No precious metal is as legendary and beautiful as Gold. Its rarity, beauty, and enigma have provided it with status as a valuable commodity throughout the history of humanity. Gold has always been used as a monetary standard and ancient gold jewellery and ornaments dating back centuries have been found throughout the world. Gold has always been and remains the most essential jewellery component, with most precious jewellery pieces created from Gold or inlaid with a Gold setting.
Gold is the most malleable and ductile metal, which makes it very easy to work with. It never tarnishes, and is unaffected by most chemicals. However, it can discolour by exposure to chlorine, bleach, and certain detergents.
Pure Gold lacks resistance to pressure and easily bends. For this reason, Gold jewellery is always alloyed with other metals to increase its toughness and durability. The purity of Gold depends on the percentage of alloyed metal, and this number is measured in carats. The carat measurement determines the percentage of Gold to other metals on a scale of 1 to 24, with 24 carats being pure gold. Common carat weights are 22 ct (91.67% gold), 18 ct (75% gold), 14 ct (58.33% gold), and 9 ct (37.5% gold). Pure 24 ct Gold is never used in jewellery as its too flexible and will be bent and mishaped, even by minor touches.
Several different metallic elements can be alloyed with Gold and some are used specifically to produce a certain colour or tone in the Gold. The main metals alloyed with Gold are copper, silver, palladium, nickel, zinc, and iron.
- Blue Gold – Gold with a slightly bluish tone, which is caused by alloying the Gold with iron.
- Green Gold – Gold with a slightly greenish tone, with the colour caused by alloying the Gold with copper and silver.
- Rose Gold – Gold with a reddish tone, with the colour caused by alloying the Gold with copper.
- White Gold – Pale, almost silver-coloured Gold, with the colour caused by alloying the Gold with nickel, zinc, and sometimes palladium.
Yellow Gold – Gold that retains its original golden yellow colour. Although it is alloyed with other metals to strengthen its tenacity, the original colour is maintained.
Gold is a fantastic, beautiful metal. Unsurpassed.