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A Complete Guide to Gold Jewelry: Techniques, Types, & More

Throughout history, gold has been prized for its natural beauty and radiance. For this reason, gold has been used in jewelry for ages. Gold is an enduring element that is resistant to rust, tarnish, corrosion, and it’s also the most malleable of all precious metals.


Interestingly, most of the gold jewelry is not 24 karat gold. Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability. Karatage, denoted by a number followed by “k” indicates purity, or how much gold is in a piece of jewelry. Karatage is expressed in 24ths.

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 Not acceptable for jewelry

When selecting gold jewelry, it is important to think of the exposure that the piece will receive in everyday use. For jewelry that isn’t exposed to daily activities, such as necklaces and earrings, 14-18k is appropriate. Additionally, because gold jewelry is made with an alloy, a variety of colors are available when selecting your gold.


The color of gold is determined by two factors: type of metal alloys included and the percentage of each metal alloy


Natural gold and color-saturated alloys are what give yellow gold jewelry its rich shine. The alloys most commonly used are copper with a red hue and silver featuring a green hue. An expert mixture of copper, silver, and pure gold gives this precious metal its signature warmth.

Additionally, yellow gold is the most versatile engagement ring band when selecting a diamond. Diamond color ranges from whites to warmer hues. Yellow gold accentuates the white of the diamond allowing warmer gems to seem whiter.


A silvery white character is what makes white gold jewelry so appealing. In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. Although strong, rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that can be done to restore whiteness to your jewelry.

White gold has become an increasingly popular engagement ring choice in the past century due to the similar look of platinum. Platinum is a popular choice for a wedding band because it is about 30 times more rare than gold and is able to be made with a purer alloy. However, to the naked eye white gold and platinum look very similar and most people can’t spot the difference.


The beautiful pink hue of rose gold jewelry is created by using a copper alloy. Again, the overall percentage of metal alloys is the same for rose gold as it is for yellow or white, but there is just a different mixture in what alloys are used.

In the past few decades, rose gold has gained the attention of many due to its romantic look. This type of gold is popular because it can be used for both his and her wedding bands. Similar to yellow gold, the tint of the pink allows warmer diamonds to appear lighter.


It is important to remember that after purchasing gold jewelry there are many steps to take to maintain the glow and value of your gold.


If possible, having a separate box for each gold piece is ideal, however, simply separating each piece with an individual cloth works just as well. This will help the gold from rubbing off on each other and protects them from entangling. Additionally, it is important to be cautious about where you wear your gold. Activities that involve harsh chemicals or environments should be avoided while wearing gold, such as the beach and pool.


Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend removing gold jewelry when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster. There are techniques for cleaning at home, however, we don’t recommend them as they can lead to damage. When it comes to deep cleaning we offer our professional services here at Brittany’s and are more than happy to bring the shine back into your favorite piece.


While shopping for the perfect piece of jewelry can be stressful for any occasion, these tips will surely make your experience simpler. Gold’s natural beauty creates fine jewelry that is perfect for any occasion. View our gold jewelry pieces in our showroom to find your next dazzling accessory.