Pure gold is also known as 24 karat gold. In its natural form it is simply too soft to be made into jewellery. In order to strengthen it, and make it suitable for jewellery, pure gold is combined with various other metals (depending on the desired colour ). The ratio of gold to alloy is what determines the karat. Think of it as a recipe, the karat number indicates how many parts of that 24 are made up by the main ingredient; the gold humankind has cherished for centuries.
The lower the karat (e.g. 9 karat), the lower the percentage of pure gold it contains, and the more affordable the piece. Affordability, however, is not the only advantage of lower karats. The higher the ratio of other metals to gold the more durable and more suited for daily use the jewellery will be. One drawback, however, is a slightly higher susceptibility to tarnish, although this is easily polished off.
The higher the karat, the more pure gold it contains.18 karat gold, whilst being softer than 9 karat, has that golden lustre that no other element can emulate.
At AuTerra we work primarily in 9k gold for its durability and soft, warm hue. That being said many of our pieces can be created in the karat (and colour) of your choosing, please get in touch to discuss the options. We would love to create a special piece just for you.
What does the stamp on my gold piece mean?
Genuine gold jewellery, with a few exceptions where the piece is very small or delicate, will bear a stamp, also known as a hallmark, which indicates the fineness of the gold used. The stamp is usually found on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet, or on the inner band of a ring.
There are a couple of different formats for this mark all meaning the same thing, 18k, 18kt and 750 all indicate 18 karat gold. Whilst the first two are pretty self explanatory, the latter refers to the percentage of gold in the alloy. 18K gold is 75% gold and so is indicated as 750. Similarly, 9 karat gold will be expressed by a 375 marking.
The stamp is the easiest way to understand what it is you are buying and whether or not it is genuine gold, so it is good practice to always check for these and enquire if you the piece doesn't carry a marking.