Facts About Gold
Symbolism of gold:
Since ancient times gold has symbolized wealth and has been revered for its healing properties and also used to improve a person’s overall well being. People who favour the colour gold are generally considered optimistic. Wearing gold in everyday life is said to:
- Increased personal power
- Promote relaxation and enjoyment of life
- Bring good health
- Bring success
Because of its resistance to heat and acid, gold is a symbol of immutability, eternity and perfection.
Is all that glitters gold?
18ct, 14ct, 12ct Gold, Vermeil, Gold Filled, Gold Plated, what does it all mean?!
Gold Purity – Karats (K):
Pure gold, which is 24ct, is too soft to use for jewellery, so alloys are added to make it more durable so it doesn’t lose its shape, or worse, a precious stone!
Carats (Symbol – ct, also called Karats (K) in some countries) is the measure used to describe the percentage of gold in the metal blend:
- 24ct is 100% pure gold
- 18ct has 75.9% gold
- 14ct has 58.3% gold
- 10ct has 41.7% gold, and
- 9ct has 37.5% gold
What can be legally called ‘gold’ differs from country to country:
- France 18ct or more
- Italy 18ct or more
- US 10ct or more
- England 9ct or more
- Canada 9ct or more
- Germany 8ct or more
Which is better?
Naturally everyone will say the quality of gold they sell is best, so in the end you will need to balance the facts and make up your own mind as to what you feel is best for you. At Mother and Daughter we pride ourselves in creating affordable high quality fine jewellery and therefore only work with 18ct solid gold. We don't feel comfortable calling something gold if it only has 38% (9ct) of gold. Also, although we appreciate that you can find some very nice designs in gold plated jewellery, such as Vermeil, their micro thin layer of gold will wear off with time and as such you are paying a lot for something that is not durable.
We use 18ct gold as it creates a durable design while using a maximum amount of gold, so you get what you pay for. The reason 14ct, 10ct and 9ct gold and gold plated jewellery is cheaper is simply because they have less gold and more cheaper alloys. But for this lower price you sacrifice quality, colour and increase the risks of allergies from the higher levels of alloys. As a example, our jewellery will not react with chlorine in pool water, where 14ct (or less) is at risk of chlorine stress cracking, which is where the chlorine dissolves the copper, nickel and silver alloys in the gold damaging it irreparably. Be very careful of silver jewellery, including vermeil, as silver is a more reactive metal and may change colour if worn in the sea or in a swimming pool or if worn while using bleach.
How are different gold colours made?
Pure gold (24ct) is yellow, but by mixing metals in different quantities we can create a wide range of colours such as rose, white, green, purple and many more. The colour does not affect the percentage of the gold, it just means different metals have been mixed with the gold. So 18ct yellow, rose and even green gold all still have 75% gold.
Also known as pink gold or red gold, and is a mixture of pure yellow gold mixed with copper. Rose gold’s colour is known to intensify to some extent with age due to a slight, but generally considered desirable, tarnishing of the copper alloy.
White gold is created by increasing the silver coloured alloys (such as silver, palladium, nickel, or zinc), however as gold is yellow it will never be truly white, but generally a grey white colour. To give it that bright white finish it is plated with rhodium, a member of the platinum family that does not tarnish and is very durable. This additional strength is why most engagement rings use White Gold for the head and prongs.
A base metal, such as steel or brass, is thinly coated with gold using electroplating. This allows the creating of very cheap jewellery, although the downside being that as the gold layer (plating) is quite thin, the plate, and hence the gold layer, and colour, will wear off with use.
Sterling silver is a mixture of pure silver and some other metal, usually copper. The resulting alloy gives the silver strength. The standard is at least 92.5% silver. Hence the .925 stamp you see on some sterling silver items.
(Pronounced: Vermay) is sterling silver that has been gold-plated. This allows you to create nice designs at a low price. The upside is that a slightly more expensive metal is used rather than a cheap base metal such as copper or brass, however as the gold layer (plating) is quite thin, the plate, and hence the gold layer and colour, will wear off with use.
Gold filled is also called rolled-gold. Contrary to the name, gold filled is not actually filled with gold, they are made of a base metal, such as brass or copper, covered by layers of gold in a mechanical bonding process. Effectively a thick coat of gold, for instance if the gold layer is 12ct or higher, the layer of karat gold would generally be 5% or 1/20 the total weight. The layer of is thicker compared to plated gold jewellery and therefore will last longer, however the gold will still wear off with time.