Jewellery Metals - Gold
The gorgeous lustre and rich gleam of the precious metal known as gold is loved by all - it has been a coveted item since the earliest days of human history. Not only does gold never go out of style, it has the benefit of being malleable so it can be flexibly worked into any shape that suits your personal style of jewellery.
Origin & Supply of Gold
Gold has inspired designers and craftsmen throughout the centuries. Many believed it was a source of immortality as well as power, and in addition to being used as currency, in early times gold was also often used in medicine and even food.
The earliest gold jewellery dates back to around 6,000 years ago. A prime example of this would be the magnificent artefacts of ancient Egypt, especially those discovered in 1922 at Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Gold in its purest form is considered to be too soft for the general purposes of jewellery, so it is often combined with other metals for greater strength and durability.
Thus, any item made from this precious metal is measured in carats (k) to define the degree of pure gold that it contains - 24 carats is the highest grading, 22 carats contain 91% gold, 18 carats have 75% and anything less than 10% gold is not recommended for good quality gold jewellery.
Some of the materials that are mixed in with gold to produce an alloy that makes it less soft as well as to change its colour include palladium or nickel (producing white gold), copper (the most commonly used, producing rose or pink tinted gold) and silver (which gives gold a greenish cast).
Gold Buying Tips
If solid gold (24 carats) stretches your budget too far, opt for gold filled or plated gold, which will be suitable for occasional wear. Daily wear and tear however will tend to wear the gold layer off, which will not only diminish the item’s lustre but can cause allergic reactions.
If you tend towards allergies to nickel and other metals or your skin reacts with alloys to create a tarnish stain, it’s best to save your money until you can buy jewellery that has a high gold content, such as 22 or 18 carats.
Unless your gold jewellery contains gemstones that are glued into the design, you can dip them in alcohol as this is an effective way to get rid of stubborn grease. Alternatively, the easiest method to clean gold is to boil it in hot water.
Never use bleach or any kind of chlorine to clean your gold as these types of chemicals can leave it permanently discoloured.
Be careful when storing your gold items not to place them near anything that will cause scratches.