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Ten Carat Gold the Good and the Bad

Dec 7, 2007
Gold has captivated us for thousand of years especially when it comes to jewelry. The gift of gold has never fallen out of favor, considered an act of respect and love. Gold has started wars, helped build far flung empires and fueled great economies.

The sparkle of pure gold helped to drive some of greatest human migrations in history, most notably in the Western United States. From the Black Hills of South Dakota to Sutters Mill in Northern California, thousands of people abandoned careers, homes and families is search of the precious yellow metal. Some became rich while many more did not.

Today, gold jewelry is still as popular ever. There is so much gold jewelry available for sale that one might think that the supply of gold is inexhaustible. Gold ore is a finite resource and the world supply of pure gold is limited. Contrary to what many of us might think, pure gold is never used in a finished item of jewelry. There are several important reasons why you will not find pure gold jewelry that has little to with supply.

The purity of gold and other precious metals, like platinum and silver, is measured in carats. The term carat refers to the purity of the metal. This is not to be confused with how the term carat is applied to gemstones. Gemstones carats refer to the weight of the stone and are not a reflection of purity. Precious metals are graded by purity. The purest form of gold is twenty four carats.

Pure gold is very malleable and is much too soft to be used for jewelry. When gold is combined with other base metals, the carat purity is reduced. However, adding base metals like silver, palladium and copper, makes the gold more workable and the result is a harder, more durable piece of jewelry. Eighteen carat gold jewelry is considered very valuable since it is seventy five percent gold and twenty five percent base metals.

For those of us who can not afford the high cost of eighteen carat gold jewelry, there are some less expensive alternatives. For example, fourteen carat gold contains fifty eight percent gold and twelve carat contains fifty percent gold. Even though the amount of gold is less, fourteen and twelve carat gold jewelry can be a good buy.

Where the balance of gold to base metals really changes is in ten carat gold. Ten carat gold contains roughly fifty eight percent base metals. Despite the lower amount of gold, ten carat gold jewelry can still be a good buy. The value comes in knowing the type base metals that have been alloyed with the gold.

Ten carat gold that has been made with more silver or palladium, and less copper, is a much better value. Low carat gold that has a high copper content will tarnish and blacken. Copper tarnishes and discolors very easily as anyone who worn a copper bracelet or other type of copper jewelry will attest to.

Gold alloyed with palladium is far less likely to discolor. Palladium a white colored metal that is similar in content to platinum.

The only retail standard in place for selling low carat gold is that it must be labeled as such. The average consumer does not have a way to assay the gold and must therefore rely on the honesty of the seller.

So buying ten carat gold jewelry needs to be an exercise in information. When buying low carat gold it is important to know which base metals are present. Do not hesitate to ask the seller for this information. If the seller can not, or will provide this information, keep shopping.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular jewelry site: http://www.jewelrysalesandservice.com. He provides informative advice on buying gold, jewelry, watches, and gemstones.
www.jewelrysalesandservice.com
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