When buying gold jewelry, always look for the karat mark. All other things being equal, the higher the karat, the more expensive the piece. In the United States, 14-karat gold is the most common degree of fineness. Nothing less than 10-karats can legally be marked or sold as gold jewelry in the U.S.
Always look for the karat mark or “k” that appears on the back of the piece. By U.S. law, if a karat mark appears you should also see the manufacturer’s trademark to assure you that the karat marking is accurate.
Karat is the gold content of a metal. There are several karats available for gold.
Pure gold is too soft for use in jewelry and is typically hardened by alloying with silver, copper or other metals. It is more commonly sold in lower measurements of 18k and 14k. A lower “k” or “Karat” number indicates a higher percent of copper or silver mixed into the alloy with gold. Copper is more commonly used than silver to dilute the concentration of pure 24k gold.
Yellow gold typically contains a combination of gold and another metal.
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal. Its properties vary depending on the metals and proportions used. White gold is commonly alloyed with nickel, silver and zinc to enhance the metal’s strength and give it a white appearance. There are some nickel-free alloys available for people who may be allergic to nickel.
Because the natural color of white gold is actually a light grey color, it is typically rhodium plated to improve its appearance. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum and gives white gold a bright and reflective finish. Rhodium is very white and very hard, but id does wear away eventually To keep a white gold ring looking its best, we recommend having it re-rhodium plated every 12 to 18 months.
White gold contains a combination of gold and a white metal.
Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy with a reddish color. It is also known as pink gold and red gold. Although the names are often used interchangeably, th difference between red, rose and pink gold is the copper content the higher the copper content , the stronger the red coloration. A common alloy for rose gold is three-quarters gold and one-quarter copper.
Rose gold contains a combination of gold and copper.