Throughout history gold was used in decorating tombs and houses of worship on all continents. However, the first objects made of gold, dated 5 millenniums ago were discovered in Egypt.
British explorers Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1923 found the tomb of Tutankhamun filled with state of the art gold articles.
In 1876 a notorious German treasure hunter discovered a huge number of different works of art made of pure gold in the ancient citadel of Mycenie located in the mid-eastern Peloponnese of Greece.
These beautiful objects of art were crafted by local artists in the middle of the 4th century B.C. Gold has always occurred in its pure form, not mixed with other metals. Because of it's color and durability, gold remains the favorite material for creating the most admirable objects of art and jewelry.
Pure (100%) gold is too soft, and is usually mixed with other metal alloys (silver, copper, nickel and zinc) to make it stronger and more durable for jewelry.
What is a karat?
The karat indicates the amount of pure gold in the metal. The higher the karat, the higher the percentage of pure gold in the metal.
Why is 18k gold more valuable than 14k gold?
18k gold contains a higher (75%) percentage of pure gold than 14k gold (58.3%).
What kind of markings can be found on gold jewelry?
You should see a marking such as '14k' or '18k' to indicate the karat, and you may sometimes also see the manufacturers registered trademark or the country of origin.
What is the difference between yellow, white, & rose gold?
Pure gold (which is always yellow) is too soft for making jewelry. The metal alloys that are mixed with pure gold for strength can also modify the resulting color to produce different shades of yellow, white, and pink gold. White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum, and usually contains 25% nickel and zinc.
What other factors determine the value of a gold jewelry piece?
There are many other factors that determine the value of a gold jewelry piece:
Weight - gold is sold by weight - grams(gr) or pennyweights(pwt), the heavier the piece, the higher the gold content, therefore it is more expensive.
Design - designer jewelry is more expensive, especially if it is a one of a kind piece.
Finish - special finishes to the metal such as matte, or sand-blasted finish add to the cost of the gold jewelry piece.
How do I care for my gold jewelry?
You could take good care of your jewelry by following a few simple steps:
- Avoid contact with soap, perfume, cosmetics and hairspray.
- Take chains and bracelets off at night, and store them flat to prevent them from breaking.
- Use a gentle soft cloth to polish gold jewelry after wearing.