When buying jewelry there are many factors to look at, mostly when making a big purchase. Before investing in a piece make sure you know what materials were used to make it so you know you are purchasing smart. One huge influence in jewelry is what metal is being used to make the piece. Below are a few things to learn about gold and why you should spend more for value:
Gold Plated jewelry starts with a base metal, if it is sterling silver then it is called Vermeil, the metal is then either dipped in real gold multiple times to have a thick coating or it is electrically charge onto the base metal. You mostly see gold plated jewelry in costume jewelry, leaving it very gold and shinny. This unfortunately does not last long and wears off pretty fast. The lifespan of gold plated is normally about one year and can cause other issues like turning your skin green and allergic reactions.
Gold Filled jewelry is the in-between metal, lasting longer than gold filled but not as long and nice as solid gold. Gold filled jewelry is made by bonding gold to a base metal, it has a little more real gold than gold plated and will last longer. The average lifespan of gold filled is anywhere from 5-30 years depending on how well you store your jewelry. Other factors can make a difference with gold plated and gold filled jewelry, for example, your skin oils, showering, perfumes, lotions, and cleaning.
14K Gold is the most popular type when getting into fine jewelry. It is the hardest of the real golds and will not change shapes as easily. 14K gold is made with 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy. The alloys that gold is normally alloyed with are copper, nickel, zinc or silver. Rose gold gets its rose from the copper alloy and white gold gets its white from nickel or other white metals and then plated with rhodium. If you take care of your gold it will last a lifetime and more.
18K Gold is made with 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloy. It is a little softer than 14K but not as soft as 24K. 18K Gold is brighter in color than 14K because the gold is 4 parts more. 18K Gold is used in fine jewelry a lot and will last forever if properly taken care of. Because gold is soft you will want to store it in soft pouches so it does not scratch and dent.
24K Gold is solid gold, you do not see 24K as much in jewelry anymore because of how soft and malleable it is. It is the brightest of the golds and has a very yellow color to it. When purchasing 24K you need to store it in very soft pouches, not wear it everyday and be gentle with it to keep it in its best condition. Like all the real golds, it will last forever.