Guide to Precious Metals

Gold

goldOf all metals, gold is the most malleable. This means that it can be worked for the longest amount of time without cracking. When flattened to 0.000005 inch (0.13 micrometers), gold becomes a thin foil, almost transparent to light. Gold is also the most elastic of all metals, meaning that 1 ounce (28.4 g) of pure gold can be drawn into a wire several miles (km) long.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is made by adding silver and copper to pure gold, and the more copper that is added, the redder the metal will become. The working properties of yellow gold vary depending on the percentages of the alloy.

Green Gold

Green gold is made with pure gold and 30 to 40 percent silver, cadmium, and zinc. This alloy is quite malleable and very easy to work with.

Gold Filled

The term gold filled does not refer to an alloy. It means that a thin layer of gold has been soldered or otherwise mechanically adhered to a layer of base metal, commonly brass or silver, and then drawn or flattened to a specific dimension.

Karats

In the United States, a measurement called a karat is used to specify the purity of gold. As shown in the table, gold alloys are organized into different karats based on their proportions of gold. Twenty-four-karat gold represents the metal in its purest form. Although it is has the richest orange-yellow color, 24-karat gold is also the softest gold. Eighteen- karat gold is harder and more durable than 24-karat gold. It is available in many colors and is easy to work with. Both 14-karat gold and 12-karat gold are duller in color than the higher karats, but they are most commonly used in commercial jewelry in the US due to their relative cost. European countries do not allow the use of 14-karat or 12- karat gold in jewelry. Their measurement system, based on parts of gold per 1000, is detailed in table below. Different gold suppliers use slightly different alloys for making various karats and colors. We use the same gold supplier to maintain consistency in the color and character of the metal.

Fine Gold Percentage

Karat System

Carat Mark

European System

European Mark

100%

24kt

24ct

1000 parts

999

91.6%

22kt

22ct

916 parts

916

75%

18kt

18ct

750 parts

750

58.5%

14kt

14ct

585 parts

585

37.5%

9kt

9ct

375 parts

375

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