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Gold Information

Gold, one of the world's most precious metals, dates back to the dawn of mankind. All the civilizations of the world have built treasuries of the lustrous metal, placing great value golden objects and using them for their most important rituals. The most alluring use of the sun-colored metal has always been in jewelry.

The Egyptians, the largest producers of gold in the ancient world, equated gold with the sun, the giver of life, and reserved its use for pharaohs only.

The Etruscans created meticulously hand-wrought objects using fine granules and threads of gold, a technique still practiced today.

To this day, Chinese and Indian brides wear jewelry crafted in 24-karat gold on their wedding day to ensure a lifetime of good luck and happiness.

And, a gift of gold jewelry signifies love and permanence as eloquently today as in the past.

Of all the world's precious metals, only gold combines the four basic characteristics that make it treasured possession the world over.

Beauty - The color of gold can be further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals, yielding a spectrum of exquisite, subtle shades. Metalsmiths are able to create yellow, rose, green and white golds by adjusting the alloys. More copper results in a soft rose color; additional silver creates green gold; and palladium produces white gold.

Purity - It is estimated that only slightly more than 100,000 tons have been taken from the earth throughout the history if the world. While gold can be found in rivers, seas and land, it is not easily extracted from below the surface of the earth. Opening a mine is time-consuming and costly. Not to mention that several tons of ore are required in order to produce just one ounce of the precious metal.

Durability - Gold artifacts have been found all over the world, attesting to the metal's enduring beauty and permanence.

Workability - Gold has been preferred by jewelers throughout time for its beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted, or shaped into any design. Gold can be alloyed with a number of other metals to increase its strength and produce a variety of colors and can always be re-melted and redesigned.

How to Buy Karat Gold Jewelry
Look for the quality mark. Pure gold, the same thing as 24-karat gold, is generally considered too soft for use in jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. 18-karat gold is 18/24ths pure gold; in other words, 18-karat gold is three-quarters pure gold. Gold of this fineness is commonly marked "18k," or "750," the European designation.

In the United States, 14-karat gold is most commonly used for jewelry. 14-karat gold is 14/24ths pure gold, or in other words slightly more than half pure gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked "14k" of "585," the European designation equating to 58.5 percent pure gold.

Nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States. Jewelry crafted from 10-karat is marked "10K"or "417," the European designation meaning 41.7 percent gold.

Karat Marks

10K

14K

18K

24K

European Marks

417

585

750

999

% Pure Gold

41.7

58.5

75.0

99.9

Look for trademarks accompanying the quality mark. When a piece of jewelry is stamped with a quality mark, law requires that it be stamped with a hallmark or trademark as well. Sometimes gold is also marked with its country of origin. These designations are to assure you that you are buying genuine gold jewelry of the karatage marked.

Gold comes in a variety of colors. Because gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength, it can also be made in a variety of colors. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink gold; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper; green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.

Metals

Color of Gold

Gold, Copper, Silver

Yellow Gold

Gold, Platinum or Palladium, Zinc, Copper

White Gold

Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc

Green Gold

Gold, Copper, Silver

Rose Gold

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