Timeless beauty, tantalising and enticing, gold has long been regarded a symbol of wealth and power. First discovered in ancient times, gold is considered one of Earth's most precious metals.
Pure gold jewellery never goes out of style; it retains its value, is long-lasting, can be manipulated into any shape, and has been used for over 6,000 years to make precious jewellery pieces.
Derived from the Indo-European word for "yellow", gold is most notable for its colour. Aside from its extraordinary lustre, gold has amazing physical characteristics, making it ideal for use in jewellery. One ounce of gold (28 grams) can be hammered into just over 17 square meters of extremely thin sheets called gold leaf. Gold does not tarnish or corrode, and can be re-melted and used over again to create fresh designs.
Because pure gold is too soft to handle on its own, other metals are added to the gold, resulting in an alloy; this is a blended mixture ensuring durability necessary for use in jewellery. Most gold jewellery is alloyed with silver, copper, and small amounts of zinc to produce various shades of yellow gold, or with nickel, copper and zinc to produce white gold.
Pink or rose gold is created when zinc alloy is added to gold, while palladium and nickel alloy create white gold, with further enhancement using rhodium plating, producing a highly reflective white surface. Over time and use, the rhodium plating on white gold jewellery may wear off and the white gold will lose its brightness. In this case, it's necessary to have the jewellery re-rhodium plated by your jeweller.
Just as gold comes in various colours, it also comes in different purities. The fineness (purity) of the gold is measured in caratage (carat/ct or karat/k, as used in the USA), the term used to describe how pure the gold metal is, not to be confused with carats, the unit of measurement for diamonds and gemstones.
Pure gold is 24 carats, very soft and generally unsuitable for use in jewellery, unless combined with an alloy. The carat indicates how many parts out of 24 in the gold alloy are gold. So, 24ct gold is 24/24 parts gold (in other words, pure gold), and 18ct gold is 18/24 parts pure gold and 6/24 parts other metal. The more alternative metals added to pure gold, the lower the carat.
To break it down even further:
|24ct gold||pure gold|
|18ct gold||75%||18 parts gold, 6 parts of one or more additional metals|
|14ct gold||58.3%||14 parts gold, 10 parts of one or more additional metals|
|12ct gold||50%||12 parts gold, 12 parts of one or more additional metals|
|9ct gold||37.5%||9 parts gold, 15 parts of one or more additional metals|
The majority of our gold jewellery is available in 9ct gold, but we do stock 18ct gold jewellery too. For pieces that will last a lifetime and beyond, buy the highest quality gold jewellery your budget will allow.