Beware… There are Different Types of Gold!

The lure of gold… Throughout history, gold has been used to adorn tombs, thrones and jewelry. Additionally, gold is malleable – allowing it to be hammered out into very thin layers. It mixes well with other metals, does not tarnish and can conduct electricity. It can be used for jewelry, coins, electronics, medicine/dentistry or even in space travel. There are so many uses and many different types of gold.

gold graphic

If the twinkle of gold jewelry has caught your eye, there are several key points to keep in mind. Pure gold (24k) is soft, therefore it is alloyed with base metals (copper, silver, nickel, palladium, etc.), which change some of its properties – color, hardness, karat purity, etc. Therefore, 18-karat gold is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts of another metal. This translates into being 75% pure gold. Similarly, 14 karat gold is 58.3% pure gold and 10-karat gold is 41% pure gold. In addition, in its purest form (currently produced), it is referred to as 5 nines fine (fineness) or 999.99, which represents the weight of the fine metal to the total weight.

If you are buying or selling gold – the color, karat (k), and whether it is plated or filled, are all factors in determining its value. These factors distinguish the different types of gold.

Color: The most popular colors of gold are yellow, white, rose and green, each of which are determined by the metals used. Yellow gold is made by adding silver, copper and zinc to pure gold. Today, many people seem to be favoring white gold, especially for engagement and wedding rings.

Karat: The higher the karat… the higher the purity… the higher the monetary value. In the US, 14 karat gold is the most popular.

Plated/Filled: Some gold jewelry may have a “coating” or “layer” of gold. Gold-plated electronically adds an extremely thin layer of gold to a base metal (sometimes silver) with no appreciable gold value. It can be stamped as 14k HGE (Heavy Gold Electroplate). Unfortunately, this stamp may mislead people to believe it is 14 karat gold. Gold-filled mechanically attaches gold by using pressure and heat to a piece that has at least 20% of its weight as gold. It may be marked as 1/20th of 14k, 1/10th of 10k, etc. Other coatings include Gold Leaf, Rolled Gold Plated and Vermeil.

There are different types of gold. In addition to the monetary value, some gold is better suited for jewelry, which helps avoid scratching and/or bending.

It is important to work with a reputable appraiser, one who will explain and evaluate gold correctly, and always provide a receipt. Gold prices can vary daily, almost hourly. If you are interested in selling a piece of gold jewelry, please come to National Estate Jewelers, located at 212 NJ-18, East Brunswick, next to the FedEx office. Stop in or call 732-257-GOLD (4653). At National Estate Jewelers we make YOU an offer and NEVER ask you how much you want… that would be unethical. Bring us your 18k or 14 karat gold jewelry to sell or appraise.  Tuesdays are FREE Evaluation Days!