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Ever since the discovery of this precious metal, gold has symbolized wealth and guaranteed power. Archaeological findings suggest that the use of gold began in Mesopotamia (Iraq) where the first known civilizations emerged over 5000 years ago.
Gold is rare; it is estimated that all the gold in the world would fill three Olympic swimming pools. It is also extremely heavy: one cubic foot of weighs half a ton, and it takes several tons of ore to produce just one ounce of gold.
Because of this purity, gold it is not affected by air, heat or moisture and therefore won't tarnish, rust, or corrode. Though it is very strong, it is also the most malleable of all metals and so easy to work with that a single ounce can be drawn out into a strand approximately 60 miles long. Due to its malleable qualities, gold can be melted and shaped to create virtually any design. But its softness makes pure gold less than desirable for jewelry usage. However, pure gold becomes exceptionally strong when alloyed with other metals.
The most common gold Karatages:
24K gold is 100% pure gold.
18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of other metal(s),making it 75% gold.
14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of other metal(s),making it 58.3% gold.
The tint the gold takes on depends on the metals it is mixed, or alloyed with. Metallurgists fine-tune their recipes to find combinations that produce attractive metals that are durable and can be successfully worked into pieces of jewelry. Adding copper yields a redder metal, iron - blue, aluminium - purple, platinum metals - white, and natural bismuth together with silver alloys produce black gold.
The main shades of gold include:
Yellow gold: this is gold in its natural shade. Yellow gold used for jewelry is usually alloyed with copper and silver to strengthen it. The higher the gold content, the deeper and richer the gold tones of the jewelry.
White gold: generally, white gold is created by using a nickel or palladium alloy, zinc and copper. Sometimes, white gold is plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium (a rare member of the platinum family) to enhance its appearance. A white gold setting can enhance the look of white diamonds.
Rose gold: the beautiful pink hue of Rose gold is derived from a larger proportion of copper in the metal alloy.
Green gold: this alloy is created by mixing silver, copper and zinc to yellow gold.