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Gold in Jewellery

Gold in Jewellery

When people think of jewellery, they usually think of gold, this precious metal has long been prized for its durability, and bright yellow lustre, unlike many other metals and alloys, gold does not tarnish in air or water and is resistant to most acids. Pure gold is also hypoallergenic, it can be worn for extended periods of time and will not cause any irritation to the skin, these properties make gold ideal for use in jewellery.

When we purchase gold, in its purest form (proof) it is weighed in troy ounces, this is usually only for purchases for investment when buying bullion, this metric is not used when dealing with gold in jewellery as it is usually alloyed with other metals and the overall weight of the finished item is not consistent.

Therefore, we refer to the purity of the gold in the item and this is measured in Karats. In jewellery the purest gold used is 24 Kt and is over 97% pure gold, this “fine gold” is the yellowest colour that can be obtained.
In jewellery manufacture, gold is alloyed with other metals, mainly silver, copper, zinc and platinum to; produce different colours, strengthen the metal or to bring down the cost. Often with certain types of ring, especially those that are set with diamonds, a whiter form of metal is preferable as it can help set off the colour of the stone. It is worth bearing in mind that when gold is alloyed with other metals, it will then tarnish over a period of time caused by the oxidation of the other component metals.
There are many alloys obtainable able and the chart below provides details of the component metals alloyed and how they are known.

Colour of GoldAlloy Composition
Yellow Gold (22K)Gold 91.67%
Silver 5%
Copper 2%
Zinc 1.33%
Red Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Copper 25%
Rose Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Copper 22.25%
Silver 2.75%
Pink Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Copper 20%
Silver 5%
White Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Platinum or Palladium 25%
Gray-White Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Iron 17%
Copper 8%
Soft Green Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Silver 25%
Light Green Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Copper 23%
Cadmium 2%
Green Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Silver 20%
Copper 5%
Deep Green Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Silver 15%
Copper 6%
Cadmium 4%
Blue-White or Blue Gold (18K)Gold 75%
Iron 25%
Purple GoldGold 80%
Aluminium 20%

Whilst many of the above types of gold and not often that encountered , the following are closly associated with rings

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is the natural colour of gold in its natural state and most closely resembles how it looks when mined. This form of the metal is very malleable and ductile and whilst it has a wonderful colour, many consider it to be too soft for long term use in jewellery and thus it is often combined with other metals to increase it’s strength.

Rose Red & Pink Gold

To produce these shades which are very popular in rings, gold is mixed with copper. In simple terms,. the greater the ratio of copper to gold, the darker red the item will appear. Rose gold a fairly popular alloy has almost 25 % copper.

White Gold

White gold is very popular in engagement rings as it helps to show off the fire in the diamond. to produce this colour a white metal such as palladium or platinum has to be added. White gold is often plated to give it a more shiny appearance

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