A Brief History of Gold
The Egyptians, largest producers of gold in the ancient world, equated gold with the sun, the giver of life, and reserved its use for pharaohs only.
The ancient Etruscans created meticulously hand wrought objects using fine granules and threads of gold, a technique still practiced today.
To this day, Chinese and Indian brides wear jewelry of no less than 24-karat gold on their wedding day to ensure a lifetime of good luck and happiness.
And, a gift of gold jewelry says love and permanence as eloquently today as in all the ages past.
Look for the quality mark. Pure gold, or 24-karat, is generally considered too soft for use in jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength.
Eighteen-karat gold is 18/24ths, or three-quarters pure gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked "18k" or "750," the European designation meaning 75 percent gold.
In the United States, 14-karat gold is used most commonly for jewelry. Fourteen-karat gold is 14/24ths, or slightly more than one-half pure gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked "14k" or "585," the European designation meaning 58.5 percent gold.
Nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States. These pieces are marked "10k" or "417," the European designation meaning 41.7 percent gold.
Karat Marks 10K 14K 18K 24K
European Markings 417 585 750 999
Percent Pure Gold 41.7 58.5 75.0 99.9
Colors of Gold
Gold comes in a variety of colors. Because gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength, it can also be made in a variety of colors. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink gold; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper; green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.
Metals Color of Gold
Gold, Copper, Silver Yellow Gold
Gold, Platinum or Palladium, Zinc, Copper White Gold
Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc Green Gold
Gold, Copper, Silver Rose Gold
Caring for Your Gold Jewelry
Remember that gold is lasting and durable but can get scratched or dented if treated roughly.
Gold's worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure can weaken gold's structure, eventually leading to breakage. So keep your jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products and out of swimming pools and Jacuzzis.
Protect your gold jewelry by storing it safely or keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth when not being worn.
Clean your gold jewelry with a cleaning solution of sudsy lukewarm water, or bring it to your local jeweler and have it steam-cleaned.
Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing.
Keep gold jewelry free from dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup.
Always inspect your gold jewelry for weakness or damage and take it to a professional jeweler for immediate repair. Your jeweler will be able to restore it for you.