|The Very Highest Quality Jewellery Information...|
|Why 18 Carat Gold is Best|
|18 Carat Gold|
|9 Carat Gold|
How is it better, and why should I demand it?
Gold itself is a yellow metallic element but, in its pure form, it is too soft to be used for general jewellery purposes, although there are some cultures which do wear pure gold jewellery, it would need to be heavily made and carefully used. So for most jewellery, gold needs to be alloyed with other metals to provide the best combination of strength, appearance, and resistance to tarnishing.
It is usual for gold to be mixed with other metals to produce an alloy, which is
simply a mixture of two or more metals. The traditional way to describe the proportion of gold in alloys is in "carats".
A carat is 1/24, that is 1 part in 24 by weight.
18 carat is therefore 18/24 or 3/4 gold. In recent years it has become common to refer to alloys millesimally, that is in "parts per thousand". Eighteen carat gold is therefore 750 parts per thousand.
What's Wrong With 9 or 10 Carat?
Nine carat gold only contains 37.5% gold, so there is more base metal than gold. It is not surprising therefore that, like copper, it tarnishes, turns green or black, and does the same for your skin and clothes. Its only advantage over 18 carat is cheapness.
It can also be brittle, and is not as durable as 18 carat.
Ten carat contains 41.7% gold , unless it's American ten carat, in which case it may legally be only 9 1/2 carat, and therefore contains only 39.5% gold. Whichever, it still isn't very much gold, and still more base metal than precious metal.
If you want to wear gold jewellery, don't let us stop you!, also if copper was so wonderful, why doesn't everybody want their jewellery made from it?
In our opinion, 9 and 10 carat alloys aren't real gold.
In case you still wish to buy 9 carat gold jewellery, you should visit our 9 Carat Gold Website.
What About 14 Carat?
OK, Fourteen carat is an improvement on nine carat, and yes, it does contain more gold (58.3%) than copper, but it still tarnishes, and it too can be brittle.
If you look at the percentage by volume, 14 carat still contains more base metal than gold!
Much better, and it is a wonderful colour, but 22 carat can often be slightly soft. Generally 18 carat is more durable, although a fellow goldsmith argues with me about this, so even experts disagree sometimes!
Throughout history, most people have preferred the colour of gold jewellery to remain close to that of pure gold itself, and so most jewellery has historically been made using yellow gold alloys. Other metals mixed with gold to produce alloys include copper and silver, which are the common components of most yellow gold alloys, and nickel, zinc, and palladium to produce white alloys. Red, pink, and pale greenish yellow can also be easily produced. there are also exotic colours which can be produced, such as blue or purple, but these can only be produced using additions such as aluminium or iron, which have a harmful effect on the working properties of the alloy, and therefore are not commonly found.
Theoretically, these should be the same as English or International standards, however as the USA is still, to the best of our knowledge, using a law about two centuries out of date, from when testing was not quite as accurate as today, American jewellers are allowed a half carat tolerance. Fairly naturally they take this tolerance and use it to legally supply sub-standard alloys, and this adds to their profits. Because of this, if an American jeweller wishes to promote his jewellery more honestly and accurately, it becomes necessary for them to indicate this in some way, so that they add the word "plumb" after the fineness. This in itself we find amusing, as it comes from the Latin word for lead, which is the last thing you would wish to find in a gold alloy!
You may wish to visit some of our other pages:-
Density of Gold & Other Metals
Allergies to Gold Jewellery
Hardness & Durability of Gold Alloys
What is White Gold?
White Gold Turns Yellow
Gold Alloys - What Is A Carat?
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