All About Gold
The colors of gold: Gold is manufactured in many colors. There is yellow gold, green gold, pink gold, and red gold. The way that different colored gold is derived is through a melting/refining process. 14K gold also hallmarked (stamped) as 585 in Europe is not 100% pure or 24K gold. The gold content is 58.555% pure gold. The remaining substances melted and refined together with gold are other alloys or base metals such as copper, silver, etc. For example; a certain percent of copper mixed with a certain percent of silver, refined with the given 58.555% pure gold will yield a particular colored gold.
Hallmarks: A hallmark is a stamped indentation on the gold, usually found on the inside bottom of a ring or on a clasp or lock of a chain, bracelet, or necklace.
Warning: Finding a 14K or 18K marking on a piece of jewelry does in no way guarantee that it is a piece of gold.
A hallmark can be stamped on any base metal besides and including gold. Also, some custom or high quality less commercial pieces of designer jewelry have no hallmarks. This does not infer that you are not buying gold. Purchase your jewelry from reliable sources and make sure that on the sales receipt, the description of what you are purchasing is definitive. Plumb gold means that the 14K or 18K stamp represents that the gold content is 58.555% pure gold not 57%, not 13 3/4K or 12 1/2K, but truly 14K.
Hallmarks / Gold Content
10K = 41.67%
12K = 50%
14K or 585 = 58.555%
18K or 750 = 75%
24K = 100%
K = Karat
KP = Karat Plumb
KGF = Gold Filled (not gold)
KEP = Electroplated (not gold)
Also: Next to the gold hallmark, a manufacturer might have their company's initials or country where the item was manufactured; such as 14k Italy or 750 Italy.
Note: Many times in the past, customers have told me that Italian gold is only manufactured in 18K or 750. This is a myth. In Italy, for their own consumption, this is true, but for export to the United States, Italy produces both 14K and 18K.
Testing Gold: There are several ways to test the content of gold. One way is the old tried and true method of acid testing. This is accomplished by scratching gold onto a piece of smooth slate or filing an indent into the piece of gold and dropping a specially mixed acid strength of 10K, 14K or 18K solution onto the gold mark on the slate or into the indent, that you filed. If you are testing for 14K, you use the 14k solution, etc. If the gold bubbles or fizzers in the indent it is not gold, if on the slate the gold mark fades completely away, it is not gold. If the mark faded slightly it could not be plumb or it is gold plated. There are electronic testers available.
Weights: There are two popular standards of measurement for weighing gold in the U.S. DWT (pennyweight) and Grams.
I use an online converter to figure out the different weights.
Note: By saying a piece of gold jewelry weighs 60 Grams, sounds a lot heavier then saying it weighs 39 pennyweights. Both weights are the same, but this is the reason many jewelers use the Gram method of weighing.
Truths & Myths:
Some times by wearing jewelry your skin will turn black in color, either on your finger from wearing a ring or your ear lobe from wearing earrings. As previously mentioned gold is refined with other alloys, it is the acid in your body that is mixing with the other alloys besides the gold that is having a chemical reaction. This can happen only during certain times, not always. A suggestion: Brush some clear nail polish on the jewelry where it is making contact with your skin. This forms a barrier between your bodies acids and the alloys, to prevent the blackening of your skin.
14 K white gold is stronger then 14 K yellow gold. True, white gold is not refined with copper, which makes it stronger then yellow gold.
18 K gold is stronger then 14 k gold. False, the higher the gold content the lower amount of other refined alloys, the softer the piece of jewelry is.
Buying Basic Gold:
First you must learn to distinguish between a basic bracelet, chain, etc., that is commercially manufactured and a more exotic piece of jewelry. There is a manufacturing cost difference between these two types that needs to be considered. If you find out the weight of gold of a particular piece of jewelry and divide that into the selling price, you can then comparison shop between jewelers. Keep in mind to ask for either gram or penny weight. Do not mix. Always compare apples to apples in styling and design. You need a fair comparison. Of course, this method only applies to jewelry with out any colored stones or diamonds. Always compare 14k to 14k and 18k to 18k, etc