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Buying Gold Jewelry

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What is Gold

Gold is one of the most precious metals in the world. It is present in the rivers, seas, and the earth's crust and trace amounts are present in plants and animals. It is, however, difficult and expensive to extract. In modern mining operations approximately 3 tons of ore are needed to extract one ounce of gold. The many desirable qualities found in gold, along with its scarcity, have made it the most popular metal for use in jewelry today.

Properties of gold in its pure state:
Has a melting point of 1945 degrees Farenheit (1063 degrees Celsius). When alloyed (chemically combined) with other base metals the melting temperature of the resulting alloy is changed. 18K yellow gold has a melting point of 1675 degrees Farenheit and 14K yellow gold has a melting point of about 1550 degrees Farenheit.

Has a specific gravity of 19.33. It is relatively heavy compared to most metals, such as silver (SG 10.7) or iron (SG 7.8). A notable exception is platinum (SG 21.4).  Is more malleable than any other metal and can be hammered into foil so thin that it is almost transparent.

Has a unique ductility property allowing it to be drawn into wire so fine it can barely be seen.
Is deep yellow in color. Its great reflectivity properties help keep its brightness and color from fading with time.

Will not rust, tarnish or corrode. Gold jewelry recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs is in the same state as when placed there over 4000 years ago.

Is softer than most other metals. On the Mohs scale of hardness (which is a measure of a gemstone or mineral's resistance to scratching), gold has a hardness value of 2 to 2.5. Diamond has a value of 10. Pure gold may easily be scratched. Fortunately, gold becomes harder when alloyed with other base metals.

Is relatively scarce and therefore expensive. It is estimated that only 125,000 tons of gold have been mined the world over since the beginning of time.  Is able to bond with other base metals. This property gives rise to the many different colors available in modern gold alloys.

Fineness of gold (karat value)

Since ancient times the purity of gold has been defined by the term karat, which is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight. Pure gold is equivalent to 24K. Gold purity may also be described by its fineness, which is the amount of pure gold in parts per 1000. For example, a gold ring containing 583 fine gold has 583 parts (58.3%) gold and 417 parts (41.7%) of other base metals.

Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Not all gold jewelry is stamped.  If it is stamped, generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design. Stamps will usually be located on the inside of the band on a ring, on the post or basket setting on a pair of earrings, on the bail (the part that the chain slides through) on a pendant, and on the connecting ring or the clasp on a necklace or bracelet. All jewelry stamps adhere to strict guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission.  Not all gold jewelry is stamped.  Items that have been custom made or designed by your jeweler may not have a marking.  This does not mean the items are not gold, they can still be tested by any jeweler, for gold quantity.  A simple scratch test can be used.  Some items, that have been sized or repaired, may also not be stamped as the stamping can be lost during polishing and finishing.  If you purchase one of our gold charms, with a split ring, the charm will most likely not be stamped.  That is because on most charms are stamped on the bail. The bail is removed when the split ring is attached.  Split rings are findings and not stamped.  If you have any questions contact us.  There is a lot of misinformation about items requiring gold stamps and we'll be happy to help you.


white gold rings

With the popularity of white metal jewelry, it is important to understand that all gold starts out yellow.  White gold is yellow gold that has been alloyed with nickel or palladium (both white metals) to make the yellow gold turn white.  Neither one of these alloys makes yellow gold turn completely white and mirror shiny like.  The nickel-gold alloy still appears slightly yellow, and the palladium-gold alloy a little gray.  This is why almost all white gold jewelry is rhodium plated. 

Rhodium is chemically very close to platinum and is just as expensive, it is in the platinum metal group (consisting of six closely related metals: Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium and Osmium).  Rhoidum is very bright and very hard.  Even platinum will stay bright much longer if it is plated with rhodium.  White gold will be bright white and shiny when plated with rhodium.   Rhodium, however strong, can wear off.  When rubbed against a base metal, such as zinc oxide, titanum oxide, ferric oxide or calamine (found in most cosmetics) the rhodium will wear off.  This has nothing to do with the quality of the jewelry, it has to do with the chemicals you wash your hands with or apply to your skin.

The only way to completely eliminate the problem is to quit using make-up, lotions and abrasive soaps, to wear your jewelry as the precious item it is and remove it when applying such items, or to clean the jewelry frequently.  Please remember that jewelry is an accessory, and just as your shoes or articles of clothing, it needs to be maintained and treated with care and it will last for generations to come!


Federal Trade Commission rules require that all jewelry items sold in the United States as gold shall be described by "a correct designation of the karat fineness of the alloy." No jewelry item less than 10K may be sold in the United States as gold jewelry.

X1 Alloy Information
X1, or "forever white" is an alloy in use now by manufacturers.  It gives you premium white color that provides the look of platinum at the cost of 14k.  You no longer need to rhodium plate in order to achieve a bright white surface finish.  X1 white gold has been enhanced with trace elements that provide grain structure control, ductility and improved mechanical properties while maintaining excellent casting characteristics and providing for an excellent surface finish.  X1 is alloyed to meet European specifications for gold fineness and meets/exceeds EN1811 nickel release requirements. 

Is X1 white gold as white as Rhodium or Platinum?

X1 does have an excellent white color with high reflectivity compared to other white gold alloys, but no white gold is as white as rhodium plate, due to the yellow color of the pure gold in the alloy.

Can I rhodium plate X1 white gold?
X1 white gold may be rhodium plated just like other white gold alloy. However, rhodium plating is not required to achieve an excellent white surface finish. One advantage to using  white gold is that when the rhodium plate inevitably wears off, the underlying metal is a nice, platinum color instead of the yellowing/off-white color of most karat white gold alloys.

(All above info from one of our manufacturer's sites).

Why Does Gold Change Color or Discolor Fingers?

So many often wonder why does a new piece of jewelry change color or cause my finger to turn black?  It is not due to faulty manufacturing or underkarating.  The most common reason is metallic abrasion, caused by makeup on skin or clothing. Cosmetics often contain compounds harder than the jewelry itself, which wear or rub off very tiny particles. Very finely divided metal always appears black rather than metallic, so it looks like a jet-black dust. When this dust comes into contact with absorbent surfaces such as skin or clothing, it sticks, forming a black smudge.

To prevent this, if you want to keep the piece of jewelry you should try switching cosmetics. If this is not possible, remove rings and other jewelry while applying the lotions or cosmetics and clean skin areas in contact with jewelry with soap and water.  Do not allow the cosmetics to come in contact with the jewelry.

Another cause is actual corrosion of the metals. Gold itself does not corrode, but its primary alloys of silver or copper will do so—forming very dark chemical compounds—under moist or wet conditions.

When you perspire, fats and fatty acids released by your body can cause corrosion of 14-karat gold, especially when exposed to warmth and air. This problem can be worse in seacoast and semitropical areas, where chlorides combine with perspiration to form a corrosive element that discolors skin. Smog fumes gradually attack jewelry and are evident as a tarnish that rubs off on the skin.

One way to prevent this is to remove jewelry often and use an absorbent powder, free of abrasives, on skin that comes into contact with jewelry.

Even the design of jewelry can be an influence. Wide shanks have more surface area to contact abrasives or corrosives. Concave surfaces inside a shank form collection points that trap moisture and contaminants, this may also causing a type of dermatitis.   Which part of the jewelry is changing color?  On a ring is it wider, concave surface?  If so, clean the jewelry with jewelry cleaner.  Clean your hand with soap and water to remove all chemicals (lotions, perfumes, etc.).  Pay attention to what you put on your hands, is it one product causing the discoloration?  If so, try to avoid wearing that product.

Also, remove all rings before using soaps, cleaning compounds or detergents, and clean their rings frequently. As well as solving the problem, you'll be amazed at how much better their rings look!

In addition to these corrective actions, if you are continuing to have discoloration of the jewelry or skin, switch to 18-karat gold or platinum. The lower alloy content of 18-karat gold—25%, versus almost 42%—significantly reduces the problem, and the use of platinum should eliminate it completely.



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