Why is gold jewelry so expensive? Why are others too cheap? What you need to know when buying and what should you check every time. Here you can find all the answers.
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Last updated 9/12/2022. The average reading time is 14 minutes.
How much is it worth? It can cost anywhere from $50 to $10K. It all depends on the quality. Read below How to Buy Gold Jewelry. Patience is the way. All the things you need to know about gold. Find the right accessory at the right price. Do not hurry, and don’t buy gold from the street or untrusted sources.
Want to see what options you have for wearing necklaces for men? Read our article here.
Gold-filled versus other metals.
- Solid gold. No other metals and no plating, just gold. It must be at least 10 carats to be considered “solid gold”.
- 14K gold filled. The core of it is solid jewelry brass with a thick layer of 14K gold pressure-bonded to the metal base, making it super long-lasting and very unlikely to rub off. The thick layer of gold is also suitable for people sensitive to base metals.
- Vermeil gold. Vermeil gold is 2.5 microns of gold plated over 925 sterling silver. Heavy plating along with the high quality of the silver enhances the value of the plating.
- Heavy gold-plated – 1 micron and up. Heavy gold plating is when the layer of gold is 1 micron or thicker. This creates a longer-lasting layer of gold. The base metal can be brass, copper, steel, stainless steel, sterling steel, etc.
- Gold-plated stainless steel. Gold-plated items undergo flash plating with a thin layer of gold. The proper way to retain this plating is to use stainless steel, which since the base metal is hypoallergenic, results in a quality and affordable solution.
The fineness of gold (karat value)
Since ancient times, the purity of gold has been defined by the term karat, which is equal to 1/24 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%) of gold and 417 parts (41.7%) of other base metals.
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.
The following table lists the relationship between different international gold markings.
|United States Markings||Parts Gold||Gold %||European Markings|
|24K||24/24||100%||1000 or 999|
|22K||22/24||91.7%||916 or 917|
|14K||10/24||58.3%||583 or 585|
What is the difference between carat and karat?
Both are a form of measurement in the jewelry industry, but what’s being measured is very different.
Carats are used to describe the weight of diamonds and other precious gemstones.
In this case, however, we’ll be delving into the term karat, or the measure of purity when referring to gold. In addition, we’ll be delving into which karat of gold would be best for you.
In its pure form, gold is a very soft metal. It’s too delicate for everyday wear, so it’s often alloyed (or mixed) with other metals such as silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to improve its strength and resilience.
The most common mixtures of gold are 14K, 18K, and 22K, but 14K and 18K are the most ideal for jewelry.
Check out our recommended articles about gold rings for women
If you like silver jewelry, please read our article about tips for silver jewelry.
Which one is most effective? 24K, 22K, 18K, or 14K?
You have to consider a few facts. How often do you wear jewelry, what do you do when you wear it, the color, and the budget? Look below for a quick guide on how to choose when buying gold jewelry.
24K. 100% pure gold
It is easy to assume that if you have 100 % pure gold, this is the finest. While it is the best known, it is very soft and very easy to scratch and bend. Using 24K gold jewelry is not recommended for daily use. But there is a tiny percentage of people who can afford to wear them on special occasions. It is all about prestige.
22K. 92% gold and 8% metals.
Even with a mixture of only 8% metals, 22K gold is stronger and more durable than pure gold. When buying this mix, care should be taken as it is not the strongest form of mixed metal jewelry.
18K. 75% gold and 25% metals.
It is the most traditional mix of gold and other metals. The yellow tone of 18K pieces is much deeper than that of 14K. Because of the higher gold content in 18K pieces, it will also yield more expensive prices than 14K. That’s usually a sign of a high-quality piece of jewelry.
14K. 58% gold and 42% metals.
This alloy will provide higher resistance to wear and tear than the 18K, or 22K alloys. It’s ideal for everyday use and is the most popular choice for engagement rings. Jewelry made of 14K gold is the most suitable option for those with an active lifestyle.
12K, 10K, or less.
Anything less than 14K is not recommended when buying fine jewelry. In the United States, even 10K jewelry is considered to be the lowest. Be careful when buying 10K or more. You should always check the stamp for purity or ask about any qualifications.
If you want to read more about gold jewelry, you can check out gold.org.
Different colors of gold
This is the color that comes to mind with the word gold. Very often we refer to gold as a color, like honey, sunshine, flowers, and animals. Almost everywhere you can find this color.
This looks like bright silver because the gold is mixed with metals like nickel or palladium.
White gold is sometimes paired with yellow gold to create a two-tone item.
Often called crown gold, it is gold mixed with copper. It will produce a pink hue which is why it is called rose gold.
Rose gold engagement rings are very popular. For an 18K rose gold ring there is 75% gold and 25% copper.
Something rarer and more expensive is when mixing gold with silver or silver plus cadmium. This will produce a green-yellow color and can be supplemented with green stones like an emerald.
Black gold is gold coated with a layer of ruthenium for added strength. Black or brownish color can also be achieved by treating gold alloyed with copper with potassium sulfide.
Purple gold is an industry breakthrough. Made by mixing gold with aluminum and iridium, this unique color is so different yet so beautiful.
What to consider when buying gold jewelry
Our advice is never to buy from unknown websites or suspicious auctions.
Choose a reputable vendor. Authorized dealers that sell famous designer jewelry are always the most reliable option, but you will pay more for designer jewelry.
Independent dealers are also a viable choice, but be careful to check for certificates and credentials. Search for the small details that will ensure you that you have made the right decision.
Comparing prices is the logical approach. Gold jewelry is usually combined with precious gemstones – diamonds or pearls – which makes comparisons difficult. Try to find people you trust to give you an extra opinion or to double-check the quality and price.
Consider your budget and stick to it, whatever others say or recommend. Consider something cheaper or different if the gold ring has a diamond, so you will spend according to your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can gold rust?
No, gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79. It is one of the least reactive metals, which means that it does not corrode or rust easily. Gold is often used in jewelry and other decorative items because of its resistance to corrosion and other types of deterioration.
Can gold conduct electricity?
Yes, gold is a highly effective conductor of electricity. It is one of the most efficient conductors of electricity of all elements. This is because gold has high electrical conductivity, which means that it allows electrons to flow freely through it. This property makes gold useful in a variety of applications, including electrical wiring and electronics.
Can gold tarnish?
Yes, gold can discolor, although it is not very susceptible to corrosion compared to other metals. Tarnishing is a process that occurs when the surface of a metal is exposed to air and other elements. This causes it to become discolored or develop a dull appearance. Gold can tarnish when it comes into contact with sulfur-containing compounds, such as those found in certain fabrics, foods, and chemicals. However, this process is generally slow and can be easily reversed by cleaning the gold with mild detergent and water.
Can gold be made?
Gold, like all chemical elements, cannot be created or destroyed. However, it can be synthesized in a laboratory by bombarding other elements with high-energy particles, such as protons or neutrons. This process, known as nuclear fusion, can produce small amounts of gold in a laboratory setting, but it is not commercially viable for producing gold on a large scale.
Can gold turn into gas?
No, gold cannot turn into gas under normal conditions. Gold is a solid at room temperature and pressure, and it has a very high melting point of around 1,064 degrees Celsius. For gold to turn into a gas, it would have to be heated to a temperature much above its melting point, which is not possible under normal conditions. Additionally, gold is a very dense metal. Therefore, even if it were to be heated to a high enough temperature to become a gas, it would still be much denser than the air around it. It would not rise or float like a gas.
How is gold formed?
Gold is a naturally occurring element that is found in the Earth’s crust. It is formed through a process called precipitation, in which gold atoms are released from rocks and combined with other elements to form gold particles. This process can occur in a variety of environments, including hot springs, hydrothermal veins, and sedimentary rocks. Gold is also commonly found in association with other metals, such as copper and lead. It is often extracted from the ground as a byproduct of mining for these other metals.
How is gold refined?
Gold is refined by a process called smelting. This involves heating the gold ore in a furnace to a temperature of around 1,100 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, gold is melted and separated from other elements in the ore. The melted gold is then poured into a mold to form a bar or ingot, which can be further processed by other processes if necessary. The process of refining gold can also involve the use of chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, to remove impurities from the gold. These chemicals are highly corrosive and dangerous to handle, so the process of refining gold is typically carried out by trained professionals in a specialized refinery.
How are gold chains made?
Gold chains are made through a process called casting. This involves melting the gold into a liquid state and then pouring it into a mold in the desired shape of the chain. Once the gold has cooled and solidified, the mold is removed and the chain is polished to give it a smooth, shiny finish. Gold chains can also be made through a process called forging, in which a piece of gold is heated and then pounded or rolled into the desired shape. This method is often used to make thicker, heavier chains, such as those used in men’s gold jewelry.
When does gold turn black or green?
Gold does not turn black under normal conditions. However, if gold comes into contact with certain chemicals or elements, it may develop a black or tarnished appearance. For example, gold can react with sulfur-containing compounds to form a dark compound called gold sulfide. This process is known as tarnishing, and it can be reversed by cleaning the gold with mild detergent and water. Additionally, some gold jewelry may be coated with a black finish to give it a more modern or antique appearance. This type of black gold is not made of gold, but rather a different metal that has been coated with a black layer. The same is true for the green color. That’s why we have added these colors to the gold jewelry options.
Why is gold a terrible investment?
Gold is not necessarily a risky investment, but it does have some drawbacks that should be considered before investing in it. One of the main disadvantages of investing in gold is that it is not a productive asset. This means that it does not generate any income or returns on its own. Unlike stocks, bonds, or real estate, gold does not produce any dividends, interest, or rent, and it does not grow in value over time. This means that the value of a gold investment depends entirely on the market demand for gold, which can fluctuate greatly over time. Additionally, gold is a physical asset that can be difficult to store and transport, and it is subject to theft, loss, and damage. These factors may make gold a less attractive investment option for some people.
Is gold without markings safe to buy?
Gold bars and coins that do not have any markings or engravings are called “unmarked gold”. The same applies to gold jewelry. Unmarked gold is typically sold in its pure, unrefined form, and it does not have any identifying marks or stamps indicating its purity, weight, or other characteristics. Unmarked gold may be less expensive than marked gold, but it can also be more difficult to verify its authenticity and value. In some cases, unmarked gold may be of lower quality or purity than marked gold. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully evaluate any unmarked gold that you are considering purchasing.
Gold jewelry is the most famous piece of jewelry in the world. You need to know all the small details when deciding to buy.
We covered a lot of critical data that will give you the knowledge to buy gold jewelry with certainty.
Do you have more questions? Leave your question below in the comments and we will try to add it to our article soon.
Let us know what your next gold jewelry purchase will be. Rings, gold chains, or bracelets?
Check out our video on How to Buy Gold.