Gold and Its Various Alloys

Gold, in its purest form, has a unique yellow color which is too fragile to be used in jewelry. This is why it is mixed with various metals to form alloys and give it a different look and appeal. In its pure form, gold doesn’t tarnish or easily fade off which makes it expensive when compared to gold mixed with other metals. You must be wondering “does pure gold tarnish?”, no, 24k gold (pure gold) does not rust. Here is an altimate guide for you to understand gold tarnish questions.

As stated earlier, when gold is mixed with other metals, it forms an alloy which makes it stronger than when it is in its pure state. The good thing is that alloys are cheaper than pure gold since the gold’s karat must have reduced. In spite of this, the desirable jewelry properties are retained by the alloys like being stronger and not tarnishing easily while they still have that shining effect.

Gold is known to come in various forms like yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, gold plated, gold vermeil, gold filled and the popular 14k gold. This article focuses on each of these forms of gold mentioned above and therefore looks at each individually.
They are as follows:

1. Gold Plated
What is gold plated jewelry? This set of jewelry is made by the use of chemicals or electricity which deposits and binds a thin layer of gold over another metal. The layer of gold might be as thin as 1/1000 to 3/1000 of an inch. Metals used most of the time is either copper or silver depending on the affordability.

Gold plated jewelry seems to be the most suitable option for people who love gold jewelry but observing a tight budget. The disadvantage of gold plated jewelry is that it fades off with time because the base metals eventually transfer their molecules to the gold layer.

2. Gold Vermeil
What is gold vermeil? Of course, a lot of people don’t know what Vermeil is. This is a term to describe jewelry or any item made from silver but coated with gold. It is coined from a French word which is pronounced as “ver-may.” Vermeil jewelry is made from a silver base coated with gold through the process called electrolysis. The lifespan of the jewelry depends on the gold plating thickness while its durability depends on the gold layer’s karat.

3. Gold Filled
What is gold filled jewelry? This is made by pressure bonding a layer of gold onto another metal. It is a more economical option since it has the same look and desirable properties with gold. It also doesn’t tarnish and wears off.

4. White Gold
What is white gold? White gold is simply formed from the combination of gold with metals such as silver, palladium, and silver, with properties depending on proportions of the metals used. Normally most white gold jewelry is mixed with rhodium because of the tint of yellow on it. Rhodium gives the white gold the white color desired and makes the gold more durable.

5. Rose Gold
What is rose gold? This is simply a combination of gold with copper which gives it the pink color it possesses. A higher copper content would certainly make the pink color stronger.

6. Yellow Gold
What is yellow gold? Yellow gold is made from a combination of gold with other metals like silver, zinc, and copper which produces the distinct yellow color. Yellow gold actually looks like pure gold and is softer than the other alloys which make it scratch easily. Although it can be polished occasionally, it still loses a certain amount of metal from each polishing process.

7. 14K Gold
What is 14k Gold? 14 Karat gold is made from the mixture of gold with metals such as zinc, nickel, copper, etc. with the aim of making the alloy more durable. Arriving at the gold content percentage in a 14K gold piece is easy. All that is needed to be done is dividing the karat number (14 in this case) by 24, the maximum possible karat which gives us 58.3%, the percentage of gold jewelry of 14K contains.

8. 18K Gold
What is 18K Gold? 18 Karat gold is made from the mixture of 75% gold with 25% metals such as zinc, nickel, copper, etc. with the aim of making the alloy more durable. Arriving at the gold content percentage in a 18K gold piece is easy. All that is needed to be done is dividing the karat number (18 in this case) by 24, the maximum possible karat which gives us 75%, the percentage of gold jewelry of 18K contains. 

14K gold and 18K Gold are the most popular gold alloy for fine jewelry, but actually there are more gold alloy choices, such as 9K gold, 10K gold, 22K gold, here is a post for you to understand almost all gold alloys.

Knowing the several alloys of gold is very important especially for people who love buying gold jewelry. Most of the names mentioned above are used to describe pieces of jewelry, it is, therefore, important to know them before purchasing so as to avoid any form of disappointment after purchase. When you own a piece of gold jewelry, you must need the guide to clean gold jewelry and keep it new, here is a guide for gold jewelry cleaning.

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