Jewelry Trivia: I Didn’t Know That!


Presented here is a bit of jewelry trivia that may surprise you.  It never hurts to be ‘up’ on your jewelry ‘IQ’ when you find yourself making that special purchase for yourself or someone special.  It’s, also, important to remember that ‘not everything that glitters is gold’.

Platinum vs. White Gold:

If you’re looking for a metal that remains more durable than gold, consider platinum.  White gold can actually yellow, but platinum will stay true to its color; and it is heavier and more dense than gold.

If you are prone to allergic reactions due to metals, platinum is 100% non-allergenic.  White gold can contain nickel and the nickel alloy can contribute to skin eruptions.

Gold Purity:

Pure gold is very soft and must be mixed with other metals, or alloys, to make it durable for every-day wear.  Gold jewelry on the retail market is available as 18K, 14K and 10K.

Below, are gold-content comparisons.  ‘K’ or ‘karat’ simply indicates the gold’s purity.

— 24K gold is 99.9% pure gold–24 karats is pure gold by ‘definition’.

It is virtually impossible to remove all impurities from gold, so even the purest gold will have microscopic traces of other minerals.

— 18K gold is 75% pure gold

— 14K gold is 58.3% pure gold

— 10K gold is 41.7% pure gold

Real Gold vs. Fake Gold:

Anything less than 10K is considered junk gold.  The ABC series, ‘20/20’, performed an undercover investigation regarding unethical gold sales.  The ‘20/20’ team purchased jewelry advertised as 10K in more than twenty stores.  More than half of those businesses sold the ‘20/20’ crew various gold pieces with less than 10K.

There are several ways to help determine if your gold is authentic; and utilizing more than one ‘test’ will give you that much more certainty:

— If the piece leaves any color on your skin, it could be junk gold.  Although, legitimate pieces can contain alloys that can cause skin irritations, also.

— Gold is quite heavy; and if the piece feels too light, question its authenticity.

— In the U.S. and many other countries, a stamp will be displayed on the jewelry to indicate the gold’s purity.   For example, if the inside band of a ring has the numbers ‘417’, a decimal placement will give you the gold content.  That means ‘417’ would be ’41.7%’ gold, or 10K.  If no visual stamp exists, go elsewhere.  Some gold pieces will be stamped 10K, 14K etc.

Genuine Diamonds vs. Cubic Zirconias:

Simulated diamonds, known as cubic zirconias (CZ’s), are beautiful duplicates of the natural stone.  Cubic zirconias are almost as hard as real diamonds; and the clarity and color of genuine diamonds and CZ’s are virtually identical.

On the Moh’s Scale of mineral hardness, diamonds (being the hardest material known to man) will rank a ‘10’ while CZ’s are not far behind with an ‘8-8.5’ hardness rating.

One of the most reliable ways a jeweler can tell if a stone is an actual diamond is by looking for flaws.  Genuine diamonds, almost without exception, will possess some kind of imperfection.  A natural gem without surface flaws or internal blemishes is extremely rare and would be prohibitively expensive.  With the use of a special microscope, a jeweler can locate expected imperfections, in diamonds, that are too small to be detected by the human eye.  If the diamond you are wearing is flawless, someone either emptied their bank account for you or purchased a beautiful, simulated diamond.  CZ’s are 100% flawless, 100% of the time.

Raise your jewelry IQ; and buy with confidence!

Karen Carlson is a retired school teacher who writes in her spare time.  She writes a lot on the topic of jewelry and covers brands like King Baby.

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