Why Is Gold So Valuable?
For the entire history of civilized man, gold has been a status of wealth, luxury and beauty. It is the king of precious metals - and the precious metal of kings!
Although jewelry stores seem to have plenty of gold, mining it is a difficult process. It is formed up to 2 1/2 miles below the earth’s surface. It takes sifting through three tons of rock to recover one ounce of gold.
Gold is an excellent metal for jewelry because of its superior malleability, permanence, color and luster. One ounce of gold can be drawn into a single wire that is finer than a human hair and thirty-five miles long!
How Is Gold Purity Measured?
Gold is an international commodity and has international value and so has to conform to certain standards. Reputable jewelers only purchase gold stamped with either United States or European gold purity markings. In the U.S. and Canada, karat marks are used. European marks are three-digit numbers that tell the percentage of pure gold in the gold. Purity markings can easily be seen by examining the piece with a jeweler’s loupe.
24K gold is pure gold, 18K gold is 75% gold, 14K is 58.3% gold and 10K is 41.6% gold. Gold less than 24K is mixed with other metals (usually copper, zinc, silver, nickel, steel or iron) to make a gold alloy. If someone says they're allergic to gold, they're probably allergic to one of the other metals in the gold alloy. They should only wear 14K or even 18K gold.
Why Is Most Of The Gold Jewelry I See Either 14K Or 10K?
At Samuels stores, most of our gold is either 10K or 14K gold, although we do have a limited amount of jewelry in 18K gold. 10K and 14K gold offer many advantages.
10K is the U.S. government standard for gold; 14K exceeds the standard by four karats. It has a high pure gold content but is still strong and durable for jewelry designed for everyday wear. 18K and 24K gold is softer and more prone to scratches and other damage.
It is affordable.
It maintains its beauty over longer periods of time with less maintenance.
How Is Gold Formed Into Jewelry?
There are three main manufacturing processes used in gold jewelry. The process used often affects the value of the finished piece.
Die Striking involves putting the gold between two metal forms and then squeezing them together with high pressure. This creates a dense, strong piece. It is a very expensive process to set up and is typically used for large-scale production.
Casting is the most common method of crafting jewelry designs. In the first step of the process, a wax model of the piece is created. The model is surrounded by a plaster-type material which is placed in an oven. The oven’s heat burns away the wax, leaving a hollow shape in the plaster. Molten gold is forced into the hollow shape, the plaster mold is placed in water and the hot plaster falls away. What’s left is the gold in the shape of the original wax model.
How Do I Care For My Gold Jewelry?
Gold jewelry should be rubbed with a soft cloth after handling. Periodically, it should be professionally cleaned and polished.
You might have heard people say they clean their wedding set with jewelry cleaner and a toothbrush. This is not recommended. That might be fine for the diamond, but excessive brushing from even a toothbrush can put small scratches in gold.
Store each piece of gold jewelry separately to avoid scratching. If you use a jewelry box, put each piece in its own compartment or jewelry bag.