Buying fine jewelry can be overwhelming because there is such a huge variety out there. However, there are a few things you can understand about the materials used in the jewelry you are buying so that you make an educated purchase and know what your jewelry is really worth.
Here are 3 things to look for before buying gold and diamond jewelry online.
1. What is gold jewelry made of ?
There are a few different ways in which gold is used to make gold jewelry.
1. Gold Plated
At first sight, a gold plated jewel looks lustrous and almost like the real deal. However, the reality is that this luster is superficial. It is a thin layer of gold achieved by quickly dipping the piece in a gold bath. The gold used in such a piece is less that 1% of the total metal. Through several wears, this thin layer of gold erodes quickly leaving you with the a discolored base metal. This solution is often used to add a little more value to imitation jewelry while keeping prices rather low.
2. Gold Vermeil
This is a special type of gold plating where a silver piece of jewelry is dipped in a gold. The plating is slightly thicker than the other versions of gold plating. This type of gold plating is good for people looking for a budget piece. Both silver and gold have resale value making this a better investment than going with a plain gold plating. Because silver and gold are both precious metals, this type of jewelry is often found in fine jewelry stores. While gold vermeil jewelry is more durable than gold plated jewelry, over time, and use, even this layer of gold will erode to show the underlying layer of silver.
3. Gold Filled
Gold filled jewelry has to contain over 5% of gold by weight for it to categorized so. A layer of gold is melted over the jewelry to achieve a thicker coat than gold plating and gold vermeil. This is achieved by a mechanical bonding process and tends to be more durable than any kind of gold plating. However, this thick coat will also start tarnishing with time and use.
4. Solid Gold
The fourth and final method of making jewelry is by using solid gold. Here the design is cast in an alloy of gold, zinc, nickel, silver and copper. The diamonds and gemstones are then set in this alloy. Excessive use of solid gold jewelry will not cause it to tarnish or change colour. You can go for a swim in chlorinated water or in the salty sea; you can be in the sun all day and on the beach, and it will still not cause your jewelry to deteriorate, wear out or get tarnished. The only maintenance required is a simple polish and clean every few years to brush away any scratches created by rough use. The solid gold jewelry piece is what you can pass on to generations to come. Solid gold comes in 14 karat gold or 18 karat gold. 24 Karat gold is too soft to keep the form of a jewelry design. Hence jewelers generally cast their designs in 14 karat or 18 karat gold.
2. Should you be buying 18 karat gold or 14 karat gold jewelry ?
How do you decide if you should buy a 14 karat gold jewel or an 18 karat gold jewel?
So here are a few questions to ask yourself with regards to the purpose of your purchase:
1. Is this a budget piece for gifting? If yes, I would recommend you go with 14 karat gold. This does not make the jewel less valuable, because it is still solid gold. It simply means that the piece contains 14 parts of gold as opposed to 18 parts.
2. Is this an investment piece? That is, do you feel you will melt the jewel in the future so you can sell the gold at the going market rate? In this case, you are looking at the piece more as an investment into the future (while also enjoying its beauty at present).
Of course a huge part of this debate boils down to your budget. 14 karat gold and 18 karat gold are both valuable. They both are equally durable and look identical. The only real difference is the proportion of gold to the alloy it is mixed with.
3. Are you allergic to Nickel?
One last thing to consider is whether or not the solid gold jewel contains nickel as part of its alloy mix. If you find that some jewelry creates an allergic reaction- it is generally because of the nickel content. At Golden Gazelle, we only create solid gold, nickel free jewelry . Head over to our shop section to see the huge range of affordable fine gold jewelry.