Gold, element Au, was one of the first known metals. It is a dense, lustrous, yellow, so durable that it is virtually indestructible, often found uncombined in nature. It does not change in color, rust or corrode or fade, and though it’s very strong, it is also the most malleable of all metals. Jewelry and other decorative objects have been crafted from gold for thousands of years because of its beauty and ease of workmanship
Pure gold is too soft for prolonged handling, so it is usually used in alloys with silver, copper, and other metals to increase its strength and produce a variety of colors. Karatage, noted by a number followed by "k" indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Karatage is expressed in 24ths, making 24k gold 100% gold. A gold karat is 1/24 part, or 4.1667 percent, of the whole, and the purity of a gold alloy is expressed as the number of these parts of gold it contains.
The color of gold is determined by two factors. One is the type of metal alloys included in it, and the other is the percentage of each metal alloy. Gold’s natural color is further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals. Jewelers create yellow, rose, green and white gold by using different alloys. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink gold; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper; green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.
The price of gold jewelry is dependent upon the purity of the gold used or karat weight, as well as the design and construction of the piece of jewelry. Gold Pricing is based on four factors: karatage, gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The karatage and gram weight tell a buyer how much gold is in a piece, but other crucial factors determining price are the piece’s construction and design. A price based solely on gram weight does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece.
Pure gold does not change in color or tarnish and it won’t discolor the skin. But when alloy is used to mix with gold, the gold can change and oxidize. Also human’s fat or acids in perspiration can start this change in gold. It usually gets worse in warm and damp areas where lots of salt is in the air. Sometimes, woman’s makeup can start the problem. As a result, a wearer should keep gold jewelry away from harsh chemicals such as chlorine and cleaning fluids. This will reduce daily abrasions and prolong gold’s luster. To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap and wash gold gently with a soft-bristled brush. Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing. Keep gold jewelry free from dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup. Also, a wearer should store gold pieces separately in soft cloth bags or original boxes to protect them from the exposure to harsh daily elements when not being worn. A wearer can bring gold jewelry to a local jeweler and have it steam-cleaned.
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