I’d like to thank everyone who has spent a few minutes online either looking at or purchasing my jewelry designs at designbysig and crazysexycool. The response has been simply awesome. Thank you. Occasionally, I’ll receive some queries asking “What does this mean?” or “What’s that for?” Sure they could Google it, but that’s where I come in, the new jewelry Google. 😉
So, where do I start? The jewelry industry is huge: precious stones, semi-precious stones, natural stones, Sterling silver, gold, base metals, and beads made of practically everything, wires, tools, techniques, and the list goes on. When in doubt start at the top, Gold!
Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water.
Gold was among the first metals to be mined because it commonly occurs in its native form that is, not combined with other elements, because it is beautiful and imperishable, and because exquisite objects can be made from it. Artisans of ancient civilizations used gold lavishly in decorating tombs and temples, and gold objects made more than 5,000 years ago have been found in Egypt.
Because of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties. Alloys with lower carats, typically 22k, 18k, 14k or 10k, contain higher percentages of copper, or other base metals or silver or palladium in the alloy. Copper is the most commonly used base metal, yielding a redder color.
Eighteen-carat gold containing 25% copper is found in antique and Russian jewelry and has a distinct, though not dominant, copper cast, creating rose gold.
Fourteen-carat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, and both may be used to produce police and other badges. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron and purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminum, although rarely done except in specialize jewelry. Blue gold is more brittle and therefore more difficult to work with when making jewelry.
Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy widely used for specialized jewelry. It is also known as pink gold and red gold. As it was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is also known as Russian Gold, however, this term is now obsolete.
Although the names are often used interchangeably, the difference between red, rose, and pink gold is the copper content – the higher the copper content, the stronger the red coloration. A common alloy for rose gold is 75% gold and 25% copper by mass (18k). Since rose gold is an alloy, there is no such thing as “pure rose gold”.
A common formulation for red gold is 50% gold and 50% copper.
Fourteen and eighteen carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold White gold alloys can be made with palladium or nickel. White 18-carat gold containing 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2% copper is silvery in appearance. Nickel is toxic, however, and its release from nickel white gold is controlled by legislation in Europe
Alternative white gold alloys are available based on palladium, silver and other white metals, but the palladium alloys are more expensive than those using nickel. High-carat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver.
Gold jewelry reacts with chlorine. Never take your gold jewelry into a pool or spa.
Today’s interesting fact:
Dwindling legal gold supplies and a spike in black market demand from China have made work lucrative for Mongolia’s “ninja miners,” who extract the riches of the country’s vast steppe with metal detectors and home-made smelters.
Northern Mongolia is experiencing a gold rush of its own. It is not unlike the gold rush that had prospectors rushing to Alaska and northern Canada in the late 1800’.
Wow! That is one precious metal that makes up a lot of today’s jewelry market. I barely even scratched the surface. Well, if I scratched a little of your curiosities itch; I’ll chalk this blog down as a success.
I’ll keep these coming with info on gold filled, gold plating, vermeil and more.
As always, wishing you
Love and Peace,