Gold In Its Many Forms
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Gold filled is a great option if you are looking for the look and feel of real gold at only a fraction of the price. Gold filled almost always comes in 14ct gold is made by bonding 14ct gold to brass - please note that gold plated or gold rolled sterling silver is not gold filled and in the USA it is illegal to say otherwise. In a majority of cases gold filled contains hundreds of times more gold than gold plated and because it is bonded to the brass it has superior strength and will last the test of time. In order to be classed as gold filled the gold content must be 5% or more of the total metal weight, gold plated generally consists of a layer of gold 100 millionths of an inch thick which is very thin and can easily wear off.
All the gold filled items I sell are completely nickel free and are great for those people with sensitive skin.
Gold Vermeil is a slightly cheaper option than gold filled but at the same time is an inferior choice if you after gold that will last. Gold vermeil is when a gold plating (usually 1 micron) is laid over a sterling silver base. But please be sure to check that this is the case when buying gold vermeil as it can as be made with cheaper base metals such as bronze, brass, copper or other cheaper metals.
All the gold vermeil items I sell are completely nickel free and are great for those people with sensitive skin.
Gold plated normally only contains a layer of gold 100 millionths of an inch thick which is applied using chemicals. This amount can vary for better or worse and if stated as "gold-flashed" or "gold-washed" it means that the plating is less than 7 millionths of an inch thick. The gold used can be anything from just a gold coloured plating containing no actual gold all the way upto a 24ct pure gold plating. The base metals used will vary greatly in quality with the best options being brass, copper, bronze and sterling silver. Metals such as iron are cheaper metals which are lower quality, it is also a good idea to check if items are nickel free to help prevent potential allergic reactions.
Solid Gold is of course the most expensive and luxurious choice with a variety of gold contents to choose from. As the gold content gets higher (24ct being the highest) the gold gets softer. I stock mainly 14ct gold because I find 9ct gold to be to hard and 18ct to be to soft, I also know a few people with highly sensitive skin who can not wear anything under 14ct gold as it causes irritations.
9ct - 38.5% pure.
10ct - 41.7% pure.
12ct - 50% pure.
14ct - 58.3% pure.
15ct (seen in antiques) - 62.5% pure.
18ct - 75% pure.
19ct (used in Portugal) - 79.2% pure.
20ct - 83% pure.
22ct - 91.6% pure.
24ct - 100% pure.
MINIMUM GOLD CONTENT
In different countries there are different restrictions on what can actually be called gold. In Australia the minimum content is 37.5% or 9ct, if the gold content is any lower it can not be called gold. The minimum amount will vary from country to country some examples of the minimum content in different countries are as follows:
England and Canada 9ct.
United States 10ct.
Italy and France 18ct.
Gold comes in a variety of colours which are produces by mixing the gold with other metals which affect its colouring. Below is a list of the gold colours as well as the metals that the gold is combined with to create the different colours
Yellow Gold - Gold, Copper, Silver
White Gold - Gold, Nickel, Zinc, Silver, Palladium
Green Gold - Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc
Pink, Red, Rose Gold - Gold, Copper
Nickel: White gold in a most cases contains nickel and if this is the case should not be worn by anyone who is allergic to nickel unless it has been Rhodium plated. Sometimes Palladium is used instead of nickel but it does make the gold more expensive than usual. Which is one reason why white gold is often rhodium plated to help stop allergic reactions. Unless the white gold contains Palladium it should be a very similar price as the same product in yellow gold, but in many cases you will find that this is not the case as many places will charge higher prices for white gold as if it does contain Palladium when in fact it has been made with nikel.
Pure gold does not discolour or tarnish but when gold starts to be diluted with other metals this is when discolouration ect can occur. Many different factors affect what can cause discolouration of gold and of the wearers skin with things like warm, damp and/or salty air often being the cause. Some of the other causes include: acid levels in a persons skin, makeup rubbing on jewellery and fats released with persperation. To combat these probelms simply clean your jewellery regularly or switch to a higher gold content which can limit the problem or stop it all together. Please note that many people will never have to worry about any of this as a majority of people never have these problems.
Rhodium is the most expensive precious metal and is part of the platinum family. It is a rare silvery-white transition metal which is very hard in nature making it perfect for plating metals like silver and gold because it lasts longer than other platings. It is unaffected by acids and corrosion meaning it stops tarnishing and because it is part of the platnium family it is perfect for people with sensitive skin. When applied to silver it gives it a deeper white gold or platnium look adding that touch of class.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.