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Jewelry Glossary

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A yellow or silvery precious metal that is prized for its beauty, purity, and brilliance. It does not oxidize or tarnish like sterling silver or most other metals. Gold used in gold jewelry is usually alloyed with other metals since gold in its pure form is very soft and pliable, and therefore would not be durable for wear by itself. Gold purity is measured in Karats (Karats with a "K" grade gold, Carats with a "C" measures the weight of diamonds and gemstones.) The Karat marking system was not widely used until around the late 1800's. The karat number refers to the parts of pure gold per 24 in the alloy. For example, 14K gold jewelry is 14/24 parts pure gold, or about 58% gold. Many European and other countries mark gold with a three-digit number indicating the parts per thousand of gold. Thus, gold jewelry is often marked "750" for 750/1000 gold. (Equivalent to US 18K). In addition to various purities in gold jewelry, gold also comes in many colors, including white, pink, and green gold, in addition to the familiar yellow gold.

See also: Gold filled  Gold plate  Karat  Rose gold  Green gold  White gold  Black Hills Gold  Yellow gold