What is gold?
This may seem like a silly question; but as it turns out, gold is much more than just a material used to make jewelry. Since the beginning of recorded history, gold has been used as money, as a store of value, in jewelry, in sculpture, and for ornamentation. The metal occurs naturally, in the form of nuggets or grains found in rocks, veins and in alluvial deposits. The consistency of gold is very dense; though it is the most soft and malleable pure metal in known existence. Its appearance is quite shiny and is a very attractive, bright yellow color.
Strangely, gold is one of only three naturally occurring metals that have distinct color; copper (reddish) and cesium (silvery-gold) are the other two. All other elemental metals are gray or white. Because 24kt gold, or pure gold, is so soft – it is typically alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry to ensure its durability and strength. Gold with lower karat value – 18kt, 14kt, 10kt – contain percentages of copper, silver, palladium and/or other base metals. The color of gold can be changed depending upon what metals have been alloyed with it. Yellow gold, is typically alloyed with a small percentage of copper to maintain its color but increase its durability. A high percentage of copper will cause the gold to appear reddish in color – thus producing rose gold, or pink gold. In the same way, white gold is produced by alloying yellow gold with palladium and/or other white metals.
Gold is very resistant to tarnish, rust and corrosion but should still not be exposed to chlorine or abrasive cleaning products. If exposed regularly to these chemicals gold will lose its natural, shiny, yellow color. Chlorine will cause a deterioration of the alloy metals in a gold piece of jewelry. Rhodium, a very hard white metal, is often used to coat white gold so it maintains its white luster. If white gold begins to show a yellow tint, it is probably because the rhodium finish has worn off. In this case, the piece of jewelry may be easily re-coated with rhodium to bring it back to its original appearance.
Cold, hard facts…
Pure gold is represented by Au or the number 79 on the periodic table and is signified by the stamp 999 on jewelry. Though incredibly dense, 24 karat gold is too soft to maintain a constant shape (one ounce can be hammered into a 300 square foot sheet of metal) so most gold jewelry ranges between 10 karat (41.7% gold) to 18 karat (75% gold).
Why does the price of gold vary?
Many countries use gold as a monetary measure. Since it is a commodity, the price of gold continually changes. At Day’s we follow gold market prices closely and do our best to purchase large quantities of gold jewelry when prices are lowest. This allows us the opportunity to pass on significant savings to our customers.
Are gold allergies common?
Gold allergies are not very common, however – some people may be allergic to the other metals that gold may be alloyed with and that is typically what causes allergic reactions to certain pieces of jewelry. But, just because you have an allergy to one color or karat of gold does not mean that you will react negatively to all gold. Luckily, the extreme range of colors and karats which gold is available in makes it a wonderful metal for almost everyone.