Your Crash Course Introduction to Gold used in Jewellery - KORYANGS

Your Crash Course Introduction to Gold used in Jewellery

Gold is one of the most recognisable precious metals. It is a noble metal valued since ancient times for its beauty and purity. While pure gold (known as 24-karat gold) is durable and resistant to tarnish and corrosion, in general is too soft for fine jewellery. Pure gold is alloyed with other metals, usually silver, copper, zinc, nickel or palladium (for white gold), to make it more durable and practical for everyday wear.

The quality of gold is based on the purity level and the unit of purity is measured in karats. A karat (abbreviated as k or K) is a unit from 1 to 24 that indicates the pure gold content of a piece of jewellery. Mixing, or alloying gold with other metals, results in a variety of karat levels. Lower karat jewellery is typically less expensive because it contains less gold but on the other hand, is harder and therefore more durable. 14K and 18K is the most common karat found in jewellery.

24 Karats

  • 0% pure gold, NO alloys added. 24k gold is very soft and therefore is not recommended for everyday wear.

18 Karats

  • 0% pure gold (18 parts out of 24), 25.0% alloy.
  • metal stamp – 18k or 750

14 Karats

  • 3% pure gold (14 parts out of 24), 41.7% alloy.
  • metal stamp – 14k, 583 or 585. Considered the most wearable type of gold.

10 Karats

  • 7% pure gold (10 parts out of 24), 58.3% alloy.
  • metal stamp – 10k or 417


Colours of Gold Jewellery 

Gold naturally occurs as yellow in colour but can also be mixed with different alloys to create other colours. 

Yellow Gold:

yellow gold ring image
  • Yellow gold is gold in its original, naturally occurring golden colour.
  • When used in jewellery, it is often mixed with sterling silver, copper, and zinc to give it added strength and durability. 

Rose Gold:

rose gold ring images
  • Rose gold, also known as pink gold, is created when pure gold is mixed with copper alloys.
  • The copper helps strengthen the metal and provides the pink hue rose gold is known for.

 White Gold:

white gold ring images

  • White gold is alloyed with other metals that are white in nature but- for example, nickel, palladium, and zinc- and usually has a rhodium plating to add strength and give it its bright white appearance.
  • Rhodium is a shiny, white metal that is extremely hard but wears off over time, meaning the item will need to be re-plated.


Types of Gold Jewellery:

While gold jewellery appears similar on the surface, depending on the process used to make them, they can vary significantly in quality and cost.



Image showing gold plated gold jewellery composition
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  • Gold-plated jewellery is made of a base metal like brass or copper that is covered in a thin layer of gold (0.05% gold or less).
  • The gold layer on gold-plated jewellery may fade or tarnish over time.
  • Usually the lowest cost option.



image showing gold filled jewellery composition
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  • Similar to gold-plated, gold-filled jewellery is made of a base metal covered in a layer of gold. Unlike gold plated, this has a thicker layer of gold surrounding the base metal. This layer of gold has been mechanically fused using pressure and heat bonding.
  • Gold-filled jewellery features nearly 100 times more gold than gold-plated jewellery, and because of the mechanical bonding process, the gold won’t fade over time.


Gold Vermeil:

image showing example of gold vermeil jewellery composition
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  • Pronounced “ver-may,” gold vermeil jewellery consists of a sterling silver base electroplated with thick gold plating. True vermeil includes 2.5 microns of gold and is an affordable alternative to karat gold jewellery.
  • Like gold-filled jewellery, it’s higher quality and more durable than gold-plated jewellery.

What is 18k Vermeil Plated Jewellery?


Solid Gold:

Image showing solid gold jewellery composition

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  • Solid gold is made entirely of gold with no base metal.
  • It comes in various karats (discussed above), with higher-karat jewellery corresponding with higher quality, purity and cost.



  • Gold can be affected by harsh chemicals such as bleach, chlorine, or other cleaning products so keep your jewellery away from them.
  • Gold jewellery should regularly be cleaned. For the best results, gently clean with a soft-bristled brush using detergent-free soap and warm water. Remove any excess detergent then dry promptly with lint free cloth.
  • You can also polish gold items with a jewellery polishing cloth. However, DO NOT clean plated gold with pre-treated jewellery cloth intended for items with no coating as they can break down and shorten the life of the gold or rhodium plating.
  • Store your gold jewellery in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from external factors and other jewellery that may scratch them.
  • It is recommended to get your gold jewellery professionally cleaned three to check settings and clasps.


    More Articles:

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    Different Categories of Jewellery
    Different Types of Hypoallergenic Metals for Jewellery and Methods for their Care



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