Gold is indeed a rare and unique precious metal that has been the foundation for jewelry for thousands of years. Because pure 24k gold that is naturally found is far too soft to be used for everyday jewelry, it is mixed with other metals, also called alloys to strengthen the jewelry piece. The alloys combined with gold to increase its durability also impact the color that the gold then takes on. Gold usually takes on the features of the dominant alloy color which can result in the item having a white or pink hue to it. Gold is measured according to the Karat (not the diamond Carat) or concentration of pure 24k gold is combined in the mixture of the jewelry.
Minimum Gold Content
In order for a piece of jewelry to be categorized as gold, there are a few requirements depending on the country of origin. In the United States, jewelry must be 10k or greater to be considered a gold product. In Canada and England, the item must be at least 9k gold. In France and Italy the standard is much higher with a gold requirement of 18k necessary.
What causes skin discoloration with some gold jewelry?
When pure gold is worn, it does not leave behind coloration on the skin. The alloys mixed with gold can have an effect on the gold such as the process of oxidization which can cause tarnish or rust. Daily activities that cause perspiration can also trigger a change or manipulation of gold qualities. Areas that are known to be humid and hot may experience this more frequently as salt and moisture in the air expedite this effect. It is recommended that makeup, perfumes, and other lotions or creams used, should be worn before you wear your jewelry and used sparingly as to not cause a chemical reaction in the gold item.
How to solve discoloration in gold?
1. Remove jewelry whenever you clean or wash skin to avoid unwanted buildup.
2. When cleaning jewelry, it is important to use a 100% cotton soft cloth and gently remove dirt.
3. If you experience a reaction to a lower gold concentration, you may want to upgrade to a higher gold concentration, such as from 14k to 18k or even from gold to platinum.
What's the difference between gold coating and solid gold?
Anything created in less than 14k gold is not considered fine jewelry, but rather more along the lines of costume jewelry. When purchasing jewelry it is important to be aware of solid gold jewelry from trusted manufacturers as opposed to hollow jewelry, gold plated, or vermeil jewelry. Vermeil jewelry is classified as one of the following options, antique or vintage jewelry or jewelry from overseas. The term vermeil refers to a coating of gold over non precious metals with lower quality such as bronze, copper, or brass.
Below you will find a diagram to help you understand the difference between solid gold, gold-filled, and gold plated jewelry:
Gold-filled jewelry is classified as metal that has a coating that encompasses 1/20th of the surface in solid gold. When examining the above diagram, gold-filled jewelry contains more solid gold than gold plated jewelry which only contains 1/100,000,000 of an inch of gold that is chemically plated onto the metal. If an item of interest is classified as â€œgold-flashedâ€ÂÂÂÂÂ or â€œgold-washed,â€ÂÂÂÂÂ the plating of solid gold consists of less than 7 millionths of an inch surrounding the metal.
Platinum has become a recently popular choice for jewelry recently because of its many endearing qualities. The color of platinum is white as opposed to natural gold’s yellow coloration. When coupled with diamonds, the beauty of platinum’s color brings out the shine and luster of the beautiful gemstones in a way no other precious metal can. When compared to gold, platinum is heavier, denser and rarer. The features of platinum that are extremely important for jewelry is that platinum does not tarnish and is also hypo-allergenic. When used in jewelry, platinum is also more pure, usually 95% pure platinum is used when creating jewelry as opposed to 75% for 18k gold or 58% in 14k gold. Also unlike gold, platinum’s color does not change. White gold jewelry needs to undergo re-rhodium every so often to restore the white color of gold.
Wedding rings created in platinum are indeed more expensive than gold. If two wedding bands are created with the same style and size, with one in gold and one in platinum, the ring created in platinum will be almost twice the price of an 18k gold wedding band.
Platinum is ideal for wedding rings because it offers a more withstanding wedding ring than any other precious metal. A platinum wedding band is classic, refined and limited due to its high worth value. Because of this, platinum is not used for all jewelry but a select amount that is limited to men and women’s wedding bands, engagement rings, and diamond eternity bands.
Other than the popularized gold and platinum wedding bands, there are various metals that can be used for jewelry. Stainless steel, tungsten, and titanium are lightweight metals (not precious metals) that are sometimes used for jewelry when opting for a cost effective alternative in a ring purchase. Each of these metal types has a benefit to its use in creating wedding bands. Titanium is a metal that is highly regarded for its strength. Stainless steel has increased longevity with its ability to retard rust caused by oxidation. Tungsten offers a combination of these two metal types by being highly resistant to tarnish and also being a simple metal to uphold.
Caring for your ring varies between metal types. Metals such as stainless steel, tungsten, and titanium require little care due to their durable nature. The precious metal platinum is endearing and has many strong qualities. Platinum, however is prone to micro scraping, which can reflect minor scuff marks on the surface. In order to remedy this, it is highly recommended to buff and re-finish your platinum band every few months. Buildup can be removed with a mild soap cleanser and warm water.
Gold care requires different modes of care to remove tarnish. First it is important to remove gold jewelry before doing household activities such as cleaning or gardening. Also when doing dishes, showering, conducting other daily activities, it is advised to remove your jewelry and keep them in a pouch or jeweler’s tissue. Avoid wearing gold jewelry when using cleaning agents that may contain bleach or chlorine which can wear away or ruin the material. A diluted soap concentration mixed with warm water and a 100% cotton cloth should be used to gently rub away dirt and buildup caused from everyday activities and body oil.