Gold is one of the most revered and respected mediums, and with roots at the beginning of recorded history, it is a sign of wealth, honour and prestige. It does not tarnish and effortlessly brings out the beauty of other gem settings. For the jeweller, it is a flexible working metal that can be integrated into a range of designs.
Gold is respected more for its beauty than its rarity. There are many other rarer resources, and yet gold is still revered as one of the most appreciated of precious settings.
Gold most commonly comes in two forms: white and yellow. For some, the more neutral white gold is flexible, blending in well regardless of colours or shades. Some others prefer the stronger more outstanding nature of yellow gold.
Pure gold (100%) is usually too soft for most purposes, and thus other metals such as silver, zinc and nickel are mixed in to form a stronger alloy. The nature of the other metals used in combination with gold can have a subtle yet important effect on the colour and shine of gold.
The carat of the gold represents how pure the gold is:
24 carat gold – 100% gold
18 carat gold – 75% gold
14 carat gold – 58.5% gold
9 carat gold – 37.5% gold