Caracteristics Of Gold  

Gold combines four basic characteristics that make it a universally treasured possession:

Gold's natural color can be enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals, yielding a spectrum of exquisite, shades. Metal smiths are able to create Yellow, Rose, Green and White Gold by adjusting the alloys. More copper results in a soft rose color; additional silver creates green gold; and nickel produces white.

Gold can be found in rivers, seas and land in many parts of the earth; however it is not easily extracted. Opening a mine is a time-consuming and costly operation, and several tons of ore are required in order to produce just one ounce of the precious metal.

Jewelers prefer gold to all other metals for its beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted and shaped, to create any design. It can be alloyed with a number of other metals to increase strength and produce a variety of colors.

How To Buy Gold Jewelry
Look for the quality mark. Pure gold, or 24-karat, is considered too soft for use in jewelry, so gold is alloyed with other metals to increase 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.

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.

Marks on Karat Gold Jewelry
Ten-karat 10K = 41.7%
Fourteen-karat 14K = 58.5%
Eighteen-karat 18K =75.0%
Twenty-four karat 24K = 99.9%

Alloys Used With Gold
Yellow Gold, Copper, Silver
White Gold, Nickel, Zinc, Copper
Green Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc
Rose Gold, Copper, Silver
Pink Gold, Copper

Pricing is based on four factors:
karat, weight, design and craftsmanship. The karat and weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but other crucial factors determining price are the piece's construction and design. A price based solely on weight does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece. It's important to remember that each piece of gold jewelry is unique and, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime.