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"Easy Answers To The Most-Asked Questions About Karat Gold"

Why are there such price differences between similar-looking pieces of gold jewelry?

Pricing depends on four things:

Karatage:  other things being equal, 18K costs more than 14K because it contains more pure gold
Weight in grams:  heavier pieces contain more gold.
Design and construction: unique design, ornamental details or an unusual clasp can add to the price
Craftsmanship:  Gold jewelry is primarily made by machine; any handwork increases the price

What's the difference between real gold and karat gold?

They each mean the same thing:  honest-to-goodness gold. Gold jewelry comes in several degrees of purity, but it's all real gold.  (Note that pure 100% gold is generally considered too soft to use for jewelry.)

What's a karat?

A measure of gold's purity.  Gold used in jewelry is mixed with harder metals for strength and durability.  The higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the karat.

24 karat = 100% gold
18 karat = 75% gold
14 karat = 58.3% gold
10 karat = 41.6% gold

Is 18 karat gold better than 14 karat?

They both look great and wear beautifully.  18K is more valuable because it contains a higher percentage of pure gold.  It's like comparing good Chardonnay to fine Champagne.

Isn't this piece too light to be solid gold?

Large pieces in solid gold are heavy and expensive. Modern goldsmithing methods can make big, dramatic all-gold jewelry that's light, comfortable and well-priced.

What do all the markings on the back mean?

If a karat mark appears, by law you should also see the manufacturer's registered trademark to assure you that the karat marking is accurate.  The country of origin should also appear.

What about colored gold?  Is it real gold too?

Definitely.  The metals that are added to gold for strength and durability can also be used to change its color, giving it a fashionable rose or white tint, or "tweaking" the natural yellow tone to lighten or darken it.  It's all real gold.

Does gold jewelry need special care?  

Just gentle common-sense handling.  Take chains off at night and store flat to prevent kinking or breaking.  Polish jewelry with a soft cloth after wearing; avoid contact with perfume, soap, hairsprays and cosmetics.  



For more information, contact the World Gold Council, 900 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, (212) 688-0005.


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LAND OF ODDS - BE DAZZLED BEADS -- Jewelry Design Center
      On-line at http://www.landofodds.com
BE DAZZLED -- the physical store at:
      718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123
     Nashville, TN  37204
Phone: 615/292-0610; FAX: 615-460-7001
Email:   oddsian (at symbol) landofodds.com

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COPYRIGHT 2002 Warren S. Feld