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Universally celebrated for centuries, gold has long symbolised wealth, sophistication and reverence through its use in fine jewellery. Highly malleable in its most natural form, gold is well suited to the delicate manipulation that jewellery making requires, but this softness also places limitations on its durability. Therefore, gold is often alloyed with copper, zinc, nickel, or even silver, to increase its strength. These alloys also bring delightful undertones of rose, yellow or white to gold jewellery, ensuring that there is a gold color for every skin tone. The alloy ratio will also determine the gold's karat weight, or purity.
  • Karats
    Often confused with diamond carats, gold karats (k or kt) denote the purity of gold used in fine jewellery. The larger the alloy content the lower the karat, and 24kt represents 99% gold, which is the most pure on the market. Gold purity can also be articulated as 'fineness', in which the degree of purity is expressed as a part of 1000. For example: 99% gold would be considered 990 gold fineness.
  • Color
    Adding alloys to gold will not only alter its strength but its color – the most popular of which are yellow gold and white gold.
  • Yellow Gold
    The most familiar gold jewellery color is yellow gold. Typically, the more yellow the color, the higher the purity of the gold. However, even the purest gold requires an alloy of silver or copper to give it strength. As its purity is reduced through these additions, so too is its golden yellow tone. 18kt gold has a warmer hue, while 14kt carries more of a silver tint. As a result of its high alloy content, 14kt gold is far more durable than purer categories of gold, and is also more affordable.
  • White gold
    In recent years, the popularity of white gold has steadily grown. It enjoys many of the same characteristics as silver, yet it doesn't tarnish. White gold is typically alloyed with silver, zinc, nickel or palladium to enhance its firmness, and these alloys are what give it its silver appearance. Rhodium, a member of the platinum family, is also used to coat white gold to protect it from scratches and heighten its sheen. The rhodium plating will wear with time and require re-plating – an easy and inexpensive process which your local jeweller should be able to do for you.

Caring for Your Gold Jewellery

Gold wedding bands and engagement rings are relatively easy to clean with a soft brush or toothbrush in soapy warm water. After cleaning your gold jewellery, use a soft cloth to dry and polish it before storing it. Gold jewellery pieces are best kept in their original cloth-lined boxes or soft pouches, so they don't scrape against other items. Gold can scratch and dent, so it's best to avoid wearing gold rings when you are undertaking activities that may result in damage to the metal.
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