Guide to Gold & Platinum Jewellery
At Diamond Elite we like to focus on 18kt Gold and Platinum as we believe it is the essence of premium high quality jewellery. Alternatively we have the option of 9kt or 14kt gold, thus allowing our customers to really customise their jewellery to suit their own budget.
If you don’t understand the differences between all the different Gold Karats and the reason some gold jewellery can look a bit different to others, then we will explain it to you.
Gold is a metal with special properties that make it most suitable for the use in fine jewellery. Alongside Silver and Platinum, these three metals make up the most common materials found in jewellery. The main difference between these three metals is the fact that while Silver and Platinum are silvery white in colour, Gold is naturally yellow.
Gold is measured in Karats and while that sounds similar to how diamonds and gems are measured in carats, there is a big difference. Gold Karat is defined by how pure the gold is. This is a fraction out of 24 parts (also parts per thousand). In other words, pure gold, which is 100% natural gold (actually 99.99%) is considered to be 24 karat gold (24 parts gold out of 24 parts). While Diamonds, gemstones and other precious stones are measured with Carats, as in Carat weight. This is the weight of the stone and although people commonly mistake it for the size, 1 Metric Carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
-24 Karat Gold
Although 24 Karat Gold is Gold in its purest form, it is also very soft. In fact, too soft to be used in jewellery that is intended to be worn daily. Normally, jewellery that is made with 24 Karat Gold is used for very special occasions or traditions. There are a lot of traditions around the world that do involve 24 Karat Gold jewellery. Chinese and Indian customs are known for giving 24 Karat Gold gifts during weddings and births. 95% of the time 24 Karat Gold jewellery will have a stamp on the inside of the item stating that it is 24kt. This stamp will look like “24K/24kt/999/99%”
-18 Karat Gold
18 Karat Gold is the purity that we here at Diamond Elite use the most. 18k Gold is 18 parts gold out of 24 parts or ¾ Gold. It is comprised of 75% pure Gold and we believe it is the most appropriate karat gold to be used in fine jewellery as it has enough purity to know you are indeed wearing Gold but not too pure which in turn makes it too soft. The remaining 25% is made up of alloys. 18k Gold is durable enough to be worn daily and usually stamped with “18K/18kt/750/75%”. The appearance of gold with higher karat will be more yellow, i.e. 18k Gold will appear more yellow than 9k Gold as the ratio of Pure Gold is higher in 18k Gold.
-14 Karat Gold
14 Karat Gold is also a suitable option for high end jewellery that can retain its value and is also has moderate Pure Gold content to have a nice yellow colour. 14 Karat Gold is 14 parts Gold out of 24 parts, or in other words 58.3% Gold, while the rest is metal alloy. 14 Karat Gold is usually stamped with “14K/14kt/580”
-9 Karat Gold
9 Karat Gold is the lowest purity of Gold found in jewellery with 9 parts of Gold out of 24 parts, or 37.5% Gold. This Gold is usually found in many marketplaces around the world. While many jewellers don’t like to work with 9 Karat Gold due to its low retail value and high labour costs, we will happily make you a ring in 9 Karat Gold should you so desire. 9K Gold will usually have a stamp indicating its purity like so “9K/9kt/375”.
-If 14 Karat Gold is 58.3%, what is the other 41.7%?
Jewellery is actually made out of alloys. An alloy is a mixture of metals which are mixed with the gold and can include copper, silver, zinc and nickel. In this case it is the mixture of Gold and another metal and this is what gives Gold its “purity”. In 18K Gold we mentioned the fact that it is 75% pure, the other 25% is another metal mixed in to give it a desired colour or to make the alloy and jewellery item as a whole a bit stronger. The results of alloying gold increases its tensile strength and hardness. When you hear that 14K gold is 14 parts Gold out of 24 parts, the remaining parts (in this case 8 parts) is the alloys and is where the different Gold colours come into play.
Gold comes in many different colours (even though it is naturally yellow) with the main three being: yellow, white, and rose. googThese colours are obtained by using a certain metal to be mixed with the gold to create the alloy that is used for the ring or jewellery item. For example, in 18K Gold that is 75% pure Gold, the other 25% that is left is the metal that decides what colour the Gold will be.
In Yellow Gold we simply use copper and silver with a bit of green tint to maintain the natural yellow colour of the Gold. In White Gold, which is very popular these days, the Gold is mixed with silver and nickel to create the white colour, afterwards it is plated in Rhodium (another precious metal, even more expensive and rare than Gold or Platinum). And finally, in Rose Gold the remaining metal is mainly copper, giving it the distinctive pink hue.
Platinum is another precious metal that is very commonly used in fine jewellery. It is rarer than gold and denser, therefore more is needed to create the same item, hence the premium in price. Platinum is generally 10-25% more expensive than its Gold counterpart. Since there are not that many different mixes of platinum we will only explain one. PT950 is the purity of Platinum that we use, and it is one of the finest purities available. This Platinum is at 95% purity, with the other 5% most commonly Ruthenium. Also, like white gold it is plated in Rhodium to give it an extra shiny white silvery finish. The main difference between white gold and Platinum is that Platinum does not tarnish. However, both White Gold & Platinum look exactly the same on the outside as both are plated in Rhodium. It is the Rhodium that gives White Gold & Platinum the bright white finish. In other words, White Gold rings over the years eventually will turn into a dull yellow colour, reverting back to its natural state. Platinum will always remain silvery, but it can become dull over time due to scratches and blemishes. PT950 Platinum normally has a stamp indicating its purity, for example “PT950/PLAT/P950”.