A lustrous beauty: Why gold has been loved for generations.
Of all the precious metals, gold has the most colourful history. It is at the heart of countless legends. Wars have been fought over gold, lives have been ruined in the quest for it, and fortunes have been made by those lucky enough to discover it. Gold has been used as currency, is a traded commodity, and is a highly sought after metal in many industries. But most of all, gold is valued for its beauty, a lustrous beauty that never fades making it the perfect symbol of everlasting love and devotion.
Nothing is as good as Gold
Gold is the only precious metal that combines beauty, rarity, durability and workability. It is this unique combination of characteristics that makes it such a treasured possession the world over.
Gold’s naturally intense colour and distinctive lustre combine to give this precious metal its lasting beauty. When gold is combined with small amounts of other metals, subtle and exquisite changes in tint can be achieved. Gold jewellery is available in many colours, including the readily available yellow, white and rose and, to a lesser extent, shades of blue, green and purple.
Even though gold is found all over the world, and is present within the earth, in rivers and seas, it is extremely difficult to extract just one ounce of gold, which makes the process very costly indeed.
Gold does not rust, tarnish or corrode. It virtually lasts forever. When gold treasure was found within the ancient pyramids or fathoms deep in wrecked treasure ships it was just as bright and alluring as the day it was made. Gold can be re-melted time and time again and can be made into a huge variety of jewellery items.
Understanding Gold carats
As pure gold (99.9% pure), known as 24ct Gold, is quite soft and easily scratched or bent it's almost never used in jewellery. Jewellers mix 24ct Gold with other alloys like copper or silver to make a gold which is more durable for jewellery and everyday wear. The most popular gold carats in Australia are:
- 22ct Gold is a very vibrant coloured metal which is best used to create small special occasion jewellery peices which are not often worn. This is because the gold is still extremely soft and would not take a lot of wear and tear.
It is 91.6% pure gold and stamped with the numbers 916.
- 18ct Gold is most commonly used in women's engagement & wedding rings in Australia as it will hold up to everyday wear and tear well over time yet is still bright and radiant in colour.
It is 75% pure gold and stamped with the numbers 750.
- 9ct Gold is a popular choice in Australia for men's wedding rings and most everyday jewellery pieces as the metal is harder and more resistant to microscopic scratches and being bent out of shape however the colour is more dull than 18 or 22ct pieces.
It is 37.5% pure gold and stamped with the numbers 375. This is the minimum purity level to be sold in Australia.
Overseas, you may find alternative gold carats available depending on the countries historical & cultural preferences and regulatory framework.
In the USA, it is common for a jewellery stores to sell 10ct (stamped 417) gold jewellery at a minimum, with 14ct (stamped 583) gold jewellery being the most popular. Countries like England and Germany favour 8ct (stamped 333) gold for wedding bands with other jewellery ranging from 14-18ct.
India and Turkey typically choose 22ct Gold for their wedding jewellery to signify the depth of the wearers love and commitment.
The colour variations of gold
The colour of pure gold is yellow. But when other metals are added, a number of subtle colour tints can be achieved. For instance, Rose gold is a blend of gold and copper. White gold is a blend of gold, silver and palladium.
White Gold is actually a dull yellow so as an industry standard, White gold is rhodium plated to form a strong, high shine protective bond however to maintain it’s lustre, needs to be re-plated occasionally.