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A Beginners Guide to Solid Gold - How do Alloys Work?

November 09, 2020

A Beginners Guide to Solid Gold - How do Alloys Work?

Understanding Gold :
How Do Alloys work ?

Everyone knows what gold is, but most people do not know much more. You hear solid gold or gold plated, what does that information mean if you aren't a jeweller? You might have seen terms like 24K, 18K or even that it is pink, white or even yellow gold ... but what does that mean?

This short article will serve as a little starting guide to understanding gold and how it is used in jewelry making. As a social Media manager/ Event planner, I, Eve, will try to explain you what I've learned in the workshop with a simple vocabulary.

Gold has been used in societies for thousands of years. This material has always had an important place in our history for a variety of reasons. But how do you use this metal to make jewelry?

To start, Gold is a pure metal, with it's pure qualities, gold is too soft to make anything out of. Anything can easily alter it's shape, You could almost chew it, like a gum. With time, craftsmen learned that mixing pure gold with other metals (called alloy)would increase its durability, its resistance and strength. In these alloys, melted gold is mixed with other metal such as coppersilver, zinc and platinum. Since then, this discovery changed gold used to make jewelry, it has since become an alloy of gold with one or more other metals.

Naturally, the alloys of gold have a lower value per unit of weight than pure gold. A standard of trade known as "Karatage" was developed to designate the pourcentage of gold in these alloys. The standard declared that pure gold is known as 24Karat gold and is almost always marked with "24K" or "1000"(Europeans mark gold on /1000g). An alloy that is 50% gold by weight is known as 12Karat gold (12/24ths) and is marked with "12K". An alloy that contains 75% gold by weight is 18Karat (18/24 = 75%) and marked "18K". In general, high-Karat jewelry is softer, while low-Karat jewelry is stronger. We find, at Inchoo, that the perfect balance resides around the common 14K.
Alloying gold with other metals changes the colour of the finished products like you can see on the illustration below.

 Inchoo Bijoux, beginners guide to gold, what is 10K gold, what is 14K gold, what is solid gold, what do gold colours mean

10K Gold: 417g/1000g
14K Gold: 585g/1000g
18K Gold: 750g/1000g

Yellow Gold is an alloy of pure gold, silver and a bit of copper. These 2 are added together to the gold to bring out the metals natural warmth while strengthening it. Yellow Gold doesn’t require any protective plating, the colour is already bright and resistant.

Rose Gold is our favourite! This alloy is made by combining pure gold, with a bit of silver and a bigger part of copper. The reddish colour comes from the coppers bigger presence. A 10K Rose Gold jewelry will be more vibrant pink/reddish than a 18K. The purest form of rose gold is called crown gold and is 22K. Rose Gold jewels do not require any protective plating.

White Gold is an alloy of gold with white metals such as silver and zinc. Some jewelers also add palladium. The mix comes out as a grayish tint and is often plated with a rhodium to give it a whiter look. Like any plating, it has to be redone every now and then to keep that shiny look. Rhodium plating also adds a bit to the durability.
Platinum is a rarer and pricier option in metals. It is also a very strong metal, alloyed with copper and cobalt and other platinum group metals like palladium. This metal hypo allergenic, is amazingly durable, and doesn’t tarnish. For a Platinum jewel to be labelled as platinum, it must have a minimum level of purity of 90%. Platinum rings are great to engrave as well, as the lettering comes out sharper and more precise. We offer custom orders in Platinum, but we don’t keep pieces in our shop or collections.

2020 has been a year that marked everything and everybody, even the gold market was hit hard. From January to August of this year, the price of gold kept growing. On August 5 2020, the price was at $2,044 per ounce. The psychological resistance level of $2000 had now been broken. To help you a little bit to imagine : in 2011 the price broke its all-time high at $1921 and it was a big shock for the jewelry industry. The Gold prices on the market right now are higher than ever. What is a great news about gold, knowing this fact, is that your gold jewelry is also an investment.
Gold jewelry retains it's value, or increases value.

Here at Inchoo Bijoux we usually work with 10K or 14K gold, as we find it's the perfect balance to get gold jewelry at an affordable market price. 10K and 14K gold, being harder are also better for stone settings. We also work with gold of every colour : White, Rose and Yellow!

inchoo bijoux what is solid gold, yellow gold, 14k, 10K what is 24k gold
14K white gold celestial pendant, inchoo bijoux, what is white gold, what is 14K gold
Our 14K White Gold Celestial Pendant

If you have more questions about Metals, Sterling Silver, Solid Gold, Gemstones & more, please visit our FAQ page that is filled with plenty of delicious additional info! You can also learn more about our jewelry making process here!
Thank you for reading! If you have any question about solid gold or our jewels please contact us and it will be a pleasure to answer you.
Information sources :

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