When buying a jewel, it is important to make the right choice of the carat of the jewel in relation to your expectations and your lifestyle. Is it high fashion jewelry that you wear as a fashion accessory? A wedding band or an engagement ring that you want to pass down through the generations? The choice will depend on your preferences, the desired quality and practicality. Through this article, we show you the different carats of gold to help you see more clearly!
Gold was mined by the ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Greeks and Romans. The beauty, exceptional brilliance and rarity of this precious metal have made it the symbol of royalty and glamour. It was used to make Wholesale Jewelry and currency. Gold coins were a reliable medium of exchange and commerce between different nations, it played a major role as a high denomination currency.
From 1870, the discovery of several mines in the United States, Australia and South Africa democratized the purchase of gold. Nowadays, it is often considered a safe haven. 12% of the gold extracted is used in industry, electronics, dentistry, medicine… 78% in jewelery and 10% as a monetary reserve or for investment purposes.
What is gold?
The word “gold” comes from the Latin “aurum” which means “shining dawn”, in reference to Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn. The symbol for its chemical element is “Au” and it is rarer than silver and copper.
Gold is a precious metal with fascinating aesthetic and metallurgical properties, its yellow color is dazzlingly brilliant. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity which does not tarnish, durable, ductile, very malleable and it resists oxidation and corrosion. Gold nuggets found in nature are relatively pure. They can give rise to threads, thin sheets, jewels… all you have to do is heat them to high temperature and work them using simple tools such as hammers or moulds.
The karat of gold
If you plan to buy gold jewelry, the first thing to do is to understand the concept of carat to appreciate the quality of gold. The carat is the unit of measurement that indicates the percentage of pure or fine gold in your jewelry. 100% is relative to 24 units (24 carats or 1000 thousandths). The quality and value of the gold you buy is therefore relative to its purity, the higher the “caratage”, the purer the gold. On the other hand, it should not be confused with the “carat” as a unit of weight for weighing diamonds and precious stones. Indeed, although they sound exactly the same, the two words are very different.
The titration is used to indicate the gold content of your piece, so 18 karat gold is the one with the highest percentage, namely 75%. While 9 karat gold contains only 37.5% pure gold. The gold suitable for engagement rings, wedding rings or alliances is 18 carat gold since it represents the best balance between the “caratage” of gold and alloy metals. Here we will explain the different karats of gold in the market.
24 carat gold
24 karat gold means 99.9% purity, the highest you can buy. Despite this, high quality jewelry is not 24 carat. Indeed, pure gold is very soft, its color is a bright yellow which is not to everyone’s taste and it tends to be damaged easily. Pure gold is not suitable for jewelry, you will have rings that deform every time you wear them.
To be used in jewelry, gold must be mixed with harder metals to give it strength and shape. During the manufacture of jewellery, foundries make compositions which make it possible to have stronger and more durable alloys. The compounding of gold with other metals is called titration of gold. In France, the popular gold grades in jewelery and jewelery are 18 carat gold, 14 carat gold and 9 carat gold. 24 karat gold is often purchased as an investment in the form of bullion.
22 carat gold or 917 thousandths
Gold jewelry stamped 22 carats is composed of approximately 91.67% (917 thousandths) of pure gold and 8.33% of metals such as silver, zinc, copper… This alloy can be used to make gold jewellery, but it is not preferable for jewelery set with diamonds or precious stones. The hallmark of 22 carat gold is the eagle’s head.
Gold 18 carats or 750 thousandths
18 carat gold contains 75% gold (750 thousandths). It is the noblest and most precious alloy after 24 carat gold. Used by renowned jewelers, it corresponds to the best balance between luxury, the brilliance of gold and good durability. 18 karat jewelry does not change over time. They won’t tarnish, fade or peel. Jewelry set with high quality diamonds and precious stones is often made of 750 thousandths gold. The hallmark of 18 carat gold is the eagle’s head.
Gold 14 carats or 583 thousandths
14 karat gold contains 58.3% fine gold. 14 karat jewelry is relatively popular due to its more affordable cost and suitability for people with manual jobs. 14 karat gold is perfect for intricate rings or wedding bands and 14 karat jewelry is often imported from the United States.