Gold's natural color is further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals. Jewelers create yellow, rose, green and white golds by using different alloys. More copper results in a soft rose color; additional silver creates green gold; and palladium produces white.

Gold is very durable and look no further than the nearest museum where gold jewelry, coins and artifacts from ancient civilizations attest to the metal's enduring beauty and permanence. Jewelers throughout the ages have preferred gold to all other metals for its beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted, or shaped, to create any design. It can be alloyed with a number of other metals to increase its strength and produce a variety of colors.

Colors of Gold: Gold comes in a variety of colors. Because gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength, it can also be made in a variety of colors. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink gold; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper; green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.

White Gold: White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as nickel, silver and palladium. White gold can be 18k, 14k, 9k or any karat. For example, 18k yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as copper and zinc. 18k white gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as nickel, silver and palladium. So the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different.

Buying Tips
Pay special attention to fasteners or clasps, making sure catches work easily but are secure. Likewise, the backs of pins and earring posts should be strong and firmly attached to the piece with no soldering marks visible. With gold chain, lay it flat and make sure the links do not kink or bend.

Gold Pricing: Gold Pricing is based on four factors: karatage, gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The karatage and gram weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but other crucial factors determining price are the piece's construction and design. A price based solely on gram weight does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece. It is important to remember that each piece of gold jewelry is unique and, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime.

Caring for Gold Jewelry
Protect your gold jewelry by storing it safely or keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth when not being worn. Clean your gold jewelry with a cleaning solution of sudsy lukewarm water, or bring it to your local jeweler and have it steam-cleaned. Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing. Keep gold jewelry free from dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup.

Additional Information

Gold, element Au, was one of the first known metals. The gold standard defines the world's currency system, whereby money represents a value in gold.

24 karat = 100% gold Too soft for jewelry 22 karat = 91.7% gold Very soft — not recommended for jewelry

18 karat = 75.0% gold Recommended for fine jewelry

14 karat = 58.3% gold Recommended for jewelry

12 karat = 50.0% gold Not acceptable for jewelry

10 karat = 41.7% gold The legal karat limit considered as real gold


Platinum is rare. To produce a single ounce of platinum, a total of 10 tons of ore must be mined. In comparison, only three tons of ore are required to produce one ounce of gold.

Platinum weighs 60% more than gold.

Platinum is pure. Platinum jewelry generally contains 90% or 95% pure platinum. By comparison, 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold and 14 karat gold is 58% pure gold. Platinum is hypoallergenic and resists tarnish.

Platinum is lustrous. Platinum's rich, white luster perfectly complements diamonds and other precious gems. Its neutral color enhances a stone's brilliance and depth.

Platinum is naturally gray or silver in color. The specific gravity of platinum is 21.5, which is heavier than gold. Platinum for jewelry is used in a nearly pure alloy, which makes for a much heavier piece than the same design made in gold. Platinum is easily formed into various shapes, and it is usually mixed, or alloyed, with other metals such as gold, nickel, iridium, palladium, rhodium, or ruthenium to alter its properties. Platinum costs approximately 2-4 times as much as the same piece of jewelry made in gold. This is due to the density of platinum as well as the extreme heat and techniques required for its manufacture.

What to Look For
If a piece of platinum jewelry is marked 'IRIDPLAT', then it generally contains 90% platinum and 10% iridium, a platinum group metal. If it is marked 'PT 950', then it is at least 95% platinum and another platinum group metal, most likely ruthenium.

Cleaning and Caring for Your Platinum Jewelry
Platinum jewelry should be cleaned the same way you clean your other fine jewelry, such as gold. Use a good pre-packaged jewelry cleaner available from your local jeweler or have your jeweler professionally clean your jewelry. Store your platinum with care, as you would all precious jewelry. And prevent pieces from touching or scratching each other.

Signs of wear, including scratches, will inevitably appear on all precious metals, even platinum. Due to platinum's amazing durability and strength, however, there is little or no material loss when it's scratched.