Since the dawn of civilisation, gold has been one of the most highly valued and most sought after of the precious metals.
At various times it has been accorded magical and mystical properties, has been fought over, prized as the basis of many currencies, has had the badge of royalty and wealth and has lured people of all cultures to vast unknown lands in quest of it.
Over centuries of growing sophistication and technology, gold has assumed many additional roles. Not only is it still prized for jewellery, it also has many new applications in contemporary modern-day life.
Gold soared into space with the astronauts, it’s reflective ability used on the heat shields that are crucial to life in space. This same ability to reflect the sun increases the aesthetic and practical and beauty of today’s glass skyscrapers. The gold in tinted windows makes the difference obstructive glare and glamorous gleam.
Among the many other specific applications gold is used in telephones and telecommunications, TV sets, computers and calculators. It also has important applications in medicine and dentistry.
But, above all, gold has enjoyed its finest glitter through the ages in its ultimate form – jewellery. In fact, the wearing of gold for personal adornment may actually be our oldest surviving tradition.
Every day, most of us continues the centuries old ritual of gold adornment. Men, women and children of all cultures are caught up in gold’s allure through the acquisition and wearing of any number of pieces of gold jewellery, whether it be a ring, chain, earrings, watch or bracelet.
Rarity – Although gold is everywhere around us – in the earth’s crust, in our seas, rivers and plants – the difficulty and expense of obtaining gold from these sources makes recovery of any substantial amounts unlikely. Where gold is found to exist, several tonnes of ore may be required in order to extract just one ounce of this precious metal.
This rarity alone is enough to bestow a certain status to gold, but when combined with it’s other inherent characteristics, this lustrous and beautiful metal becomes an even more desirable possession.
Durability – Gold virtually lasts forever.
When you buy gold jewellery, you are buying enduring beauty that reflects the properties of this previous metal. A gift of gold has always been the symbol of lasting love and devotion.
Ease of Workability – Gold has the best working qualities of any metal, thereby making it the ideal precious metal for fine jewellery.
To give you an idea of it’s workability, gold is so soft and malleable that one ounce can be stretched into a wire an incredible 80 kilometres long or hammered into a sheet so thin that it covers well over 9 square metres and becomes transparent. It is gold’s workability that enables it to be alloyed with other precious and base metals to produce special qualities or to achieve variations of colour.
Gold can be remelted and used again and again and it can be made into a vast array of jewellery items. From the most intricate baby bracelet to the heaviest chain, gold’s workability gives it the ability to exist in a multitude of forms and shapes.
The purity of gold is described by the same word used to designate the weight of gemstones – carat (sometimes written as ‘karat’). However, when used to describe gold, the word ‘carat’ has nothing to do with the weight – it relates to the purity of the metal. Pure gold is described as 24 carat (usually abbreviated to ‘24ct’). For practical purposes, gold is often mixed or alloyed with other metals to make it more durable, to change its colour, or to make it less expensive. The most common alloys of gold used to manufacture jewellery in Australia are 18ct (i.e. 18 parts of gold mixed with 6 parts of another metal), or 9 carat (i.e. 9 parts of gold mixed with 15 parts of another metal). The type of alloy added to the gold depends largely on the colour required.
Colour of Gold
Combination of MetalsPink / RedGold + CopperYellowGold + Copper + Silver & ZincWhiteGold + Palladium (or Silver & Nickel)GreenGold + Silver & CadmiumPurpleGold + AluminiumBlueGold + Iron
Less costly jewellery is generally made with a base metal with real gold on the surface. The two most common ways to give the appearance of gold at a lower cost are:-
|(i) Rolled Gold||Where a thin skin of gold is put onto the surface of base metal by a lamination process under great heat and pressure. A thin block of gold is fused onto the surface of a thicker block of the base metal to form an open sandwich and then the sandwich is rolled out repeatedly between highly polished rollers getting thinner and thinner, but always maintaining the ratio of the gold to the base metal.|
(ii) Gold PlatingWhere the article is made in a base metal alloy or silver and then gold in whatever purity (24ct gold or one of the lower alloys) is plated onto the surface by an electro-chemical process. Gilt is the general term for a thin layer of gold applied to any surface but not thick enough to be legitimately called gold plating or rolled gold. Gilt usually means very poor quality jewellery.
How do you know it is real gold?
When purchasing an item of jewellery, you should always look for a carat mark, which should be stamped on the item. The carat mark is a quality mark and refers to the proportion of pure gold in the item. Pure gold, which is 24ct, the metric equivalent being 1,000 is generally considered too soft for practical use in jewellery and is alloyed with other precious metals and base metals to increase it’s durability and workability.
Some of the common markings found on jewellery (with their metric equivalents) are as follows:-
22ct or 916
18ct or 750
14ct or 585
9 ct or 375
Some other previous metal markings you may find on jewellery are:-
Silver – Sterling or 925
Platinum – Plat, Pt or 950
Palladium – Pall, Pd or 900
Markings on jewellery items are not limited to the carat or quality mark. You may find a manufacturer’s trademark, logo or initials on some jewellery, particularly items made in the United Kingdom where a comprehensive hallmarking system is in place.
If you are in doubt about the markings that appear on any piece of fine jewellery, ask our jeweller next time you are in our store.
Our gift forever to you
It is recommended that you return to us at Flair Jewellery once per year to have your jewellery professionally polished – to assist you we provide a free polish and inspection service for up to 4 items on Thursday at our Kawana store. We use ultrasonic and steam cleaners which will get rid of built up grime which cannot be removed at home. This will also give our jewellers the opportunity to ensure that the diamond is secure in the mount for your ongoing peace of mind.
How to care for your treasured diamond ring
A diamond ring is so much more than a piece of fine Jewellery. It’s a symbol of commitment that will last a lifetime. If you take care of it, you can enjoy wearing it as often as you like, as a diamond does truly last forever. Whether your diamond ring is the first piece of diamond jewellery you’ve owned, or just the most special, it’s important that you learn how to take care of it.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR TREASURED JEWELLERY
Caring for your diamond ring involves learning how to store and clean it. You should always store your diamond ring in a clean, safe and dry place. Your ring will be safest in a fabric lined box or compartment, and should be stored separately from other jewellery items. Although your diamond isn’t likely to scratch or chip, the metal it is set in may be damaged by being jumbled with other jewellery items. Your diamond may also damage your other jewellery. If you must keep your diamond engagement ring in the same compartment as other jewellery, wrap it in a soft cloth or silk for protection.
You can wipe your diamond ring with a soft 100% cotton jewellery cloth daily. Cotton is the only cloth that is guaranteed safe for whatever precious metal your diamond is set in. A clean cloth will not scratch fine jewellery. If your diamond needs more intense cleaning, soak in a container with warm water and baking soda or non-detergent soap for several minutes, then use a soft brush, or baby toothbrush to gently brush away any dirt. Rinse with tap water, and dry off well.
WHAT TO AVOID
There are some damaging items that need to be avoided when it comes to the care of diamonds and jewellery.
Lotions: lotions can get under the diamond’s setting and settle, leading to a dirty looking piece. The lotion can also form a film over the diamond which noticeably diminishes its sparkle and leads to a ‘milky’ effect.
Hairspray can also cause a film and make diamonds appear yellow.
Bleach and other corrosive liquids can actually cause damage to the metal holding the diamond. So if you are using these products, it is best to remove your rings.
Likewise when going for a swim in the pool or spa, it is best to remove your jewellery as chlorine can badly affect it. In addition, lengthy exposure to water may cause your fingers to contract, allowing your treasured ring to slip off and be lost in the water.
YOU MAY NOT EVEN THINK OF THIS
Ring settings are very strong but there are some conditions that we don’t even think of that may potentially damaging.
It may be as simple as clapping your hands causing two rings to bang against each other, or tapping your hands against a shopping trolley, or maybe even jingling keys in your hands. These everyday actions all have the potential to cause damage and denting to the back of the ring.
OUR GIFT FOREVER TO YOU
It is recommended that you return to us at Flair Jewellery once per year to have your jewellery professionally polished – to assist you we provide a free polish and inspection service for up to 4 items on Thursday at our Kawana store.
We use ultrasonic and steam cleaners which will get rid of built up grime which cannot be removed at home. This will also give our jewellers the opportunity to ensure that the diamond is secure in the mount for your ongoing peace of mind.