Frequently Asked Questions: Gold

Gold is one of the most popular metals to make jewelry out of. I’ve had several people ask interesting questions about gold, since it’s so popular, and I thought to share the answers so that more people can learn about this beautiful metal! If you have any questions I haven’t answered, drop a comment or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to answer!

Q: Why is gold so expensive?

A: Gold is a very rare metal, and difficult to extract. Gold is only 4 parts per billion of earth’s crust! So finding it, and then extracting it, is a time-consuming process. Add to that the desirability of gold, and it starts to make sense how it demands such a high price.

Q: What makes gold so popular?

A: There are several reasons. It has a beautiful luster, appearing very shiny in light. It’s a workable metal, meaning it can be used in jewelry and maintain its shape without breaking. It’s durable, long lasting and can stand up to most normal wear. It also resists corrosion. And we can’t forget that gorgeous golden color!

Q: What do the different karats mean?

A: Pure gold is 24 karats. This means it is 99.9% pure. All other karats are alloys, mixed with other metals such as silver and copper. Alloys increase the strength and hardness of the metal. Items made from a gold alloy are stamped with either the karat, such as 10k, or a number representing the percentage, such as 417, to represent this. There are several popular karat alloys in the US:

10K = 10/24 karats, 41.7% pure gold.

14K = 14/24 karats, 58.5% pure gold.

18K = 18/24 karats, 75.0% pure gold.

Q: Is it possible to use pure gold in jewelry?

A: Pure gold is difficult to work with because it’s so soft. People generally make jewelry with no more than 22 karat gold, to make sure it can handle being worn without bending or breaking.

Q: How do they make different colors of gold?

A: When an alloy is created, the metals mixed in with the gold influence the color. More copper makes a rose color, more silver adds a green tone, and nickel or palladium makes white gold.

A beautiful example of how gold shines, this piece has both white and yellow gold to make a stunning mounting for the canary diamond set in it.

Some information has been taken from the GIA Colored Stones Essentials Course