Gold jewelry has been a popular choice for centuries, and it's easy to see why. Its beauty and luxuriousness are unmatched. But shopping for gold isn't always that straightforward. To make your shopping experience more fun, we've put together this simple guide on the different types of gold jewelry to help you find the perfect style to suit your look.
Recognizing Solid Gold
Solid gold is the way to go if you're looking for a timeless piece of low-maintenance and high-quality jewelry. We've all have fell prey to what we thought was real gold. Finding out that it was a cheap imitation usually came as a result of the jewelry changing colors, or worse, a skin infection.
To avoid this, look for markings like 14K or 18K stamped on the item to recognize solid gold. These numbers indicate the purity of gold in the jewelry represented in Karats (K). The higher the karat number, the finer the gold, with 24K being the purest form available.
Although solid gold is an excellent option for fine jewelry, it can be expensive and soft. Therefore, it may need more maintenance than other forms of gold.
Types of Gold Jewelry
Now that you know how to recognize solid gold, let’s look at the types of gold jewelry available.
White gold is a popular choice for many of today's fashion-conscious crowd. It is luminous and silvery. We love that it pairs great with diamonds and other gemstones. White gold is typically made by combining gold, silver, palladium, nickel, or zinc alloys. It's not actually white.
It gets its white finish from rhodium. The problem with white gold jewelry is that it will need to be replated to keep its color. To avoid this, go with silver instead.
Rose gold's romantic hue adds a girly touch to any outfit. Rose gold comprises metals like yellow gold, copper, and silver. It has a unique warm rosy tone that looks great with all skin types and is an excellent alternative to traditional yellow gold. Look for the karat markings on your rose gold jewelry to determine its purity.
Are you looking to create an unforgettable family heirloom for your children? Check out What is Heirloom Jewelry? A Beginner's Guide for more information.
Gold vermeil is a relatively new addition to the world of gold jewelry. It's made by coating sterling silver with a thick layer of gold. This combination of metals results in a piece that looks like solid gold but is more affordable and durable than solid gold jewelry. As with solid gold, look for the karat markings to determine its purity.
For gold vermeil to meet United States regulations, it must use a minimum of 10K gold purity. The good news is that most jewelers meet these standards. So as long as you ensure it's labeled, you'll know your jewelry is of good quality. However, remember that gold vermeil will wear down over time.
Gold-filled jewelry is made by applying a layer of gold over a base metal like brass. The gold layer must equal at least 5 percent of the entire piece. That makes it denser and more durable than gold-plated jewelry.
The most significant issue with gold-filled jewelry is that it may tarnish over time. Keep it away from chemicals to preserve it. You'll see 12K, 14K, and 18K purities with gold-filled jewelry, so look for the karat markings to verify its purity.
Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold-plated jewelry is the most affordable and easiest to find. It's created by applying a thin layer of gold over a base metal through electroplating. Electroplating is coating one metal with another using a metal salt. Since the gold layer is so thin, it won't last as long as other forms of gold jewelry and will need replacing more often.
Gold-plated jewelry is usually made with a 10K gold layer, but it can vary, so check the item's karat markings to verify its purity. Gold-plated jewelry can onset allergy symptoms. If you have had reactions to metals in the past, you'll want to avoid it.
Brass is another type of jewelry we advise you to avoid. It's made by combining copper and zinc alloys, which can cause a reaction in some people. Brass jewelry doesn't contain gold, so it won't have the karat markings you typically find on gold jewelry. As soon as you start secreting sweat, your skin will react to the brass, causing a reaction or turning green.
To discover if your jewelry is made from brass, hold it up to a magnet. If it is attracted to the magnet, then your jewelry is made from brass.
Gilded silver is a newer form of jewelry that's becoming more popular. It's made by coating sterling silver with 18K gold foil or higher. These pieces are more expensive because they look and feel like solid gold. Gilded silver is also hypoallergenic and won't tarnish. It's a great option for those with allergies.
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Finding the Right Gold Jewelry for You
These are just a few gold jewelry types on the market today. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly piece or something genuine and solid, there's a style of gold jewelry to suit your unique taste. Remember to check for the karat markings. If possible, only buy jewelry from a reputable jeweler.