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special jewelry
gold jewelry
24 karat
karats
different colors
Gold Karats
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Karat is a measure of the purity of gold, unlike 'carat' which is used to measure the size of gemstones. In the United States, gold content is measured in karats, with 24 karat being pure gold. European countries use a three digit number to grade the fineness with 999 being pure or 24 karat gold.

Different colors can be obtained by using certain metals in the alloy. Red gold is a mixture of gold and copper, white gold is a mixture of gold and platinum or palladium, purple gold is a mixture of gold and aluminum, and rose gold is a blend of gold, copper and silver.

10 karat gold is 10/24ths or 41.67% gold. It is most commonly alloyed with silver, nickel and copper. Nothing less than 10k can be marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States, but 8k and 9k is common in other countries. In Europe, 10k would be stamped as 417.

14 karat gold is the most common grade sold in the United States, as it is durable and perfect for jewelry making. It is usually alloyed with copper, nickel and silver. Copper gives the gold a more yellow color, while zinc or silver give the gold a whiter color. The disadvantage of 14 karat gold is that it tends to lose its luster, and needs to be cleaned regularly. It is 14/24ths or 58.33% gold by weight. The European equivalent is 583.

18 karat gold, also very good for jewelry, is 18/24ths or 75% gold. It has more shine than 14 karat gold. In Europe, where 18 karat gold is most popular, the designation is 750. It is alloyed with copper, silver, nickel, palladium, or a blend of one or more of these metals. Like 14 karat gold, 18 karat gold is prone to tarnishing and needs to be cleaned to regain its luster.

22 karat gold is used mostly for special jewelry or collectable coins, as it is softer than lower karat gold and more susceptible to scratches and wear. It is 22/24ths or 91.66% gold, and 917 in Europe. It is most often alloyed with silver, copper and zinc.

24 karat gold is pure gold. Jewelry is not usually made from pure gold, as it is soft and easy to damage. Gold bars and some coins are made from 24 karat gold. If you are buying gold bars, the bar will be stamped with `999,9' if it is European and `24k' if it is from the United States.


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