Gold has a long and complex history. From its first discovery, it has symbolised wealth and guaranteed power. It has caused obsession in men and nations, destroyed some cultures and given power to others. As a monetary standard, it has helped pave the way to world economic growth.
It permeates every aspect of our lives; such as its use in religion, electronics/computers, aerospace and dentistry to name but a few. As a word it has come to symbolise “the best of something” – the Gold card, the Olympic Gold Medal, “the golden age”, “as good as gold” the list goes on. But since its discovery, it has always been used as jewellery where it has signified love and commitment and in times gone by wealth and status.
Gold is a natural metallic element that exhibits a yellow colour en mass but can be black, ruby, or purple in colour when finely divided. It is arguably the most beautiful of all the elements and is the most malleable and ductile metal known. In fact, 1 oz. of gold can be hammered into a sheet that can cover 300 square feet! To increase its strength and wearability it is usually alloyed with nickel, copper, and/or zinc and palladium (white gold).
The purity of gold is measured in karats (not to be confused with carat which is the measurement of weight (or mass) of gemstones and pearls). Pure gold is 24-karat, whereas 18 karat is 75% gold. Most gold jewellery sold outside of the United States is 18 karats, whereas 14 karat jewellery is more popular in the US.
24 Karat = Pure Gold
|22 Karat = 91.7% Gold||18 Karat = 75% Gold||14 Karat = 58.3% Gold||10 Karat = 41.7% Gold||9 Karat = 37.5% Gold|
|Thought too soft for jewellery||Thought too soft for jewellery in Europe and US but popular in Asia and the Middle East||Popular in Europe||Popular in the US||Minimum standard in the US||Minimum standard in the UK|
When worn daily, gold will tend to dull. Brightening it again is as simple as soaking the ring in warm water and detergent-free soap, and scrubbing it gently with a soft bristled brush (toothbrush). When dealing with white gold, if it is to retain its shiny, highly reflective finish, it should be periodically Rhodium plated.