Gold jewelry is a look that has never gone out of style and is as popular as ever. Purer gold jewelry does not cause staining or tarnishing like inferior alloy blends. Usually, if someone has a problem with staining on their skin it is due to their body and not the gold.
Gold is very malleable and as such can be made into just about any shape including tiny hair-like strands and thin sheets.
One of the main things most people look for when purchasing gold jewelry is purity. The jewelry industry has a universal system for identifying this factor.
Chances are the ring on your finger is marked 18K, 14K, or 10K, with the K standing for karat, the system used to describe the percentage of pure gold an item contains.
The higher the karat number, the higher the percentage of gold in your gold jewelry.
• 24K gold is pure gold.
• 18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 75% gold.
• 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 58.3% gold.
• 12K gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 50% gold.
• 10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 41.7% gold. 10K gold is the minimum karat that can be called “gold” in the United States.
European gold jewelry is marked with numbers that indicate their percentage of gold, such as:
• 18K gold is marked 750 to indicate 75% gold
• 14K gold is marked 585 for 58.5%
• 12K gold is marked 417 for 41.7%
The karat marking on your gold jewelry should be accompanied by a hallmark or trademark that identifies its maker. The item’s country of origin might also be included.
You’ll find examples of pure gold jewelry, but pure gold is soft and isn’t practical for daily wear. Other metals are mixed with it to make it more durable (and to lower its cost).
Solid gold is durable, so it is a better choice for jewelry you’ll wear regularly. If you have allergies to nickel or other metals, choose items that have high gold content, such as 18K or 22K gold jewelry.