Gold jewellery is insanely popular and has had an extremely high value for centuries. But why is this the case? Read on to find out!
Gold is actually a very soft metal when it is pure, i.e 24 kt, and is the most malleable and ductile of all the metals.
To reduce the cost and toughness of gold, it is commonly alloyed.
Gold’s purity is measured in karats:
24 kt. = 100% Gold
18 kt. = 75% Gold
14 kt. = 58.3% Gold
12 kt. = 50% Gold
10 kt. = 41.7% Gold
Alloyed gold, naturally, comes in an array of colours:
Yellow Gold is a mixture of 50% silver and 50% copper
White Gold is a mixture of nickel, zinc, copper, tin and manganese
Rose Gold is a mixture of 90% copper and 10% silver
Green Gold will hold a high proportion of silver or cadmium
Blue Gold will contain some iron
Grey Gold will contain 15-20% iron
Assay – This is the test of the purity of an alloy; official assay offices will determine whether a piece qualifies for an appropriate hallmark.
Chenier – This is a term used for a fine, hollowed tube that is commonly used in the production of some jewellery clasps and joints.
Fineness – Fineness refers to the proportion of silver of gold that is in the metal alloy.
Fool’s Gold – As it says, this isn’t actual gold. Pyrite is a shiny, metallic mineral that resembles gold, but it a form of iron.
Hallmark – This is an official mark, or a series of marks that are made in the metal that indicate the fineness of the metals, and essentially is the manufacturer’s mark.
Vermeil – Vermeil is gold-plated silver, or gold-plated bronze.
YGF – An abbreviation for ‘yellow gold filled’.