Gold and jewellery go together like Monday night and football. As an exquisite wearable or collectible, gold jewellery can bring luxury to your aesthetic and ultimately become an elegant addition to your fashion wardrobe.
We often take for granted the beauty of a striking piece of gold jewellery, mainly due to the fact that we don’t have many resources to learn about the history, style and nuances that make up gold jewellery. That’s where Gold.to comes in.
Read on to learn more about the many varieties of gold jewellery, the different gold colours available, how you can preserve it properly, and where you can sell gold for the best rate of return.
Know Your History
First, let’s look at how jewellery first adorned people who wanted to make a statement beyond the clothes they wear. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, long before precious metals made an impact on jewellery design, prehistoric humans decorated themselves with a range of shells, fishbones, fish teeth, and coloured pebbles. Those who lived inland also used as ornaments some materials from the animals they had killed for food such as reindeer antlers, mammoth tusks, and different types of animal bones.
Once gold and precious stones were mined, jewellery design elevated to include sparkly diamonds and shiny gold. For the head and face people wore crowns, diadems, tiaras, hairpins, combs, earrings, nose rings, lip rings, and earplugs. For the neck and torso, along came necklaces, fibulae (the ancient safety pin), brooches, belts, and watch fobs. Adorning the arms and hands were armlets, bracelets, and rings were fashioned. For the thighs, legs, and feet the world ushered in thigh bracelets, ankle bracelets, toe rings, and shoe buckles.
Gold has made its mark in jewellery since as far back as 4000 B.C. in Eastern Europe and Iraq in 3000 B.C. One of the most remarkable discoveries of gold jewellery came from Egypt with the unearthing of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun (18th dynasty; 1539–1292 BCE). This array of treasures, now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, represents the biggest collection of gold and jewellery in the world. A fun fact: The pharaoh’s innermost coffin was comprised entirely of gold, and the mummy was blanketed with a huge quantity of jewels.
You can see the craftsmanship in ancient golden artifacts, such as a pendant discovered in a Minoan tomb at Mallia, Crete. It’s known as one of the most perfect masterpieces of jewelry that originated in the 17th century BCE. The Sun’s disk is covered with granulation and is supported by two bees, forming the central part of the piece. The tops of the rings, with relief engravings of highly animated pastoral scenes, cults, hunting, and war, are also fine.
As Brittanica explains, “Like those of the other jewelry forms, the ornamental motifs of the necklaces are varied, including dates, pomegranates, half-moons facing each other, lotus flowers, and a hand squeezing a woman’s breast. During the late Mycenaean period, earrings appeared in the shape of the head of a bull, an animal frequently represented in early gold plate.”
Types of Gold in Jewellery
It never hurts to be knowledgeable about the many varieties of gold that could comprise a jewellery piece.
First, note that 24 karat gold is the element in its purest form. It boasts a rich, aqueous yellow colour. Pure gold can be easy to dent and even stretch if the pieces are thin enough. More often than not, 24 karat gold (or close to it) is used for surface applications of plating or thin gold foil sheets, sometimes called gold leaf.
When it comes to yellow gold alloys, it’s made by pure gold mixing with other metal elements while in the molten state. The yellow gold alloy material is more durable for long-lasting jewelry that is easy to manage and preserve, and it also makes the material somewhat less expensive.
Whatever the intensity of the colour, we usually regard gold as a yellow-toned metal. But, you can enjoy a range of gold karatage in different colours if you vary the added metals in the alloys. For example, white gold contains nickel and, with a little less copper and a specific ratio of silver and zinc, you can also craft alloy green gold, which will definitely stand out in a bracelet or necklace.
Rose gold is often deemed exotic, as this L.A. Times article points out. “Rose gold is more rare, whether that’s because it’s made to order or there’s just less of it being made,” says. Duvall O’Steen, director of jewelry promotion for the World Gold Council. “The fashion world loves nothing more than exclusivity, making rose gold that much more desirable. But the price is still comparable to white or yellow gold because copper is inexpensive and jewelry made of rose gold is priced on the weight of the gold.”
Two or three distinct layers form gold-filled material. The core metal is often jewellers’ brass (10% zinc and 90% copper) but over history sterling silver was sometimes employed instead. Single clad gold-filled includes all the gold content in a single layer on one side, while double clad gold-filled splits the gold content into surface layers on both sides of the material. Heat and pressure are applied to bond the gold alloy to one or both surfaces of the brass core. Also, sheet and wire made from the raw gold-filled material are sold to jewelry manufacturers for use in designs.
Gold-filled contains 5% or 1/20 gold alloy by weight. Most gold-filled items is 12 karat or 14 karat gold-filled.
One of the rarest types of gold to come across is black gold. It’s made via surface treatment of gray gold or by alloy of cobalt with gold, then heat treatment.
If you’re interested in the composition of 18 karat black gold, its stats are: 750/1000 gray gold + black rhodium surface treatment.
In the market for gold jewellery? Buyer beware
Since gold jewellery is so appealing to the eye, and connotes wealth and luxury, its popularity has given rise to nefarious scammers. A UK study found that up to a third of gold jewellery found online is fake, as Sky News reports.
British Hallmarking Council chairman, Noel Hunter, said the study highlighted “just a fraction” of the total number of fake pieces.
“We have seen little appetite from the internet giants to step up enforcement or adequately protect consumers,” he said.
Spotting counterfeit gold may not come easy to everyday jewellery lovers. NBC News offers a quick handy tip: Hold the magnet up to the gold and if it’s real gold it won’t stick to the magnet, because real gold is not magnetic. Fake gold, on the other hand, will stick to the magnet.
Other experts suggest checking gold items with the help of iodine. If there is a stain left on the item after the test, you have in your hand a fake or an alloy. A drop of iodine added to platinum items will stay dark — the more saturated its colour is, the higher the hallmark of the item is.
Keep your gold precious
As lovely as your gold jewellery collection may be, you need to take steps to ensure its long life. Below are some valuable tips you should remember in order to preserve your favourite pieces.
When wearing your jewellery, avoid using harmful chemicals that could damage your necklaces, rings and tiaras. For example, perfume and cologne contain chemicals that could alter the colour of your gold jewellery.
Also, even if you look like a princess wearing all that bling in a pool, don’t mix jewellery and water. Chlorine has been known to damage certain delicate stones and gems.
Don’t get caught up in the hype over certain cleaning products when it comes time to clean your gold. We recommend the classic soap and water to clean jewellery that may have attracted grime or smudges.
Use an unbleached white cotton cloth and a light mixture of soap and water to wipe down your jewellery. Pay attention to any areas with marks or tarnishes. Note it’s a bad idea to soak jewellery, because leaving metal in water can cause tarnishing or rusting.
Then lay your jewellery on a towel to dry.
When it comes to storage, it can only hurt your sparkling goodies if you bag them all together. It’s always recommended to separate your jewellery into individual bags or small boxes, such as padded slots for rings. Many collectors also use posts or hooks or neck busts to hang their necklaces and bracelets.
If you travel with your fave pieces, you should separate your items and place them in individual plastic bags. That way, any baggage jostling won’t harm your collectibles.
Selling your gold treasures
There may come a time when you want to sell your gold jewellery, especially if you read our recent Gold.to article on recognizing the right moment to lighten your jewellery haul.
It’s always ideal to discuss with experts about the exact value of certain items, just to ensure that you are aware of all the ins and outs of your golden memorabilia.
We recommend testing any outlet you are unsure of by bringing in a piece that you have taken to several different stores. If they offer you less than the average amount, factoring into account any changes in the price of gold, you may want to relegate that spot to the “no way!” pile.
If you want to sell your gold then you will be relieved to know that gold hit an all-time high earlier this year, so you are poised to enjoy a premium payout. The downside of selling your gold is that it’s very easy to get taken advantage of, as noted above, which why many gold sellers trust Gold.to. We simplify the process and ensure that you get a fair and accurate payout.
Call us and speak to a live agent in order to feel that relief of, “Yes, finally someone I can trust!” The goal is to help you determine how you can get the most money for your gold, based on value.
Gold.TO will put you in touch with a positively reviewed partner based on your location and items. Also, it is always helpful to check the “spot” value of the metal at the moment you’re selling it – using our website or anyone else’s.
Gold jewellery is here to stay, and its appeal isn’t about to wane anytime soon. We hope the above tips and advice give you a high degree of comfort in recognizing the many ways gold can be incorporated in jewellery and how you can keep your items preserved for years to come.
Have a question about selling your gold jewellery?
If you want to know the top places to sell your gold or have questions about where you can get top dollar for your gold items, check out our best gold buyers in Toronto, contact us or call 1(800)644-7313.