silvery-white tinge from being alloyed with silver, nickel, zinc, or palladium. White gold jewelry is a great alternative to pure silver since it does not oxidize and therefore is tarnish resistant. Almost all fine white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium, a lustrous, highly durable, silvery-white metal from the platinum family. Rhodium plating enhances the luster and strength of the gold, and protects the jewelry's surfaces from scratches, scrapes and dents. Over time, rhodium plating may wear, exposing the alloy beneath. Re-plating white gold jewelry with a thin layer of rhodium is a relatively easy and inexpensive procedure.
To keep your gold wedding rings or engagement rings looking like new, it is important to remove gold jewelry items when participating in any activity that could scratch, chip or damage your jewelry. Always store your gold jewelry in their original containers, soft pouches or cloth-lined jewelry boxes. To clean your jewelry, simply soak it in a mild solution of warm soapy water. If necessary, scrub with a soft-bristled brush such as a toothbrush. Then dry your gold jewelry with a clean, soft, dry cloth. Never use paper towel or rough rags.