A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Gold Jewelry.
When shopping for fine jewelry, there's a ton of information to digest. If gold is your choice of metal, do you want white, pink, yellow, green?? What about karats? 14k, 18k? And what is the difference between solid and fill? What does it all mean? We wanted to give you a clear, comprehensive guide - to help you make the best choice for your lifestyle.
So, what does karat mean?
Let's start with color and karat, because they go hand and hand. So, if the gold in jewelry is less than 24k, it is actually an "alloy". An alloy is a mixture of various metals. Karats are used to grade the purity of said alloys. The other metals in an alloy help with the durability of the metal, while helping with affordability.
Here's a bit of a breakdown - to be considered gold in the US, the content of a gold alloy has to be at least 9k which is 37.5% gold, with the rest composed other metals. Going up from there, the most common waypoints are 10k(41.7%), 14k(58.3%), 18k(75%), and 22k(91.7%) and 24k which is pure gold.
The higher percentage of gold, the more intense of a yellow color it will have. The other metals in an alloy also determine the color. Pink or rose gold for example, has copper as part of it's makeup, to create that lovely rose-y color. White gold can get its color from nickel, silver, zinc or palladium (Lackadazee uses palladium white gold exclusively). White gold is actually not a bright white color, light you often see in contemporary jewelry stores. This is due to rhodium plating as a final process of making. White gold in its raw form is a yellowish gray, which is much more beautiful than it sounds. Rhodium plating takes maintenance, and generally speaking, white gold jewelry with this treatment needs attention every 1-2 years.
What gold-fill is and why we don't use it.
You can buy gold in three-forms - plate, fill, and solid. Plate is pretty straight forward - a thin layer is "plated" to the piece with a super thin layer of gold using electricity. The issue with this process, is your left with a piece of jewelry that can't be worn after a short amount of time - which isn't great for the environment or your pocket book.
Gold-fill on the other hand, is base metal is rolled by machine with a layer of gold on top. Gold-fill is marketed as an affordable option for the same look as solid gold. The problem with gold-fill is its incredibly difficult to recycle, and doesn't hold the same heirloom value as solid gold. The recycling process is chemically intensive, and requires the use nitric acid.
What about Vermeil?
All of that aside, We will say there is a type of plating that we love, because it lends itself to affordability and sustainability(it terms of slow fashion).
Vermeil is the process of plating solid sterling silver with a thick layer of 10k-24k gold. After the gold weathers away, a beautiful and durable jewelry piece still exists in sterling silver.
We hope this is informative and takes the mystery away. We love what we do, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Stay gold, ya'll.