What does ‘Karat’ Mean? How do I know if a piece of jewelry is Karat Gold? How can I clean and care for my Karat Gold Jewelry? What's the difference between 'Karat' and 'Carat'? Find the answers to all of these questions and more here.
What do you really know about your gold jewelry? Have you thought about where it comes from or why you like the look and feel of gold? Gold jewelry is always in high demand, but few understand why it is valuable. Creating beautiful gold chains, bangles, necklaces or earrings is a balance of art and science.
Gold in its purest state is referred to as 24-karat gold. This level of gold is rarely used in gold jewelry because it is too soft. Gold jewelry is usually alloyed or combined with other metals for increased strength and workability, a practice that is thousands of years old. Karatage tells you the purity of your gold jewelry.
As we mentioned earlier, pure gold is always mixed with alloys to create karat gold. Alloys are created when at least two different metals are combined. All karat gold jewelry uses alloys to help enhance the pure gold, but it is important to note that not all alloys are created equal.
Even though alloys often account for a minority of the metal used, they have a significant impact on the overall color of karat gold jewelry. For example, adding nickel and palladium or nickel, silver and zinc creates white gold. Adding copper creates pink or rose gold. Adding equal parts of silver and copper creates yellow gold.
Several factors affect the cost of gold jewelry. One factor is, naturally, changes in the price of gold. Another key factor is karatage, the amount of pure gold vs. the amount of less expensive alloys. The higher the karatage, the more expensive the gold jewelry piece will be due to the amount of pure gold that it contains.
The various techniques used to transform the surface on your gold jewelry are known as finishes. Possible gold jewelry finishes range from bright polish, to matte sandblasting, to hammered textures. The finish on your gold jewelry significantly impacts its final look and style.
Part of what makes karat gold so appealing is the fact that pure gold and gold alloy are combined to create a metal that has gold throughout. From the surface to the center, the amount of pure gold throughout your jewelry is consistent.
Between everyday wear and contact with undetectable chemicals, gold jewelry requires periodic cleaning. Regularly checking your gold jewelry for noticeable scratches or changes to the gold surface will let you know when it is time for a cleaning. To properly clean your jewelry, use a soft bristled toothbrush and a bowl with a mixture of light soap and water.