March 7, 2016
Everything you need to know about Gold
Discover the metal of kings at T H Baker
Famed for its luxurious colour and lasting beauty, gold is without a doubt one of the most sought-after metals in the jewellery industry. But what do you know about gold? How do you care for it? And, where does it come from?
Scientists believe that gold is extraterrestrial and was cooked up in space and arrived on earth via cataclysmic explosions called supernovae. However, throughout history, there have been many explanations from different areas of the world as to where gold comes from, specifically the pre-Columbian Americans who believed it came from the sun god. They would dress themselves in battle armour wrought from gold in order to protect them. Unfortunately, they were sadly mistaken due to golds extreme softness.
Gold is, in fact, the most malleable metal. Malleable means that it can be easily hammered out into a thin sheet. Just 1 gram (the equivalent of a grain of rice) can be flattened into a thin film covering 1 square metre. This makes gold incredibly versatile when it comes to making jewellery.
Because gold is soft in its natural form, it must be alloyed (mixed) with other metals, usually copper, silver, palladium and zinc, to help strengthen it. The amount of gold after it has been alloyed determines the carat (also called the fineness). In the UK, there are only 6 legally recognised fineness of gold which we have outlined below and written to show the purity of the metal in parts per thousand.
- 9 carat (375) = 37.5% pure gold + 62.5% other metals
- 14 carat (585) = 58.5% pure gold + 41.5% other metals
- 18 carat (750) =75% pure gold + 25% other metals
- 22 carat (916) = 91.6% pure gold + 8.4% other metals
White gold is created by alloying yellow gold with palladium and silver to dilute the yellow colour. The result of this is a slightly dull ‘off white’ colour, which is why it is ‘rhodium plated’ to give it a shiny bright pure white finish.
Rose gold is created by adding more copper to the alloy and reducing the number of white metals. It’s due to coppers pink/red colour why the gold appears to have a rose colouring.
*With both white and rose gold, the highest carat weight you can get is 18ct.
In terms of the longevity of gold jewellery, we can tell you that it is extremely unreactive and doesn’t tarnish or rust like other metals, retaining its brightness and beauty. In fact, gold jewellery can last unchanged for thousands of years. In recent years, the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered, showing just how gold can keep its luxurious appearance despite being buried in the Earth for thousands of years.
To clean your gold jewellery, we suggest that you simply soak your jewellery in warm, soapy water for 15 minutes then remove and brush gently with a soft brush.
So, whether you love yellow gold, white gold or rose gold, we have them all for you to discover online and in store today.