Know your alloys and colors
Pure 24-karat gold appears yellow but it isn’t always practical to purchase pure gold because it is soft, malleable and expensive.
jewelers have come up with a method to mix gold with other stronger metals. Since these items are usually not more than 18-karat gold, the other metals influence the yellow color and yield an alloy with a different color.
When buying gold, you are not only limited to the golden yellow color. Here are some of the colors of gold you need to know:
- Yellow gold – This is the color that comes to mind when we say gold. In fact, the word ‘gold’ is in our vernacular as a color, likened to honey or sunshine. However, not all gold yellow jewelry is actually gold. As you know, plating is common to golden jewelry and sometimes it is intentionally done to keep the yellow gold appearance
- White gold - This looks like a brighter version of silver. It is as popular as yellow-gold for engagement rings. White gold is sometimes paired with yellow-gold in items more commonly known as two-toned. White gold is made of white metals (i.e. palladium, nickel or manganese) that are stronger than gold.
- Rose gold - A gold alloy with a pinkish hue, rose gold has become an engagement ring sensation! To achieve the pink blush, copper is added to gold, often 14 karats or 58.5% purity. The highest karat version of this alloy is known as Crown Gold, made with 75% gold and 25% copper.
Pricing and quality markings
Gold prices are determined mainly by purity.
- Unless you have a readily available lab or have powers of microscopic vision, look for the hallmark.
These are unique markings that are mostly found on inconspicuous parts of the item (i.e. inner circle of the ring, backs of earrings).
Some markings will indicate the karatage, which indicates the gold content, while others would put the percentage of purity. You may refer to the table below for the most common purity markings used around the world:
Percent Pure Gold
Cleaning your gold
Cleaning your jewelry doesn’t have to be done very often. Sometimes, a simple dusting can be enough.
So, when should you do it and how to do it? Here are some tips:
- You can occasionally buff your jewelry with a thin piece of soft cloth. Rub it gently to remove oil and dust. This way you avoid buildup of grime on the surface.
- Cleaning your jewelry with liquid detergent mixed in warm water:
- Fill a bowl with soapy mixture and soak the gold jewelry for ten to fifteen minutes.
- If your jewelry has a stone or has intricate patterns, use a Q-tip to clean the gold instead of soaking. This way you target the unwanted grime while protecting the stone. For pieces with deep crevices, you may use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of the dirt
- Afterwards, rinse it in warm water and dry with soft cloth.
- Deep cleaning is recommended once every three months. This type of cleaning should be done only a few times a year to avoid the chemicals from wearing out the gold. Follow the steps below and your gold should turn out good as new:
- Soak your jewelry in a cleaning solution for three hours. For pieces adorned with precious stones, check if the cleaning solution is suitable for the stone as well.
- Clean each piece with a Q-tip or a soft brush the way you would when cleaning with ordinary soap.
- Wash with warm water and pat dry.
Always remember, gold is more than just an ornament or a fashion statement. Gold is as good as money, with prices always on the rise, and for the foreseeable future, this will not change.