The purity of gold is determined by karats. The term karat dates back to the ancient times when carob seeds were used to evaluate the weight of precious metals. 24 karat is what is perceived as pure gold but as purity implies, it is quite expensive and less durable in contrast with gold that is alloyed with other forms of metals.
These metals are silver coloured, not gold, and they would definitely change the colour, as more alloys are added to the gold, which lightens the colour of the gold. This is how white gold was created.
When one purchases gold jewellery, one is advised to look at the karat mark. The higher the karat is the higher would be the value. In the U.S., 14 karat gold is the most common degree of fineness and any less than 10 karat would be officially traded as pure gold. There are countries that use lower karat ages as well. These are usually 8 karat gold or 9. Also, the “k” at the back ensures the authenticity of the piece.
According to U.S. law, if any karat mark is seen at the back of the gold piece, it should entail the manufacturer’s trademark as well to make sure the karat marking is precise. In addition to this, each and every piece of gold jewellery should have the impression of the trademark and also the origin of the country. All these stamps ensure that the karat gold jewellery is genuine.
Gold pricing is based on a number of factors, including karat age, gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The karat age and gram weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but don’t rely on these alone to determine price. Remember, a price based solely on gram weight does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece.
Nowadays, women in the U.S. and all across the globe have been trading and pampering themselves by the beauty and the richness of 18 karat gold. Even the Europeans have done the same with regard to their choice of metal. Not only is the colour reflective of its luxuriant feel, but that they prefer to wear this metal as their second skin.
Therefore, the myth that 18-karat gold is not as durable as 14-karat, or 10-karat gold should be busted. Higher karat gold is soft metal, as it can be moved dented or scratched more easily. However, adding alloys to increase the hardness of the gold also increase the frailty, and brittleness of gold; making it more likely to crack, or break, as it gets old. 18-karat gold and 14-karat gold are a good balance of softness, and hardness.
In Europe and Asia, people go for the colour, and richness of higher karat gold. Italian gold chain, even if made with 14-karat gold, it is often washed or plated with 18-karat gold. Many goldsmiths choose to work in 18-karat gold, because the finished product looks richer, as designer, and custom jewellery should look. It is also softer to work with and easier to shape around brittle gemstones like opal, and tanzanite. That is definitely worth thinking, when you are designing jewellery for yourself.
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