What could be more classic than gold jewelry? A traditional symbol of wealth and power, gold is both beautiful and valuable, and unlike silver, it is tarnish-resistant.
There are two main considerations when assessing gold jewelry. The first is the gold content, measured in carats (ct). The higher proportion of gold used in the final metal, the more valuable and expensive it will be. Pure gold is 24k and often considered too soft to be used for jewelry. 18k gold contains 75% pure gold, 14k is 58.5% pure, and 9k is 37.5% pure gold.
The second consideration is the gold color:
What typically comes to mind when one hears “gold” is a golden yellow hue. The hue depends on the type and proportion of metal alloys used. Typically, 18k yellow gold has a more intense color than 14k or 9k gold.
White gold is an alloy of gold and other metals, such as silver and palladium, and while these other metals are light, it gets its color primarily from the rhodium metal plating applied to the jewelry. In fact, without the coating, it may appear gray or brown.
Yellow gold of the same carat weight will contain the same amount of pure gold as white gold; it is just comprised of a different metal alloys.
White gold is a great choice for those who enjoy the sheen of a light metal yet find silver to be too soft or too easily tarnished and platinum to be cost-prohibitive. It can also be set alongside yellow or rose gold for a two-toned effect.
Rose gold is created when copper is alloyed with yellow gold, to produce a reddish, rose, or pink color. The color makes it particularly appropriate for a romantic gift. While the copper alloy results in a metal more durable than yellow or white gold, it can also cause allergic reactions in some people.
The strength, durability and rarity of platinum make it a great choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, signifying an everlasting bond, while keeping such precious jewelry secure. Its white sheen will never fade or change color, accentuating the sparkle and brilliance of a diamond.
Though it is costlier than gold or silver due to its purity and rarity, platinum remains a popular choice for its durability and because it is both tarnish-resistant and hypoallergenic.
Platinum will develop a satin sheen called patina on the surface when worn over time. While many people prefer this look, it can also be polished away by a professional jeweler.
Because they may appear similar, platinum is sometimes mistaken for white gold. However, the two metals differ not only in strength, but also in color. White gold is originally produced from yellow gold, while platinum is naturally white, even whiter than white gold.