Since almost the beginning of recorded time, gold has been sought after, not only for its value, but for its distinctive and elegant look. When gold was first attempted to be shaped from the nugget form it was found in into different kinds of jewelry, jewelers quickly realized that gold itself, although soft enough to be shaped, was too soft to withstand most stress. To fix this, jewelers began mixing the gold with metal alloys. Karat ratings were then invented to tell the consumer the gold/alloy ratio of a piece of jewelry. Pure gold is 24K. The most popular ratios for jewelry are 18K (18 parts gold to 6 parts alloy), 14K (14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy), and 10K (10 parts gold to 14 parts alloy).
As the numbers suggest, the most valuable jewelry is 18K while the least valuable is 10K. But along with the value of the piece, you must also consider how you often you intend to wear the piece. 18K may have the most vivid gold color because of all that gold, but all that gold also means that the jewelry is not as durable. 18K pieces are best suited for those special occasions you want to dazzle your family and friends a few times a year. 14K is better suited to wear more often, and 10K is suited for everyday use.
Along with the karat rating, gold jewelry can also be differentiated by color. The two most popular are yellow gold and white gold. Yellow gold is mixed with alloys which do not obfuscate gold's natural yellow color. White gold is mixed with alloys which lighten the gold's yellow appearance, making it appear white. A third, subtler color is rose gold. This is created by mixing the gold with copper. There is no difference in the value between yellow and white gold. The only thing that changes is the alloys used; the amount of gold in the piece stays the same.
Take a moment to visit our store and take a look at the various gold jewelry Flaherty Jewelers carries. If you need more assistance, please ask one of our knowledgeable and talented staff members for help in choosing the gold piece that is just right for you or that special someone.