"Rare and Precious Gold and Platinum Buying Guide", It is also a popular choice for setting gemstones.
" As with gems, wherever there are significant price differences there are usually quality differences.
What is gold?
Gold is one of the world's most precious metals.
It is one of our rarest metals, and since pure gold doesn't rust or corrode, it can last forever.
Approximately two and a half to three tons of ore are needed to extract one ounce of gold.
The simple gold wedding band probably accounts for more of the world's gold than any other single type of jewelry.
When two or more metals are mixed together, we call the resulting product an alloy.
What is a Karat? Or is it Carat?
In jewelry, the term carat (or, Karat) has a double meaning: carat is used as a measurement of weight for gemstones, with one carat weighing 1/5 gram; carat is also used in countries around the word to indicate the amount of pure gold in a piece of gold jewelry.
Jewelry should always be marked to indicate how much pure gold it contains.
The word karat (carat) is derived from the word for fruit of the carob tree: in Italian, carato; in Arabic, qirat; in Greek, keration.
Also, the pure gold Byzantine coin cald the solidus weighed 24 karats.
To understand the concept as applied to gold, imagine that, "pure gold" is a pie into 24 equal "slices" or parts.
So, 24 KT would mean that 24 parts (out of a total of 24) are gold.
In the 18 karat gold jewelry, 18 parts are pure gold and six are another metal (or, 18/24 = 3/4 = 75% pure gold); in 12 karat, 12 parts are pure gold, 12 parts another metal (12/24 = 1/2 = 50% pure gold).
I some cultures, 24 karat gold jewelry is required for certain jewelry pieces, but it's generally agreed that 24 karat, or pure gold, is too soft for jewelry use.
In the United States, we prefer 14 or 18 karat gold because it is more durable than higher karat gold.
In some countries such as Italy, the percentage of pure gold is indicated by a number representing how many parts; out of a total of 1,000 parts, are pure gold.
This corresponds to 18 KT.
" A piece marked 96 contained as much gold as 96 zolotniks, which equals pure gold; 72 equals 18 KT (750); 56 equals 14 KT (585).
" The laws governing the actual content of gold required in piece of jewelry, however, vary.
The many colors of gold
Pure gold is always yellow.
Those usually added to gold for jewelry use include copper, zinc, silver, nickel, platinum, and palladium (a metal in the platinum family).
Another practice is to plate 14 KT gold jewelry with 18 KT for an 18 KT look, that is, a stronger yellow color.
Some people are allergic to nickel and should not wear white gold containing nickel.
White gold that contains palladium will be more expensive than yellow gold or white gold containing another alloy.
What causes skin discoloration with some gold jewelry?
Pure gold doesn't tarnish and won't discolor the skin, but alloys in the gold can corrode and produce discoloration to the skin in contact with the gold, especially under moist or damp conditions.
Smog can also be a problem.
The tarnish then rubs off, discoloring skin or clothing.
Another common cause of discoloration is metallic abrasion caused by some makeup.
As the harder compounds rub against the jewelry, they cause tiny particles of metal to flake off, forming a darkish looking dust.
There are several possible solutions to the problem of skin discoloration.
Keep your jewelry clean as well, and wipe it periodically with a soft cloth to remove tarnish.
Pay attention to the design of jewelry you select if skin discoloration seems to be a problem; wide shanks can cause perspiration, and rings with an inner concave surface can cause moisture and contaminants to collect, causing both discoloration and dermatitis.
The higher the gold content, the less likely it is that discoloration will occur because in the higher karat gold there is less of the alloy, such as copper, silver, nickel, that might corrode.
Sometimes simply changing to a similar product by a different manufacturer may solve the problem.
Manufacturers often use different combinations of alloys, or different percentages or ratios of alloys.
Since different metals, and different ratios, are used to produce different colors, discoloration may result when wearing one particular color or gold, but not when wearing other colors.
Determining value requires more than scale!
- Weight is one factor that goes into determining the value of a piece of gold jewelry.
There are 20 pennyweights to one ounce; if you multiply grams by 0.
Weight is important because it is an indication of the actual amount of pure gold in the piece.
When buying gold from a gold manufacturer, for example, factored into the price per gram is the cost of gold PLUS the cost for labor and workmanship.
- Design and construction is important not only because of the piece's finished look, but also because specific details in the overall design and construction affect comfort, wear-ability, and ease in putting the piece on or taking it off.
This adds to the cost of any piece of jewelry.
"" some award winning designers command top dollar, as do top painters, sculptors, and other artists.
In looking at a piece of gold jewelry, you must also consider the type of construction necessary to create a particular design or look.
) and weight alone would be equivalent to placing a value on a painting based on the cost of paint and canvas alone.
Is the piece produced by machine or by hand? The type of construction required to create a particular design may require that it be made entirely, or in part, by hand, while others can be completely made by machine.
- Finish is where we take into account the care and labor costs associated with the actual finishing of the piece.
Consider whether the item was hand polished or machine polished; some pieces are machine made, but finished by hand.
Each step in the process, and each special step or skill required, adds; sometimes dramatically, to the cost.
When examined carefully, however, if often becomes clear where the difference lie, both in quality and cost.
Only after carefully evaluating all these factors can you appreciate gold jewelry and recognize cost differences and real value.
If a piece of gold jewelry is underkarated, it means that the jewelry is marked to indicate a certain gold content, but actually contains less than is indicated.
Unfortunately, most people never learn that they have bought underkarated gold.
Look for a manufacturer's registered trademark.
Buying from a reliable source is the first step.
To avoid being held liable themselves, more and more jewelers are buying only from manufacturers willing to stamp what they make with their own mark, a mark registered with the U.
Patent and Trademark Office.
Fine, expensive gold jewelry should always be tested.
Any jeweler or gemologist appraiser can make such determination, in most cases, quickly and easily with only a gold tester or by using the streak test.
For this reason the streak test is better but the person doing the test must be sure to take a file or carbide scriber and make a very deep scratch in order to penetrate the plating for an accurate test.
Take the time to understand what you are buying, buy only from a reputable source, and be sure to have it tested.
Platinum: cool, classic, and contemporary
Platinum, which has been used in jewelry since the turn of the century, became especially popular during the Edwardian period because its malleable character made it a natural for the intricate and lacy work style of the day.
Long a favorite for classic looks and for the finest diamond settings, platinum is now evolving as the metal of choice for design trends; sleek, bold, contemporary looks for brooches, necklaces, chains, and earrings.
Nothing is purer than platinum
Platinum is even more rare and valuable than gold.
These six silvery white metals are generally found together in nature, with platinum and palladium the most abundant, and osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium the rarest.
" Most platinum jewelry also contains small amounts of the rarer and more expensive elements iridium or ruthenium for added strength.
This is greatly appreciated by those sensitive people who experience reactions to or skin discoloration from jewelry containing base metals.
Platinum is identified by karat marks.
In Europe the numerical marks 950 or PT950 indicate platinum.
This cost more since these are rarer and costlier metals.
Rhodium is also harder and whiter than platinum and, because it is so durable, doesn't wear off quickly, as does gold plating.
Rhodium plating should be considered especially for people who have allergic reactions to 10 KT or 14 KT gold, since it can help eliminate reaction to the alloys.
This selection usually depends on personal preference, skin tone, and the color of other jewelry you may own.
If you decide yellow is the color you want, then you must decide whether to get 14 Karat or 18 Karat.
But the yellow won't be as bright.
After several years the finish may wear off, but it can be re-plated foe a minimal charge.
Even though white gold and platinum may be similar in appearance, they are very different metals.
White gold is very hard and very resistant to scratching but exhibit a brownish or yellowish cast which must be covered by rhodium plating.
One significant disadvantage of white gold is that it is more brittle than platinum or yellow gold.
Platinum is somewhat softer and more malleable than white gold, making it an ideal choice for very intricate settings that require intensive labor.
Over time, platinum also holds up better than goldOne disadvantage of platinum is that many jewelers do not have proper equipment to work with it.
If you like basic classic design, you shouldn't have a problem finding a setting you like.
In final analysis, it is up to the individual to weight the relative advantage and disadvantage of gold or platinum.
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