beautiful jewelry items.
Gold is one of our most valuable and precious metals. It is also very malleable and soft. Did you happen to know that? A mere ounce of the stuff can be stretched into a fine wire about 5 miles long. If you were to pound that same ounce of gold, it would form a thin sheet that could cover 100 square feet. It won't corrode or rust, so it will last almost indefinitely. It is also all around us. It is in our seas and rivers and bodies of water. It is in the crust of the earth that is beneath our feet. It is also in our plant life. Unfortunately, it is very hard to locate and extract, so it is very expensive as well. It takes about 2.5 to 3 tons of gold ore in order to make 1oz of pure gold.
Jewelry's Most Popular Metal
The most popular metal in the modern jewelry of today is gold. More specifically, You can find many different forms of heart jewelry that use gold. In terms of one single jewelry item, it is without a doubt the "simple gold wedding band" (since weddings are so popular). As we mentioned, gold is malleable and soft, it can't really be utilized in its pure form. It must be mixed with other metals in order to make it more strong and durable. Do you know what combining two or more metals is called? The resulting metal is called an alloy, and most of the gold that we use in our jewelry today is found in the form of an alloy. What types of gold jewelry are there you ask? Consider:
(1) 18k gold jewelry,
(2) 14k gold jewelry,
(3) Indian gold jewelry,
(4) White gold jewelry,
(5) Gold jewelry,
(6) 24k gold jewelry,
(7) Rose gold jewelry,
(8) Gold body jewelry,
(9) Wholesale gold jewelry,
(10) Gold charm jewelry,
(11) 22k gold jewelry,
(12) Gold horse jewelry,
(13) Gold plated jewelry,
(14) Other cool gold jewelry items.
Do you know where the word karat comes from? It is derived from the word for the fruit of the carob tree. Here are some derivations: in Arabic we have qirat, in Greek we have keration, and in Italian the word carato. You see, the seeds of the carob tree's fruit were used in ancient times for measuring precious gems. Since the pure gold Byzantine coin (called the solidus by the way) weighed 24 karats, the 24 karat mark (24 KT or 24K) became the symbol used to indicate that an item was pure gold.
Which is Which: Karats or Carats?
When we talk about gold we often hear the term carat (or karat). Bugs bunny preferred to be paid in carrots, but that is another item all together. When you are paid in carats, well, then you are really talking about some major money. In jewelry terms, the carat has a double meaning. It is used as a measurement of weight for gemstones (one carat is usually equivalent to 1/5 gram), but in some countries it can also be used to denote the amount of pure gold in a piece of gold jewelry. In the United States, when we want to indicate the gold content rather than the weight, we use a "k", such as "karat", to avoid any confusion that may arise.
24K gold (at least in most instances) is too soft to be used in jewelry. In some regions of the world they prefer to use 18K or 20K because (A) of its brighter yellow color and (B) for the simple fact that it is closer to being pure 24K gold. In the United States 14K or 18K is preferred above the others because it is more durable.
There is a new alloy on the way that we should mention. Gold 990 is an alloy of pure gold and only a small amount of titanium. This means you have almost pure gold, with greatly increased durability. This alloy is of "straw color", and is similar to the look of 14K gold, so those looking for that 24K gold look should look further. Still, if you are looking for a way to have "almost pure" gold and better durability, this alloy may suit you great.
This brings us to the question "In order for something to be called gold, how many carats must the item be?" The rules for this vary, depending upon the country. In the United States, in order for an item to be called "gold" it has to be at least 10K. In France and Italy it must be 18K, while in Canada and England the number is 9K.
Is All Gold Yellow?
Gold is mostly associated with the color yellow, but not all gold is yellow. Why is this? For starters, pure 24K gold is always yellow in color. As mentioned earlier, since pure gold is too soft and malleable for jewelry use, and since countries have different standards for what "gold" means, you can change the color of "gold" by exchanging the alloys that you happen to add to it. Here's the formula: Yellow gold is made up of gold, copper and silver. Green gold is made up of gold, silver, copper, and zinc. White gold is comprised of gold, nickel, silver, zinc, palladium and platinum. Pink (or red) gold is composed of gold, copper, and sometimes a tiny amount of silver.
Ever Heard of Underkarating?
There is one more thing that we should talk about before we leave this subject of carats and karats. When you are purchasing a piece of jewelry you should be concerned about underkarating. This is a serious problem in many areas around the world, so be sure to purchase your jewelry from a reliable jewelry store or reliable jewelry outlet. Underkarating means that although the jewelry item is marked to indicate a certain amount of jewelry content it can contain less than the amount indicated. Jewelers who sell underkarated jewelry will sometimes boast about the fact that you are "getting a bargain" In actuality you are not getting anything of the sort. Since the jewelry item they are selling you contains less gold and more alloy than what is indicated, what kind of a bargain is that? As always, the buyer must beware. Only purchase jewelry items from reliable sources.
What is the Manufacturer's Registered Trademark?
You should always look for a manufacturer's registered trademark on any gold jewelry item you purchase. It is located near the karat mark, and manufacturers take this trademark very seriously. In addition, as more and more jewelers get concerned about being held liable, they are willing to only purchase jewelry items from manufacturers who are willing to stand by what they sell. This trademark can be traced back to the very people who made this jewelry, and their reputation is on the line. They won't dare mess up in this particular area.
How To Resolve Skin Discoloration
Have you noticed that sometimes you have skin discoloration when you wear jewelry? Why is that? It is not the pure gold that is causing this. Pure gold does not tarnish, and as a result will not discolor the skin. It is the alloys that are added to the pure gold that are causing this discoloration effect. This happens mostly under moist or damp conditions. These alloys mix with the fatty acids that are present in your perspiration, and this can set up a corrosive reaction. This problem can be even worse in those areas where there is salt in the air, so if you plan a trip to the beach with your gold jewelry...beware.
Oh and one more thing we should talk about. Metallic abrasion that is caused by some makeup is another common cause of discoloration. Some makeup contains compounds that are actually harder than the jewelry in which they are coming into contact with? Did you know that? As these compounds rub and grind against the jewelry you are wearing they can cause some of the gold to flake off. The result is a dark looking "dust". When this "dust" makes contact with your sweaty skin, a black smudge is what is left over.
And The Solution Is?
Now that we have identified the problem, what is the solution to discoloration resulting from jewelry? You need to get into the habit of removing the jewelry often and washing the skin that it is coming into contact with. Plain soap and water is the preferred solution. Oh and remember to keep your jewelry clean as well. You should wipe the jewelry periodically with a nice soft cloth to remove any tarnish that may "build up". It might also be a good idea to use a body powder that is free of abrasions on all areas of your skin that will be in contact with the jewelry you wish to wear.
Why not check and see if a similar piece of jewelry is available from another manufacturer? You may find that one jewelry item causes discoloration while a similar looking one does not. This doesn't necessarily mean that one piece is inferior to another mind you. Jewelry manufacturers often use different alloys (or different combinations of alloys) in jewelry development. Although the pieces may look the same, one piece of jewelry may cause discoloration while another may not.
You know, you can always switch to a more pure form of gold jewelry. This could resolve the problem. After all, it is these alloys that are causing the problem, and if you move more in the direction of pure gold...problem solved.
We hope you enjoyed our Free Gold Guide Tour into the World of Gold Jewelry and Skin Discoloration. If you would like to learn a bit more, please visit our blog. We do focus on heart jewelry primarily, but we also provide general information regarding the history of jewelry, and where you can purchase other great jewelry items.
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