Know Your Jewellery

Buying Guide

All that Glitters is Gold

Since the beginning of time, gold has captivated mankind with its everlasting, universal appeal. Due to its magnificent allure, it has even been likened to the sun, the giver of life.

One sign of gold´s lasting value is that it has been used as a currency for over 5,000 years and was often bought in huge quantities during times of crisis. However, certainly the most fascinating use of the sun- metal has been in jewelry. The metal´s durability has made it a symbol of lasting love and heritage, and it is passed down from generation to the next. Till date, Indian brides must wear no less than 24 karat gold on their wedding day, to mark a lifetime of happiness and good luck. 

 

The Characteristics of Gold

Some of the most defining characteristics of this coveted metal are explained below:

Rarity: It has been estimated that all the gold ever mined from the earth could fit beneath the Eiffel Tower. Also, it takes several tons of ore to produce just an ounce of gold.

Beauty: The warm golden colour of the metal is particularly beautiful. It also alloys easily with other metals, giving rise to a number of interesting variations such as rose gold (when mixed with copper) and green gold (when mixed with silver).

Purity: Gold does not tarnish easily as it is not affected by air, heat or moisture. The purity of gold has made gold bullion such a valuable commodity.

Durability: Although pure gold is fairly soft, it becomes extremely hard when mixed with other metals. The durability of gold has lent it to usage in the electronics industry as well.

Malleability: Gold is the most malleable of elements. A single gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet measuring one square meter. This unique property makes it easy to melt into any shape and form.

The Myriad Colours of Gold

Most regard gold as the metal with the soft yellow glow, and indeed its characteristic golden hue has been the source of its allure for centuries. Yet, for the more discerning connoisseur, there are a variety of shades available to choose from.
The tint that gold takes on depends on the metals it is mixed with. Here are the main shades of gold:

Yellow Gold
  • Yellow gold  – This of course, is the colour of gold in its natural occurance and is perhaps most commonly used in jewelry. To strengthen it, it is usually alloyed with copper or silver. Generally, 14 karat gold is brighter than 10 karat gold; 18 karat gold is deeper than 14 karat gold, and so on.
White Gold
  • White gold  – A more contemporary version is ´white gold´ which is created by using a nickel or palladium alloy, zinc and copper. It has become very fashionable in recent years as more and more consumers are favouring it over its classic yellow counterpart. White gold may even be plated with rhodium to enhance its appearance. A white gold setting can accentuate the look of white diamonds and give any piece of jewelry a contemporary edge.
Rose Gold
  • Rose gold  – When copper is alloyed with yellow gold, it gives it a characteristic pink, blush-like tint, which experts suggest lends a soft, flattering effect.
  • Green gold  - This alloy is created by mixing silver, copper and zinc to yellow gold.

Buying Gold

Know About Karats

Gold´s purity is measured in karats. It is a measurement that indicates the content of gold in a particular alloy. Generally, the higher the percentage of gold content, the softer (and yellower) the piece. Sometimes, gold of a lower karat weight is plated in higher-karat gold to enhance its color. However, gold plating will wear off over time and your jewelry may need to be re-plated.

The ´K´ sign you may notice on a piece of jewelry stands for karat, so if the ring on your finger reads 18K, it refers to the percentage of pure gold in it. The higher the karat number, the greater the percentage of gold in it. Here is a brief guide on karats:

  • 24K is pure gold.
  • 18K gold is equal to 75% gold.
  • 14K gold is equal to 58.3% gold.
  • 12K gold is equal to 50% gold.
  • 10K is equal to 41.7% gold.

Silver

Silver is one of the most revered metals used to make ornaments, jewelry, high-value tableware, silverware and currency coins. It has one of the highest reflectivities of any metal, which gives it its unprecedented brilliance.

Most silver jewelry you will find available is marked "Sterling Silver" or "925 Silver". It is 925 parts pure silver alloyed with either copper or titanium to give it more strength, while at the same time preserving the beauty of the precious metal.

The range of designs in silver is extensive; from simple, elegant fine jewelry pieces, to striking and bold costume styles. The metal is most popular with teens and young adults, due to its affordability as against gold or platinum.

The legend of silver

Silver is a soft, white, lustrous precious metal that was first discovered over 6,000 years ago. While gold was considered the ´perfect metal´, denoted by the symbol of a ´circle´, silver was the closest to it in perfection and was symbolized by a semi-circle. This later gave way to the half moon symbol due to the similarities between the metal and the glow of the moon.

In European folklore, silver was regarded as a remedy to various maladies and mythical creatures. Believed to be a repellent against vampires, legend has it that a werewolf could only be killed by a weapon or bullet made of silver. Gold certainly can´t stake that claim.

The usage of silver as a disinfectant dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. In the Middle ages, its use was rediscovered as a means to disinfect food and water.

It was rediscovered in the Middle Ages, where it was used to disinfect water and food during storage and also for the treatment of burns and wounds. It was also used in the 19th century by sailors who put silver coins in barrels of water and wine to keep the liquid pure. Pioneers in America used the same idea as they made their journey from coast to coast.

The tradition of gifting, to mark a wedding anniversary began several hundred years ago in the Germanic region of medieval Europe. The ´Silver´ anniversary was a significant milestone in marriage, where the twenty-fifth year of marriage was signified with the gifting of a silver garland. This is a tradition that in many parts of the world, is carried on to this day.

Silver jewelry comes in innumerable styles from bold costume pieces to simple silver bands. It can also be paired with diamonds and gemstones and never fails to create a statement!

Buying Silver

Buying SilverGiven its low cost, you will find a much larger range of jewelry items and designs in silver than in gold or platinum. You can also find ornamental decorative items such as frames, desktop accessories and cufflinks for men in silver. Here are some facts about silver you should know before you make your purchase:

Silver is a soft metal and so it cannot be used in its pure form. It is usually mixed with other metal alloys to make it sturdier. Sterling Silver has a purity of 92.5 %, which means that every 100 grams of sterling silver has 92.5 grams of pure silver and 7.5 % of other metal alloys. Such jewelry will usually be marked "925". Good quality silver jewelry will always be made from sterling silver.

Silver jewelry will tarnish over time. This is because the alloys in silver react with air to create deposits that tarnish the surface of the item. Silver jewelry requires regular cleaning and polishing to maintain its sheen. Well-polished silver has a sheen that is even more brilliant than that achieved by gold and platinum! Most sterling silver jewelry will have a coating of a lacquer to protect it from tarnishing. All coatings will wear off with time, and the jewelry will acquire a dull look if not polished.



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