We humans have treasured gold for millennia. It’s been the precious metal of choice for thousands of years. It has been fought over, stolen, killed for, tortured for, treasured, symbolized the wealth and riches of royalty, used as currency, admired, envied, lusted after – and used in precious jewelry and watches for centuries.
There’s nothing quite like gold.
Gold mining dates back at least 7,000 years, when gold artifacts were discovered in graves in an ancient Bulgarian necropolis. It is still the most popular precious metal for all types of jewelry, and is available in several types of color, karat and purity level, depending on its intended use. The Ancient Egyptians invented an early type of gold alloy, which was a blend of gold and silver called ‘electrum.’ Silver is still used today as an alloy, along with other metals, to achieve different colors and levels of durability.
The color of gold is based on the additional metals in the gold alloy. Its karat purity is determined by how much real gold it contains.
Yellow gold is the closest to the original color of natural, mined gold. You know what we mean, the gold that you see in movies when a prospector rinses river rocks in a sieve – and picks out small pieces of yellow stone. That’s real gold. Today yellow gold is most often mixed with silver and copper to give it a deeper golden color. If there is a higher content of pure gold, the resulting alloy will have a more saturated yellow color.
Gold is malleable, beautiful and easy to wear. It comes in different colors too, so you don’t have to settle for traditional yellow.
White gold is mixed with either platinum, palladium or nickel to give it its distinctive silver color. The formula for white gold using nickel and zinc was patented in 1920, and it led to the popularity of white gold through the Art Deco period. These days, white gold is often rhodium plated to improves its brightness and strength.
What about Rose gold? You’ll see it used in vintage jewelry. It is usually a soft pink color that goes well paired with certain gemstones. Rose gold is alloyed with copper and silver, using more copper than silver to give a deeper rose color. It originated in 19th century Russia and is available in a variety of shades ranging from a coppery brown to pink.
Did you know that gold came in a green color? Green gold is actually yellow gold that has been mixed with silver - and sometimes with copper and zinc. Green gold jewelry became hugely popular at the turn of the 20th century in the Art Nouveau and Edwardian eras.
Next you need to be familiar with the word karat.
Here is a primer:
Is it carat or karat? The two words are often confused. When you are talking about gold it is karat, and it is a measurement of the gold’s purity level. Carat, on the other hand, is quite different, and is a term used to measure the weight of a diamond or other gemstone – not its size.
24K gold is 100% pure gold but it is too soft and malleable to wear every day, so, for example it is not recommended for engagement or wedding rings. It is best used in jewelry meant for extra special occasions, as it will damage easily.
18k gold contains 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals. is rich, luxurious-looking and more durable than 24k gold, because it contains a percentage of additional metals to strengthen it. 18k gold is softer than 14k, so it might be better to save your 18k ring for social events or special occasions.
14K gold contains 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy. It has a vibrant, bright color, but is not as bright as 24K gold. It offers the most resistance to wear and tear because it contains a higher percentage of strengthening alloys. This is ideal for engagement rings, everyday wedding and anniversary rings. If you do a lot of outside work, manual labor or sports, this should be your choice.
Look for the karat quality insignia engraved on the inside of your ring.
Men’s gold rings come in a myriad of variations and styles. We carry some amazing ones that will knock your socks off. They can be plain, simple, traditional, fashion-forward, elaborate, with gemstones, dual color, engraved or not.
Whatever you choose, make sure it works with your lifestyle.
And go for the gold!