Gold Jewelry Tips and Information

Question: What is the meaning of the karat mark on gold jewelry?

Answer: The fineness of jewelry gold is stated as the number of parts in twenty-four that are gold. Thus, 24 karat gold is pure gold; 12 K would be an alloy that is half gold and half copper or other metals.

The word gold, used alone, means all gold or 24 karat (24K) gold. Because gold is soft, it is usually mixed with other metals to increase its hardness and durability.

The karat quality marking tells you what proportion of gold is mixed with other metals. The most common marks for gold jewelry are 18K or 750 (signifying 75% gold), 14K or 585 (58% gold), and 10K (42% gold). Ten karat gold is the lowest level allowed under U.S. law.

NYCityJewelry.comJewelry made of higher-karat gold is more yellow in color and slightly softer than gold jewelry made of lower-karat gold, which may include copper, silver, zinc, or other metals. Consumers also need to be concerned with the alloys if they are allergic to certain metals or have a high acid content in their bodies. Acid can turn the jewelry you wear black, appearing to be of poor quality when it actually is not.

A wide choice of styles and designs is available in gold jewelry. Because of its creative design and manufacture, designer jewelry may cost more than generic gold jewelry, but having the designer's name stamped inside increases the value of the piece.

White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum, and is usually an alloy containing 25% nickel and zinc. If stamped 18 karat, it would be 75% pure gold.

Of the 193,000 metric tons of gold discovered to date, 62% is found in just four countries on earth. All the gold discovered thus far would fit in a cube 22 meters on a side.

Of the 1,740,000 metric tons of silver discovered to date, 55% is found in just four countries on earth. All the silver discovered thus far would fit in a cube 55 meters on a side.