Learning Lounge: Golden Goodies
|Facts About Gold Jewellery|
|Frequently Asked Questions About Gold|
FACTS ABOUT GOLD JEWELLERY
Why Gold is Unique: Of all the world’s precious metals, only gold combines lustrous beauty, easy workability, rarity, and virtual indestructability. Gold is so soft and malleable one once can be stretched into wire an incredible 5 miles long. Or hammered into a sheet so thin, it covers 100 square feet.
It is said that more steel is poured in one hour than gold has been poured since the beginning of time. Since it does not rust, tarnish or corrode, gold virtually last forever. For instance, coins that have been found in the sunken galleons centuries old are a bright and shiny as the day they were cast.
Romancing the Gold: Whatever else gold means to the world, it has always been associated with the beauty of adornment. Wearing jewellery has not only accompanied man through most of his evolution, it may even be his oldest surviving tradition. Reflecting the properties of the precious metal itself, a gift of gold has always been the symbol of lasting love and devotion. Multiplied by millions, the simple gold wedding band probably uses more of the world’s gold than any other single type of jewellery.
The Tradition of the wedding band began far back in history, when the groom placed a gold ring on the third finger of the bride’s left hand, believing that an artery ran from this finger directly to the heart. I is a tradition that has come down through the ages, and it exists almost everywhere on earth. The circlet of gold encloses the world of two loving people and also stands as a symbol of eternity as the band has no end and no beginning.
MEASURING BY KARAT: Gold in its purest state, 24 karat, is generally considered to soft for use in jewellery. By mixing or alloying it with other metals, however, its hardness can be increased and its colour modified, The term Karat is used to designate the proportion of the gold in an alloy.
The word Karat (and carat the unit of weight used to measure gems) derives from the Italian carato, the Arabic qirat, or the Greek Keration, all meaning the fruit of the carob tree. The seeds of the fruit were once used to balance the scales in weighing gems and gold.
In Canada and the U.S. the proportion of gold in an alloy is expressed in Karats (abbreviation, k) using a scale of 24. Twenty-four karat is 100% gold 18k is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals; 14k is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal, etc. In European marking system, karatage is expressed on a scale of fineness of 1000. Twenty-four karat would be 999 fine or 100% gold. 18k is 75% gold and referred to as 750 fine. 14k would be marked as 585 and is 58.5% fine.
THE COLOURS OF GOLD: Gold alloys, aside from strengthening, gold for jewellery, can also affect its color. Various combinations of alloys and gold create different shades of gold. When gold is combined with copper, a pink or red tint is created, When gold is alloyed with copper and silver, it retains a natural yellow shade. Yellow gold is the most popular shade in Canada and the United States. Most gold jewellery contains a mixture of at least 2 other metals However, when gold is alloyed with copper, nickel and zinc, white gold is the result. Green gold is not common and most people have not seen it at their local retailers, however, a green hue can be created when gold is mixed with silver and small amounts of copper and zinc.
Info provided by: The Gold Information Center and reprinted from Man and His Gold
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