Though not the most valuable of precious metals, gold has always held a particular fascination. In part because of its density, it is often worth much more than silver. Some people purchase gold as an investment because its value tends to remain fairly stable. However, many people don’t want to merely own gold; they also enjoy buying gold jewellery to wear.
Perhaps the appeal of gold jewellery is its warm glow or the sparkle it can take on under the right conditions. Whatever the reason, it has always been highly sought after and always will be. The downside of gold’s popularity is that some people try to take advantage of it to make money selling gold-appearing ornaments that are ultimately worthless. To be sure you make a good purchase, here are some of the most important things to look for when buying gold jewellery.
Gold purity is measured in units called karats. The purest gold is 24 karats. However, 24-karat gold jewellery is relatively rare. Gold is a soft, malleable metal, which comes in handy when moulding it into different shapes for ornamental purposes. However, jewellery-makers often use an alloy of gold mixed with another metal, such as copper, in part to harden it so that it does not lose its shape over time. In Canada and the United States, most gold jewellery is either 14 or 18 karats. To be classified as 18 karats, a piece of jewellery must be 75% pure gold, while a 14-karat piece is 58.5%.
You can find out the purity of a piece of gold jewellery, as well as other relevant information, by looking for a hallmark. The hallmark can indicate the piece’s purity in karats, denoted by the letter K. Sometimes a three-digit number is used instead, so that an 18-karat gold necklace may bear a mark reading “750,” meaning that it is 75% pure gold. In addition to communicating the gold’s purity, the hallmark may also bear a maker’s mark, indicating who created it and an assayer’s mark, showing that it has been independently tested.
3. Plating or Bonding
Because gold is expensive, there are methods used to give jewellery the appearance of gold at an affordable price. Two ways to do this are plating and bonding. Jewellery that is gold-plated has a thin layer of usually 24-karat gold applied to the surface of a piece made of a baser metal, such as copper or nickel. The gold plating eventually wears off, revealing what is underneath.
Bonded gold or rolled gold jewellery has a thicker layer of gold applied more permanently to a base metal or alloy using pressure and heat. Another term for jewellery made using this method is gold-filled. A piece of this nature will have a mark indicating the purity of the gold used in carats and that gold represents at least 20% of the total metal content, which is a requirement for gold-filled pieces. Therefore, an 18-karat gold-filled piece should bear a mark that looks like this: 18/20. This mark should not be confused with a hallmark.
Whether due to laziness or an intent to deceive, some jewellers or sellers fail to make clear that a piece is gold plated or bonded. That’s why it is important to pay attention to marks and labelling. For example, since 24-karat gold jewellery is rarely, if ever produced, any piece advertised as 24-karat gold is probably plated.
Buying Gold Jewellery From a Trusted Source
When you’re starting out buying gold jewellery, it is important to turn first to a well-established, reputable dealer. Colonial Acres has been selling genuine gold for nearly three decades. When you buy from us, you not only know the pieces you acquire are high quality, but you begin educating yourself in recognizing genuine gold ornaments as you continue collecting. Look over the beautiful and authentic gold pieces in our estate jewellery collection.