First things first, did you know that there are more than nine types of gold? When you see “gold” in a product description, it’s most likely referring to gold-plated jewelry, which has little to no pure gold. Gold purity is defined by its karatage (carat), and pure gold (24 karat) is too soft for jewelry. So, gold usually refers to an alloy, which is a mixture of gold and other metals.
Gold-filled jewelry contains 100x more gold alloy than gold-plated jewelry. This is because the coating is thicker, and gold-filled jewelry will last longer and resist wear and tear better than gold-plated.
When you shop online, and all the description says is 'gold', more than likely it is gold plated or some alloy that has little to no pure gold.
Gold purity is defined by its karatage (or more well-known as carat). Solid gold (or 100% gold) is too soft for any type of jewelry, so 'gold' usually refers to an alloy, which is a mixture of gold and some other metal. Karatages identified as soft are prone to scratch easily.
24 karat = 100% gold Too soft for fine jewelry
22 karat = 91.7% gold Too soft for fine jewelry
18 karat = 75.0% gold Ideal for fine jewelry
14 karat = 58.3% gold Ideal for fine jewelry
10 karat = 41.7% gold Ideal for fine jewelry
14k/20 Gold filled = 5% gold Ideal for fine jewelry
Gold vermeil = 0.5-1% gold Not suitable for fine jewelry
Gold plated = 0.05% gold Not suitable for fine jewelry
Lastly, gold-plated jewelry only contains 0.05% gold and is not recommended for everyday wear.
If the layer of gold is just a color imitation, it is not actually gold. However, if it is gold-plated, it contains 0.03-0.05% solid gold and tarnishes quickly. Gold-filled jewelry, on the other hand, contains 5% solid gold and is bonded permanently onto the base metal using heat and pressure. Even though it is an alloy, the thick layer of gold prevents tarnishing, making it suitable for everyday wear. Gold vermeil contains 0.5-1% solid gold and is electroplated, making it a good choice for those sensitive to other metals.
To summarize, gold-filled jewelry is an excellent choice for everyday wear. It contains 5% solid gold and has a thick layer that prevents tarnishing. Sterling silver and Argentium silver are also great choices for fine jewelry, containing 92.5% silver. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for the perfect piece of jewelry, and you’re sure to find something beautiful that fits your style and budget.
Taking care of your jewelry is as crucial as selecting the appropriate materials. Even solid gold and fine silver can lose their shine over time, and a few care tips can significantly extend the life of your jewelry.
SHOULD YOU AVOID WATER?
In short, yes, you should. The long answer depends on how often you change your jewelry. If you frequently change your jewelry, you can dip it in water occasionally. However, if you wear jewelry daily and hardly ever take it off, it's recommended that you only purchase gold-filled, sterling silver, or solid gold pieces so that you can make contact with water without fear of tarnishing.
ALSO AVOID OTHER TOXINS.
Avoid exposing your jewelry to household chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, or swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage the metal. Also, avoid other acids such as perfumes, sprays, or any acidic materials that could cause your jewelry to change color over time.
A COUPLE OF LAST TIPS TO EXTEND YOUR JEWELRY'S LIFE.
With proper care, your fine jewelry pieces will last a lifetime. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your jewelry in a cloth pouch or a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Be mindful of not banging your jewelry against hard surfaces, as both solid gold and fine silver are soft.
Cleaning your jewelry every few months will keep them in tip-top shape. If you forget to remove your rings while cooking or baking, use warm water, soap, and a soft cloth to clean your gold-filled or sterling silver jewelry.
Be sure to explore our range of gold-filled jewelry while you're here!