Feb 1, 2011

FAQs about Gold

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q:  What is White Gold?
A:  Gold is a precious metal and an element and is yellow.  Jewelry can be made from 24k pure gold because it is so soft and very strong, however, it is still very pliable and can be easily scratched or dented.  Gold jewelry is often made from a combination of gold and other metals, which is called an alloy.  For example, 14k gold is 14 parts gold mixed with 10 parts of another metal, equal to 24 parts or karats.  Likewise, 10k gold is 10k of gold mixed with 14k of another metal.  If the “other metal” is copper or silver, mixing it with yellow gold keeps the gold color.  More copper results in rose gold.  If the “other metal” is nickel or palladium, then the result is white-ish.  Recent years, white gold is commonly rhodium plated, partly because the “other metals” are not as high of quality and most manufacturers may just accept the lower standard because it will commonly be rhodium plated anyway.
Q:  What is Rhodium Plating?
A:  Rhodium is a precious metal and an element, like gold, but much more expensive.  The opposite of pure gold, which is soft, rhodium is too brittle to use for jewelry, but perfect for plating due to the dazzling shine, much like chrome, and the durability against tarnish and wear.  The white mirror-looking Rhodium plating will still wear off after time.  If the metal beneath the plating is a contrasting color, the wear will show up more obvious than a similar white metal below the plating.  Almost every piece of white gold jewelry is rhodium plated, whether it is stated or not.
Q:  What is Gold Plating?
A:  Layering gold over another base metal, the industry standard is .15 to .25 mils thickness plated over the base metal.
Q:  What is Gold Filled?
A:  Also layering gold over another base metal, but the layer or layers are combined and rolled together with a thickness that is usually stated.  For example, 1/20th  14k gold filled means that the piece is at least 1/20th of 14k gold of the total weight.
Q:  What is Vermeil?
A:  Sterling silver piece that is heavy electroplated with 22k yellow gold.  The depth is about .002 or .003 inches thick.

No comments:

Post a Comment