“a heart of gold”
Everyone has heard of this idiom at least once. It’s a perfect example of the positive qualities associated with gold. And illustrates why gold has been used in jewellery for thousands of years. It's fairly consistent value helps to further cement its place in the history of jewellery. There are quite a lot of different types of gold though, each with their own gold content level. To clarify this we will tell you about the most common types of gold in this article, we will also provide you with the advantages and disadvantages of picking one type of gold over another when customizing your very own piece of bespoke jewellery.
Gold is a beautiful material which radiates beauty. The higher the gold content, the more luxurious and exclusive the piece of gold jewellery is considered.
Gold is the metal of choice for engagement rings, because it stands for love and longevity. It is for the same reason we say: ‘golden jubilee’. And likewise, the beautiful golden rings are expected to last a lifetime.
In Europe, pure gold is seldom used. The reason for this is pure gold’s inherent softness.
That’s why, instead of pure gold, an alloy is used. This alloy is made from multiple metals and has increased durability and strength. In the Netherlands, most jewellery is made from 14-karat gold. When a piece of jewellery is made of 14-karat gold, that means that for every 1000 particles in the alloy, 585 particles are pure gold. The other 415 particles consist of additional metal. In an 18-karat piece for every 1000 particles, 750 particles are pure gold, and 250 are a different metal.
Carats denote the fineness, or purity, of a gold alloy. Carats are not to be confused with carats (ct), while carats are used to denote purity, carats denote the weight of, for example, diamonds.
Below you will find a list with the most common levels of and amounts of gold particles in alloys:
|9 carat gold||(9crt)||375|
|14 carat gold||(14 crt))||585|
|18 carat gold||(18 crt)||750|
|20 carat gold||(20 crt)||833|
|21,6 carat gold||(21,6 crt)||900|
|22 carat gold||(22 crt)||916|
|24 carat gold (pure gold)||(24 crt)||1000|
As we explained before, an alloy consists of gold mixed with an additional metal and is stronger than either original metal.
The type of metal that is added depends on the desired colour of the gold. For example, rose gold’s colour derives from added copper. The larger the amount of added copper, the more red the colour of the alloy will be. In the case of yellow gold alloy, usually silver has been added as well as copper.
There are various available shades of gold, such as, but not limited to: yellow, red, white, and even purple or green gold. At DiamondsByMe we offer yellow gold, rose gold and white gold.
For a while rose gold suffered a decreased popularity, however, in recent years rose gold made its comeback into the world of popular jewellery.
A beautiful diamond will appear even more beautiful when set in white gold, that is why people often pick white gold or yellow gold engagement rings with white gold settings.
Every level of gold purity has its own advantages and disadvantages. Picking pure gold, for example, means that you will be guaranteed that the gold is not contaminated by other metals. If you pick pure gold, pure gold is what you get. However, pure gold is very soft. It’s so soft in fact that wearing a piece of pure gold jewellery is guaranteed to cause blemishes on the material. It may easily be dented, scratched or deformed, three scenarios that most people will want to avoid. Softness, however, is a main characteristic of pure gold and generally the softer the gold, the purer it is.
In the Netherlands most suppliers and retailers work with 14 karat gold. This ensures the ring will be hard enough to withstand everyday use and last a lifetime. 18 karat gold jewellery is considered more luxurious. Meanwhile 9 karat gold jewellery cannot be sold as gold jewellery in the Netherlands. For the same reason, gold will not be marked in the Netherlands if it is less than 14 karat. However, in some countries the production of 9 karat gold is perfectly normal. Below you will find some examples of marking stamps that correspond to different levels of gold purity.
Occasionally impure gold may trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction can be triggered because of the high amount of additional metal added in the alloy. The added metal may be silver, copper, or an entirely different metal. Whatever metal causes the reaction, it results from skin contact with the jewellery.
Besides that, the different levels of gold purity also lead to differences in colour. The higher the gold purity, the warmer the colour of the gold will be. A 24 karat yellow golden ring, for example, will be visibly more yellow than a 14 karat yellow golden ring. In white gold and rose gold these differences are indistinguishable.
White gold jewellery will always be rhodium plated, or rhodinated, at DiamondsByMe.
Rhodium plating is the process of applying a white metallic layer of rhodium to the piece of jewellery through a process called galvanization. We apply this galvanization process because white gold naturally possesses a somewhat yellow sheen. However, note that practices may differ for every individual piece from one jeweller to the next. The white gold at used by DiamondsByMe has a natural white gold shimmer, beautiful in and of itself, but is rhodinated nonetheless to improve its beautifully white sheen.
Note that the rhodium coating is very thin. The coating may wear off through use, resulting in a slightly more yellow glow. Of course it is possible to have the piece rhodinated again. At DiamondsByMe we offer rhodium plating from € 20,-
Read more about proper care for gold jewellery here.
For an overview of all our jewellery in gold click here: