From the intricate filigree creations of the Etruscans in 6 BC Italy to Late Bronze Age Ireland and Elizabethan England, gold jewellery has been a mark of luxury throughout the ages. Even as contemporary jewellers challenge conventions by exploring non-precious materials, the lustrous metal continues to be a favoured choice for rings, bracelets and necklaces.

Because pure 24-karat gold jewellery is too soft for everyday wear, jewellery makers mix the metal with other alloy elements while it is still in its molten state. This allows us to achieve the rich yellow colour associated with solid gold jewellery, the iciness of white gold, or the smooth warmth of rose gold, while also increasing durability.

The Timeless Elegance of Gold Jewelry: A Comprehensive Guide

While pure 24-karat gold is a wonderful metal for jewellery, it is very expensive. Because of this, most jewellery is made from a mixture of solid gold and other alloys. This helps reduce the cost and make it more accessible to all consumers.

The purity of a piece of gold jewellery can be determined by looking at the stamp on the item. This will be stamped with a number that indicates the percentage of gold in the item, typically shown as a three-digit number (e.g. 750 or 14k). It is important to note that while pure gold jewellery is hypoallergenic, most modern jewellery is not and may contain other alloys such as silver and zinc.

The colour of gold jewellery is also a factor in its price point, with higher karats resulting in a more yellow appearance and lower karats appearing more white. In order to make a piece of jewellery truly white, it is usually plated with rhodium, which can eventually wear off, causing the gold to turn yellow. This is why many people choose to opt for white gold jewellery that has been mechanically bonded to the base metal rather than simply plated with rhodium.

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