Pure gold is too soft for everyday use, so for durability, the gold used for jewellery is mixed or alloyed with other metals. The amount of pure gold in a particular piece of jewellery is measured in carats (ct) – 24 carats being pure (fine) gold.
CARATS HALLMARK EXPLANATION
- 9ct Gold is hallmarked with 375 which means 37.5% of pure gold.
- 14ct Gold is hallmarked with 588 which means 58.8% of pure gold, popular with manufacturers in America and Europe but not the UK.
- 18ct is hallmarked with 750 which means 75% of pure gold, the number 1 choice for luxury, quality and durability.
- 22ct is hallmarked with 916 which means 91.6% of pure gold.
Many people are unaware that gold need not be the familiar yellow golden colour. By adding different metals to the alloy mix, it is possible to create gold in a variety of different colours ie. pink, rose, white etc.
Silver and palladium are alloyed with gold to create white gold. The use of alloys means white gold is not a bright white. White gold is usually plated with Rhodium to give a bright appearance, but as it is only plating it will wear through to show the natural colour. This of course can be restored by re-plating after a thorough polish and clean.