Gold has had a special connection with us for thousands of years and across multiple civilisations. Not much has changed about our love for gold today either, but with respect to price, gold as a precious metal has become even more precious. This is also why it is particularly important that we take the time necessary to know a few facts about gold before investing in jewellery made from it.
Understanding the Carats
Carats represent parts of pure gold in anything that’s made from gold. In total, there can be a maximum of 24 carats or 24 parts of pure gold. The three common standards we often see mentioned are 14ct, 18ct, and 24ct. As every carat represents a single part of gold and there can be only 24 parts in total, 24ct should designate the purest gold available.
The Differences between 14ct, 18ct, and 24ct Gold Jewelry
Unfortunately, gold is not a particularly hard metal. Intricate detailing expected from high-quality jewelry cannot be carved on 24ct gold as it simply won’t hold, due to gold’s high malleability.
14ct gold, on the other hand, is made out of 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts alloy. This makes 14-carat jewelry capable of carrying intricate detailing, but it won’t have the same shine we expect to see from a top-tier gold piece. 14ct jewelry is also the most affordable gold jewelry, but the lack-luster appearance is unsuited for valuable jewelry.
Finally, 18 carats offer the perfect balance of beauty and strength for goldsmiths to work with. Check out this collection of Annoushka 18ct Gold and you will notice that 18ct is the common standard for all gold jewelry sold under the brand’s name.
Top jewelers like them only use 18ct gold for their jewelry since with 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts alloy, it has the characteristic shine of gold, as well as the sturdiness to sport beautiful detailing for years to come.
Know Your Gold from Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)
There’s a reason why people call pyrite Fool’s Gold, which would be the fact that pyrite was and still is used to fool people in believing that they are buying real gold. Although the pyrite fraud is seen more often in the gold nugget trade, don’t be surprised to see a few pyrite pieces in a shady jewelry shop either!
The similarities between the appearance of well-disguised pyrite and original gold make it exceptionally hard to tell the difference. Customers are better off sticking with a trusted name in the business but for those willing to learn, here are a few easy ways to tell gold from pyrite.
- Pyrite naturally has tarnishes and striations on it, gold (mostly) doesn’t
- Pyrite is almost the same color as brass
- Do a specific gravity test; gold = 19.3, pyrite = 5
- Gold can’t scratch a copper piece, but pyrite can (being the harder material)
Aside from these little pointers, also be mindful of the jewel/jewels used with the gold. Be it a diamond solitaire or a blue sapphire, if the stone is expensive, make sure it is lab tested.