natural color is further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts
of other metals. Jewelers create yellow, rose, green and white golds
by using different alloys. More copper results in a soft rose color;
additional silver creates green gold; and palladium produces white.
Gold is very durable and look no further than the nearest museum
where gold jewelry, coins and artifacts from ancient civilizations
attest to the metal's enduring beauty and permanence. Jewelers
throughout the ages have preferred gold to all other metals for its
beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted, or shaped, to
create any design. It can be alloyed with a number of other metals to
increase its strength and produce a variety of colors.
Gold: Gold comes in a variety of colors. Because gold is alloyed with
other metals to increase its strength, it can also be made in a
variety of colors. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying
the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink
gold; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper;
green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.
Pure gold, or 24-karat, is generally considered too soft for use in
jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength.
18K Gold: 18K
Gold is 18/24ths, or three-quarters pure gold. Jewelry of this
fineness is marked "18k" or "750," meaning 75
14K Gold: In
the United States, 14-karat gold is used most commonly for jewelry.
Fourteen-karat gold is 14/24ths, or slightly more than one-half pure
gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked "14k" or
"585," the European designation meaning 58.5 percent gold.
Gold: Nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally marked or sold
as gold jewelry in the United States. These pieces are marked
"10k" or "417," the European designation meaning
41.7 percent gold.
Look for trademarks accompanying the quality mark. When a piece of
jewelry is stamped with a quality mark, law requires that it be
stamped with a hallmark or trademark as well. Sometimes the jewelry
is also marked with its country of origin. These designations are
designed to assure you that you are buying genuine gold jewelry of
the karatage marked.