Aristophanes once said “There is no honest man – not one – that can resist the attraction of gold!” Wise man! There is, undoubtedly, a certain sparkle, a special kind of magic, about the twinkle of gold – be it on your fingers, your toes, gracing your collar or wrist bone – that is unmatched by any other metal. And here at Keezing Kreations we use only the finest quality gold in creating our fine jewelry to take that magic to the next level.
A Short History of Gold
Gold has been a treasured metal for longer than anyone truly knows. We do know that it was one of the metals of antiquity (the others being gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron and mercury), used by prehistoric humans. What’s more, while we don’t know the exact origins of its earliest discovery and use, we do have evidence of the Egyptians using gold as far back as 3000 BC. But it was during the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun (aka: King Tut) circa 1323 BC. that the power and preciousness of gold, particularly as adornment – be it on the human form, in their homes, or on their tombs – truly came to the fore.
There is also plenty of evidence suggesting that early civilizations equated gold with gods and rulers, with gold being sought in their name and dedicated to their glorification. Back in the world of the living, humans too hankered after gold as a most prized possession, equating it with power, beauty, and the cultural elite. Indeed, gold, beauty, and power have always gone together, with gold in ancient times being made into shrines and idols, plates, cups, vases and vessels of all kinds, and of course, jewelry. Those who didn’t have it wanted some; those who had it, wanted more.
Today, while the emphasis is no longer so much on power, status and wealth, the beauty of gold and its power to stun has not abated in the slightest. Gold is as prized now as it was then, and continues to be one of the most sought-after metals, particularly in the design and creation of precious jewelry.
Gold as Jewelry
Not only is it twinkly and gorgeous, pure gold is also incredibly durable. As the most non-reactive of all metals, it won’t tarnish, rust, corrode or perish. Add in the fact that it is a very workable metal, as well as the fact that gold is relatively rare and thus incredibly precious (it’s estimated that only 171,300 tons of gold have ever been mined globally: about enough to fit into a single Olympic sized swimming pool), and you’ve got a number of excellent reasons why it is perfect for use in jewelry. Plus, did we mention it’s beautiful?
Further adding to its perfection, gold is incredibly versatile in terms of color and aesthetic: depending on how it is alloyed with other metals, it can display a broad spectrum of exquisite colors – yellow gold, white gold, rose gold – meaning there is a gold perfectly suited for everyone.
Choosing Your Gold – Karat and Color
As mentioned, gold is the most malleable of all precious metals, making it an excellent choice when crafting jewelry, particularly designs which feature intricate details. That being said, this malleability means that gold is also actually quite soft; in fact, pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, which is why it’s alloyed with a mixture of silver, copper and a trace of zinc, to give it strength and durability. So how much gold is there in the gold of your jewelry? That depends on karatage.
Karatage (displayed as the letter k stamped onto all gold jewelry – called a hallmark), indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is actually gold:
- 24 karat (stamped on your jewelry as 24k) = 100% gold
- 22 karat (stamped on your jewelry as 22k) = 91.7% gold ~ Both 24k and 22k are generally too soft and malleable for fine jewelry and everyday wear, so you won’t often see these markings;
- 18 karat (stamped on your jewelry as 18k) = 75.0% gold ~ The luxury end of fine jewelry;
- 14 karat (stamped on your jewelry as 14k) = 58.3% gold ~ Ideal for fine jewelry, balancing wearability and value.
When it comes to choosing color, the purest gold, at 24 karats, is a luminous, rich, warm color – true gold – unmatched by any other metals. Of course, as mentioned, 24k gold is seldom used in fine jewelry though, but never fear: the other options are just as stunning and each is really just a matter of personal preference and style.
A mixture of silver, copper, pure gold (and a trace of zinc) gives yellow gold jewelry its rich, classic warm gold sheen. Although the percentages of each metal used to create the alloy vary, all formulas start with 75% pure gold for 18k gold and 58.3% for 14k gold. While 14k yellow gold might seem slightly less rich in color, remember that 18k is softer and thus liable to show scratches more readily. 14k is slightly harder, and hardier, thus more resistant to scratching and wear and tear.
White gold jewelry gets its modern silvery-white color by alloying pure gold (either 18k or 14k) with a mixture of nickel, or palladium and silver, plus other whitening alloys. The jewelry item is then plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium for that bright white color associated with white gold. High quality white gold can even look like platinum; however, it is important to note that after a few years it is fairly common to see a slight champagne-colored tint in your white-gold jewelry. This is easily remedied, and your white gold jewelry can be restored to its original platinum-color by getting it replated.
Rose gold continues to be a popular choice in fine jewelry, probably courtesy of its romantic pink hue and modern-vintage aesthetic, which matches almost every skin tone and personal style. (Not to mention the sentiment of romance so often associated with the purchase of jewelry.) This color is created by using a copper alloy; the more copper in the alloy, the rosier the hue. It’s worth noting that rose gold has the same amount of pure gold as yellow or white gold (either 18k or 14k) – the only difference is the ratio of other metals in the alloy mix.
Caring for Your Gold Jewelry
While gold is certainly durable and non-reactive, that doesn’t mean you can treat it mean if you want to keep its sheen! Prolonged or repeated exposure to chlorine and other chemicals, such as those found in cleaning products for example, can harm gold jewelry, while regular wear and tear, scratching and banging, can also dull its shine over time. We do recommend that you remove your gold jewelry (and put it somewhere safe!) when gardening, cleaning or doing any other sort of physical work with your hands, to reduce abrasions and prolong the luster. It’s also worth getting your precious jewelry professionally cleaned and refurbished from time to time to ensure a long and shiny life. Finally, when not wearing your gold jewelry, store in a soft cloth bag or velvet-lined box to help prevent scratches and other wear that can cause your gold to lose its sparkle.
Are you looking to up your gold jewelry game, or gearing up to propose with a stunning gold ring? Contact Keezing Kreations today to talk about our gold jewelry design services. We are passionate about creating gold jewelry that is exquisite, the very best quality, and designed with both sentiment and longevity in mind.