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GOLD

With a beauty that has captivated the hearts and minds of individuals over centuries, gold has long been used for ornamental purposes. Early civilisations linked gold to deities and royalty because of its brilliance and sense of permanence.

Gold is the oldest precious metal known to mankind. In fact, pieces of gold were found in caves used by Palaeolithic man over 40,000 years ago. With its natural brilliance, beautiful lustre, unique density (no other metal outside the platinum group is as heavy), superior malleability and resistance to tarnish, gold can be shaped into almost any design.

Gold Alloys

Gold is naturally warm yellow in colour and in its pure form, it is relatively soft and therefore prone to scratches and wear and tear. Alloying it with other metals significantly increases its durability and makes gold jewellery more affordable. It can also create different colours, like red, green or purple. 

CARAT EXPLAINED

Gold is the only precious metal that has its own unit of measurement. The amount of pure gold present in a gold alloy is described in terms of 'caratage' and ‘fineness’ refers to the parts of gold per thousand. 18ct gold has a fineness of 750. In other words, it contains 75% pure gold. The highest possible carat level is 24, also known as pure or fine gold and containing a minimum of 99% gold. Simply put, the higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the carat.

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Yellow Gold

Made in different tones according to the type and amount of metal alloys used, yellow gold has a striking golden colour closest to pure gold. 18ct yellow gold has a rich and intense yellow tone, while 14ct gold has a subtler pale yellow tone.

Rose Gold

Rose gold first gained popularity during the Victorian era, where the metal was associated with love, romance and undying passion. Also known as pink gold, the metal is made from an alloy of yellow gold, silver and copper, with the copper helping to create its delicate pink hue. Increasing the ratio of copper to silver enhances the intensity of its colour. The highest karat of rose gold is 22ct. 14ct rose gold consists of 58.5% pure gold and 41.5% copper and silver.

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History

Gold has a rich and varied history, with its unique properties making it useful to mankind for centuries. It does not rust, corrode or tarnish, and can easily be shaped into almost any form.

In around 2600 B.C., gold was first melted into jewellery in ancient Mesopotamia. Goldsmiths in ancient Egypt crafted the funeral mask of Tutankhamun, arguably the most famous gold piece in the world, in 1223 B.C. and in around 700 B.C., the first gold coins were created.

Gold is the only metal that is naturally yellow or golden in colour. The element symbol for gold is Au, after aurum, which is Latin for 'shining dawn' or 'glow of sunrise'.

symbolism

Early civilizations associated gold with gods and rulers, and gold was sought in their name and dedicated to their glorification. Humans almost intuitively place a high value on gold, equating it with power, beauty and the cultural elite. Today, gold has a more romantic association, often given as a token of love.

CONTRASTING METALS

Two tone combinations, such as pairing the cool sheen of sterling silver with the warm lustre of 14ct gold, can create exquisite items of jewellery. The two metal alloys are bonded together through soldering, a process that requires the use of heat and a filler metal (solder) placed onto the sterling silver using a pair of tongs.

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KARAT OR CARAT?

Hundreds of years ago a jewel’s weight was counted using the seeds of the Carob tree. Since these seeds, called carats, weighed roughly the same as the smallest gemstones they became the measuring unit for precious stones. Early in the 20th century the weight of a Carat was set at 200 milligrams (0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces).

Karat stems from the same source as Carat but is used to measure the amount of pure gold in an alloy. One Karat equals 1/24th part pure gold. In other words, 18-Karat gold consists of 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metal. Pure gold is 24 Karats and very soft, hence the addition of alloys for strength. In British English, the terms Carat and Karat are used interchangeably.