Gold Karat Facts You Should Know Before Buying Gold Jewellery
"Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Bright and yellow, hard and cold" - wrote Thomas Hood but to most Indian women gold is anything but cold. Warm yellow gold is beautiful, long lasting and considered to be auspicious in India where on her wedding day a bride is expected to be literally wrapped in jewellery from head to toe. Gold jewellery is bought on occasions like Akshay Tritiya and Dhanteras to symbolize the entry of goddess lakhsmi inside the home. Lustrous sparkling 22ct gold jewellery is one of the most treasured and cherished possessions of women across the world. 22ct Gold hardly ever tarnishes and proves to be a valuable assest for the future as they are passed down generations as family heirlooms at the time of a wedding.
Convinced about buying fine jewellery but puzzled by the varying terminology wondering what's the difference between karat and carat or between overlay and solid jewellery? Don't worry; this article will set the record straight.
Gold K Facts
Perhaps the most important factor that shoppers need to keep in mind is the karat which stands for the amount of gold present in a piece of jewellery and has absolutely nothing to do with carat which is the measure of the weight of gemstones. K or karat therefore refers to the total amount of gold mixed with other metals that have been used to craft a particular ornament or jewellery. 24K gold is the purest form of gold. Being soft 24 K gold cannot be fashioned into intricate jewellery pieces without being mixed with baser metals in varying proportions. Thus, in the shops you will come across jewellery listed as 18K, 14K, 12K, 10K or 9K all reflecting the proportion of that has been melded with other metals with the number explaining the ratio in which this metal has been mixed. So in 22K jewellery 14 parts gold is mixed while 12K jewellery has only 12 parts gold in it. More, the number of karats, more the proportion of gold gold jewellery in the jewellery. While purchasing fine jewellery it is always advisable to carefully examine the gold stamp or hallmark that declares the karat. Hallmark is a sign of authentication of karat and is in no way to be confused with manufacturer's mark or stamp.
What is the reason for mixing gold with other metals?
Gold in its purest form is too soft for it be used to craft jewellery pieces. Moreover it will prove to be too expensive and delicate for use. Hence metals like silver, copper, palladium etc are mixed to make it more durable and hardy. Mixing metals with gold also assists in getting different colors for jewellery. Silver when mixed with this metal produces a greenish tinge while copper is mixed to create rose tinted jewellery. Palladium and gold is mixed to fashion white gold jewellery. Even the color of yellow gold varies with 18K gold being a more intense yellow than 9K jewellery thanks to the greater proportion of gold.
Vermeil, Plating and Over Lay - All Confusion Cleared
Gold plated jewellery actually has a thin plating of gold over the surface of another metal usually silver or copper. The plating is done through a chemical or electrochemical process whereby a thin plate of gold usually of 10K fineness is applied. Such filled jewellery Indian gold jewellery or overlay is actually created by melding a caser metal like copper or brass with ingots of gold using heat and pressure to create a kind of sandwich which is then gold plated to hide the edges. filled jewellery unlike plating looks just like karat ones and possess the same luster. Gold vermeil is a process that was developed in early 1700 in France whereby sterling silver can be combined with heavy 18K or 22K gold plating.
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