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From wedding rings to watches, gold is both common and coveted. In fact, 24-karat gold is the most popular jewelry alloy in the entire nation. But how much do you actually know about it? Whether you’re thinking about ordering custom gold jewelry to commemorate a special occasion or you just love all things valuable, you might be interested to learn these surprising gold jewelry facts.
- U.S. gold isn’t as pure as you might think
In the U.S., the standard for traditional and custom gold jewelry is usually 14-karat. Actually, any jewelry that’s determined to be less than 10-karat can’t be sold as gold. But our regular standards are less than the norm across the world. In many South Asian countries, for example, their gold is usually of the 22-karat variety. This proves that jewelry preferences aren’t always universal (even if a love of gold is).
- Rose gold is essentially a hybrid
Rose gold is having a bit of a moment, especially among millennials, who are thought to have an affinity for pink hues. But pure gold always comes in its signature color. To create rose gold, it needs to be mixed with something. And that something is copper! In many cases, the mix has quite a bit of gold to start; to create 14-karat rose gold, around 58.5% of pure gold is used, and then copper is added in to create its distinctive tone.
- Old-looking jewelry may be more desirable than you realize
We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of keeping your jewelry clean and sparkling. But some people aren’t quite as eager to polish their rings and other pieces. Metal oxidization, which is caused by exposure to the air, creates a thin layer over the top of a ring and makes it appear more matte. This color and textural change is referred to as “patina.” It can make a piece look darker than new or polished jewelry. While that may not sound pretty, it’s the calling card of vintage jewelry, which is having a bit of a heyday right now. It’s really personal preference, but the value of a vintage patina shouldn’t be completely disregarded.
If you love your custom gold jewelry, it can be beneficial to learn a bit more about the pieces in your own collection. Not only will your knowledge impress your friends, but it may even help you understand the value of the pieces you own or want to purchase in the future. Don’t forget that your jeweler can also be a great source of information. They may be able to supply you with additional information on cleaning and storage practices, on the history of a given piece, or on the composition of a ring you’ve got your eye on.