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What You Need to Know about the Gold in Your Jewelry Box

Jewelry Box

Gold is a popular addition for any jewelry box, whether it is found in an elegant chain necklace or a vintage diamond ring. If you are in the market for a piece of gold jewelry, there are some things you need to know about gold so you can get a quality piece for a good price. Check out the basics you need to know about the gold hidden in your jewelry box.

What does the Karat Mean?

The karat used to describe gold refers to the amount of pure gold in the jewelry box piece. An item crafted of 24 karat gold means the gold is pure, with no additional metals added. An 18 karat gold piece is made of 75 percent pure gold and other metals. If a piece is 14 karat gold, it has 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal. The higher the karat, the more gold in the mix and the more valuable the piece. However, it is rare to find 24 karat gold pieces, since gold is a relatively soft metal prone to damage. It is usually combined with at least a portion of another metal to make it more durable.

Why does Gold Come in Different Colors?

Gold typically comes in a yellow hue, but when other metals are added to the mix, it can change the color of the gold. White gold, which is a soft grey color, occurs when nickel or palladium is added to the mix. Rose gold is a result of adding copper to the gold to create a pink shade. Most colored gold is 22 karat or less, and the type of metal mixed with the gold can also affect the cost of the jewelry box piece.

What is Gold Plated?

Gold-filled or gold-plated refers to a piece that is constructed of another, less expensive metal, and then coated with a layer of gold. Gold-filled pieces tend to be better options, since there is a thicker layer of real gold on the outside. Gold-plated may involve a very fine layer of gold coating, which will often wear off over time. Gold-washed refers to the finest layer of gold, which will also have the shortest life span.

How does Design Affect Price?

In addition to the amount of gold in the piece, the design of the jewelry box item will also affect the price. More intricate designs typically take more time to create, so the price tends to be higher. Jewelry that is machine-manufactured also has a lower price tag than pieces that are entirely handmade. In addition, pieces made by a well-known gold maker will come with a higher price tag than a similar piece manufactured by a lesser known designer.

When you begin collecting gold pieces for your jewelry box, it helps to know the basics about this metal. When you know what you are shopping for, you will be more likely to find a gold jewelry piece you like at a reasonable price.

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