Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gold differences

10 vs 14 vs 18 vs 24??? What does it all mean? Well, let's start at the beginning....

24k means 24 karats of gold---but don't confuse it with carat.  A carat is used to measure gemstones (for example I want a 1 carat diamond). A karat is a unit of purity, with 24 being 100% pure.

Here is the math lesson of the day: 24k gold is 24/24 parts gold.  18k gold is 18 parts gold, and 6 parts of some other metal, and the fraction/ratio pattern continues on down.
  • 24k gold is 100% pure
  • 18k gold is 75% pure -- the European standard
  • 14k gold is 58.3% pure -- most common used in jewelry in the USA
  • 10k gold is 41.6% pure
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This is a caret.  Remember them from school? Teachers and editors use them to signal that something ˄ needed.  Caret come from the Latin words caret and car─ôre.  One R, 1 E. East peasie.
So why isn't jewelry made of 24k gold?  Simple, pure gold is too soft. It looses its shape, bends and scratches very easily.  To fix that problem, other metal is added to the gold-- usually zinc, silver, nickel, platinum or copper (being the most common).  The other metal mixed with the gold allows the gold jewlery piece to be strong and hold its shape.

10k and on up to 24k gold is all considered gold and can be sold labeled gold in the USA.  Different countries have differest standards. Britain and Canda are 9k, while France and Italy are18k.

Side note:  The chemical symbol for gold is Au, which comes from the Latin word for gold, aurum, which comes from the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora.

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