It goes without saying that one of the smartest investments in the jewelry industry is gold. Gold exudes luxury and class and signifies financial stability. Gold IS money.
Since the true value of money is backed by gold, this precious metal is in demand anywhere in the world. With inflation and unpredictable rises and falls in the markets, gold is one sturdy protection against these uncertainties.
With so much at stake, knowing how to buy gold is critical before you purchase. In this comprehensive guide, we detail everything you need to know about gold.
The “K” stands for karat, which represents the percentage of pure gold in the metal alloy. Because pure gold is very malleable, jewelers mix it with other alloys to make it more durable and harder.
Purity: The higher the karat number, the higher percentage of pure gold exists in the jewelry. 10K = 41.7% 14K = 58.5% 18K = 75% 22K = 91.7% 24K = 100%
Cost: The higher the karat, the higher the cost. Price is based on the percentage of pure gold. At Marlin Collection Jewelry online Shop, our prices are based on the current market value of gold.
Color: Because pure gold is naturally yellow, the higher the karat, the more yellow the item will be.
Durability: The higher the karat, the softer and more scratch-prone the alloy becomes. This is important to consider if you’re setting a gemstone in small prongs that you don’t want to bend easily.
If you’ve ever heard the song 24-Karat Magic by Bruno Mars and wondered what on earth he meant by singing about ‘24 karat magic in the air’, it’s because 24-karat gold is 100% pure. Still doesn’t make sense? Ok, moving on.
In every gold alloy, there are 24 units that we refer to as “karats”. When you buy gold that has 24 karats that means you have 100% pure, unadulterated gold which then equals to pure, unadulterated money in your pocket.
By virtue of proportion, if 24-karat gold is 100% pure, 10-karat gold is 41.7% pure (mathematically expressed as 10/24 = 41.7%).
So, the general rule is: The value is of gold is proportionate to its purity – the purer the gold, the higher the value.
That doesn’t mean that you will always have to aim for a higher purity level when you want to buy gold. Consider these two important exceptions:
Pure gold is very soft and is easily damaged. If you intend to wear it every day, then go for LOW-KARAT pieces. These range around 10, 12, and 14 karats. Low-karat pieces are made of gold and other metals that make the alloy stronger.
For rings and bracelets which are exposed to friction against hard surfaces, it is best to buy 10 and 12-karat pieces.
For necklaces and earrings which are safe from knocks and bumps, 14 – 18 karats are suited.
HIGH-KARAT pieces that range from 18-24 karats are best for special occasions, parties and ceremonial events for two reasons:
One, your gold is rarely used and when you use them, they are handled carefully – avoiding unnecessary damage. Two, you get to low-key humble-brag about your elegance and wealth. Ok, that last isn’t actually a reason.
Apart from the purpose of the jewelry, other special cases should also be considered.
Gold jewelry may contain metals other than gold. One of the most common metals mixed in a golden alloy is nickel. It makes the jewelry stronger but it is an issue for people with nickel allergies.
If you are allergic to nickel, then it is better to choose jewelry with a higher percentage of gold content. 18 karat purity is recommended for you.
There is no difference. This is an example of how gold attributes are applied differently around the globe. The proper attribute applied to gold is “karat” abbreviated with “k” or “kt.” In countries outside of North America, “carat,” abbreviated “c” or “ct” is used in its place, despite it being incorrect. Carat is, in proper application, a unit of weight that applies to precious stones.
Pure gold is yellow. Needless to say, the higher the karat of gold jewelry, the more yellowish hue it will have.
Rose gold, sometimes called pink gold, is an alloy created by adding copper to pure gold, which results in a pinkish metallic hue. Rose gold engagement rings and rose gold wedding bands saw a spike in popularity in 2015 and continue to be in demand. Opt for a rose gold wedding ring set for the ultimate in coordination.
Not all that glitters is gold…literally!
Just because your jewelry looks like it is made of gold doesn’t mean it actually is. There are very few exquisite pieces of gold jewelry that are made of 24-karat solid gold (100% pure gold). But there are what we call gold filled and gold plated jewelry and you need to know the difference if you want to buy gold.
Gold filled jewelry is, as the term implies, filled with gold.
As we have already mentioned above, the metallic mixture we call an alloy is made up of gold and other metals combined to create a tougher metal.
Shoppers generally prefer gold alloys over gold-plated jewelry for various reasons:
Gold plated on the other hand are made of non-gold base metals that are then dipped into molten gold to create a golden coat on the surface. This is a budget friendly alternative to gold-filled jewelry because:
A special kind of plating called vermeil uses the same process but on a specific base metal, sterling silver. Vermeil has similar perks to other gold-plated jewelry but is friendlier to users who are allergic to nickel.
Developed to imitate platinum, white gold it is typically created by adding 25% nickel and zinc to pure gold. The lower the karat, the more “white” it will retain because the karat is increased by adding more pure, yellow gold. White gold rings are a lower-cost, lighter-weight alternative to platinum and palladium.
Gold jewelry is plated with rhodium to make it look whiter, enhance its shine, and to give it a harder surface. Keep in mind, the plating will wear away. It’s recommended to re-plate your jewelry every 1-2 years to keep it looking its best.
When in doubt, the most accurate way to tell is to take your item to a jeweler for appraisal, but here are several tests you could do at home to help you determine if your gold is real.
Does it have a stamp? If it IS real gold, it will have one of the followings stamps (typically on its inner sleeve) that represents the percentage of gold it contains:
16, 417, 10ct, 10kt, 10K, 10KP = 10 Karat
583, 585, 14ct, 14kt, 14K, 14KP = 14 Karat
750, 18ct, 18kt, 18K, 18KP = 18 Karat
916, 917, 22ct, 22kt, 22K = 22 Karat 999, 24K = 24 Karat
Note: Lack of one of the above stamps doesn’t always mean your gold jewelry isn’t pure. For example, if a ring was resized, the stamp may have been polished out or removed.
And, not all jewelry designers add a stamp. If it IS NOT real gold, it will have one of these stamps alone or along with the karat information that pertains to the part of the item that is gold alloy: 1/20, 14/20 or GF = Gold-filled (Brass core with a surface of 5% gold alloy) GP = Gold-plated (Brass core with a thinner surface of .05% or less gold alloy) HGE = Hydrostatic gold electroplating GEP = Gold electroplating 925 = Sterling silver
Does it make a black streak on ceramic? If it is real gold, it will make a gold mark on unfinished ceramic. If it’s not, it will leave a black streak.
Is it heavy? If it is real gold, it will be heavier than a piece of non-gold jewelry that is of equal size.
Is it discolored? If the surface of the jewelry is tarnished or discolored, it’s less likely to be pure as this is not typical of most gold.
No and Yes. Unless it’s 24K pure gold, it is an alloy and likely mixed with nickel – a common metal allergen – to make it stronger and less malleable. If you like the look of white gold, opt for hypoallergenic titanium as an alternative (and it costs less). If you are partial to yellow gold and don’t have an extreme metal allergy, the higher Karats of gold may work for you.
Yes, because it is considered to be rare and have a high economic value. Other precious metals include silver, platinum and palladium.
Pure 24-karat gold appears yellow but it isn’t always practical to purchase pure gold because it is soft, malleable and expensive.
This is why, as we’ve discussed, jewelers have come up with a method to mix gold with other stronger metals. Since these items are usually not more than 18-karat gold, the other metals influence the yellow color and yield an alloy with a different color.
When buying gold, you are not only limited to the golden yellow color. Here are some of the colors of gold you need to know:
Now that we’ve covered the different qualities of the different types of gold, it is time to buy! This begins with finding a retailer.
To select the right dealer, consider these tips:
One of the reasons why bigger companies like Tiffany & Co. add a very high premium to their products is the exclusivity of their designs. You won’t find a ring made by Tiffany & Co. at a Cartier outlet.
Gold prices are determined mainly by purity. But how can you know what the purity of the meal is? Here are some tips:
These are unique markings that are mostly found on inconspicuous parts of the item (i.e. inner circle of the ring, backs of earrings).
Some markings will indicate the karatage, which indicates the gold content, while others would put the percentage of purity. You may refer to the table below for the most common purity markings used around the world:
|Karatage||Percent Pure Gold||Karat Mark||European Mark|
Type of alloy: GF – gold filled, GP – gold plated
Base metal used: Pd – Palladium, Pt/Plat – Platinum, SS – stainless steel, S. Silver/Silver – Sterling Silver
Hang on to your thinking hats, because we’re about to get mathematical:
Let’s see. Assuming that gold is selling at $42.19 per gram, then the cost of your gold is $632.85: (18/24)*20*42.19 = 632.85.
But you are buying the item for $1300! Is that fair?
Keep reading for the answer…
You can expect to pay even a higher cost if the jewelry is custom-made for you. In this case, you are not just paying for the gold but for the design. If your seller is among the top-tier jewelers such as Cartier or Bulgari, they could sell an item at as much as ten times the value of the weight of gold. This is because along with the gold, you are purchasing the reliability of the product’s quality, the design which is usually made by notable jewelry designers, and of course the brand name.
Clearing your doubts doesn’t mean thinking positively and just leaving the fate of your jewelry to luck and complete trust. On the contrary, you have to be vigilant about your purchase especially when you are doing business with independent dealers.
But how to do this?
When you have already bought your gold, it doesn’t stop there. If you do not take good care of your jewelry, you might as well be setting money on fire… a bit dramatic but bear with us.
Remember the following tips, and your gold will be in good hands.
Cleaning your jewelry doesn’t have to be done very often. Sometimes, a simple dusting can be enough.
So, when should you do it and how to do it? Here are some tips:
Always remember, gold is more than just an ornament or a fashion statement. Gold is as good as money, with prices always on the rise, and for the foreseeable future, this will not change.
It’s been quite a year. Actually, one of the most delightful and surprising trends resulted in the fact that we became homebodies. Fashion didn’t hold quite the same appeal. Those with recession proof pocketbooks were looking way above and beyond a token to elevate their moods. They wanted major pick-me-ups in the form of treasure....
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