If you are considering buying gold or diamond jewelry in the near future, you must become an expert in many aspects that involve jewelry manufacturing. There are vast choices when it comes to materials that are used to make jewelry which include gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel, tungsten and even copper or glass. One has to expect that all jewelry made from precious metals would be considerably more expensive in comparison to other materials on the low end of the spectrum. We must also consider the value and learn to distinguish between real and imitation precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies to name a few.
Jewelry has been a fashion statement for many thousands of years and gold jewelry is by far the most common choice preferred by many around the world. Besides being a valuable precious investment metal, gold has a beautiful luster, it does not tarnish, fade or corrode, and finally, since it is very soft and melts at a low temperature, it is very easy to work with from the jeweler's point of view. Another important reason gold is very popular is because it is also hypoallergenic and will not cause any discomfort or rash to most people unlike other non precious metals such as copper and even steel.
The most important thing to consider when buying gold jewelry is the purity of gold which is measured in Karats. 24K is the standard of pure gold and it could also be displayed in parts per thousand or 999 pure. Most of us have probably seen this marking on TV or on a gold bar or even a gold coin. When mixed with other metals such as silver or copper, the purity is reduced and this is how we end up with 18K, 14K or 10K gold. It is easy to figure out the percentage of pure gold by knowing this simple formula. Take 10K for example; if we wish to know the percentage of gold in 10K jewelry, we must divide 10/24 = 0.416. This means that 10K gold has 416 parts per thousand of pure gold or 41.6%. We can do this for any other type of gold; ex. 14K is 14/24 = 0.585 or 58.8% pure gold and so on. You would probably think that the higher the purity - the better the piece of jewelry will become, however, that is not entirely true. Pure gold is extremely soft and not very practical when it comes to jewelry as it often breaks or bends out of shape when worn on a regular basis. There are many countries in the middle and far east that do make gold jewelry from nearly pure gold, however, in the north American and European markets we often see lower purity gold since when mixed with other metals it becomes stronger and more durable. Finally, there is no difference between white and yellow gold when it comes to purity, it is therefore a matter of individual preference but white gold is usually stronger and accentuates the natural white color of diamonds better then yellow gold. In recent years, platinum has also become a popular choice with jewelry buyers. Platinum is extremely hard and has a brilliant shine, and is an exquisite alternative for white gold. Platinum is quite expensive as it is rarer than gold and is more difficult to mine. Just like gold, platinum jewelry does not tarnish or fade with time. Silver is the cheaper alternative to gold as it is much more common, however silver does tarnish and turns dark very easily and will require frequent cleaning and polishing. Other alternatives include stainless steel and tungsten jewelry. Both are relatively cheap and very sturdy, however, since they are not considered precious metals, they have very little resale value and are often sold outside of jewelry stores and at various bazaars and markets around the world.
Now that we have learned about what jewelry is made of, we must consider the value and importance of precious stones that are often associated with gold and platinum jewelry. Diamonds are a girl's best friend as we all know, and make sure you read my detailed report as to how to pick the right diamond in one of my other articles. Some of the most popular precious stones include sapphires, rubies, emeralds and pearls. Chose a stone based on color preference or perhaps based on your month of birth since birth stones are also a popular choice for many. It is important to realize that precious stones can be real or synthetic and their value will greatly depend on many factors. Even pearls today are often of cultured variety and their value and stature has diminished because of that. It is nearly impossible for the average person to distinguish between real and synthetic stones unless you take gemology classes or spend a lot of time looking at different stones through a jeweler's loupe getting some hands on experience. My advice is to shop only with reputable dealers and always demand an independent third party appraisal from a certified gemologist.
Now that we got the basics down, I hope this article makes you a more knowledgeable jewelry shopper because as we all know knowledge is power!!!