What is Karat?
The term carat, when used with gold, is a quality mark and measures the fineness of gold. Pure gold is known as 24 carat gold. If gold jewellery is then taken as consisting of 24 parts, jewellery of 18 carat gold would mean that 18 parts are pure gold, and the remaining six parts are other metals. Americans use the letter "K" to represent "Karat"; while the Europeans use a scale based on a thousand parts. The following table explains this:
What other metals are mixed with gold?
Although extremely beautiful, pure gold - 24 carat gold - is so soft that it would gradually wear away with everyday use. Gold used in jewellery is usually alloyed (mixed) with other metals to strengthen and harden it, as well as change its colour.
For example: 18 carat yellow gold is made up of 75 per cent gold, 12.5 per cent silver and 12.5 per cent copper.
What is white gold?
White gold is an alternative to platinum (white gold uses a lower heat and same tools as yellow gold). When white gold is alloyed, it is not exactly white so rhodium plating has to be applied to give it a shiny, white finish. Rhodium is a silvery white metallic element of the platinum family, used to electroplate microscopes and instrument parts to prevent corrosion.
How do I care for gold jewellery?
Follow these simple rules: