Today gold is available in various tones of rosé, white and yellow, of which the latter one is the most popular tone. Gold can be purchased in different purities, which is measured in carats. 24 carat is pure gold with no other metals and the lower caratages contain different percentages of other metals: 22, 18, 14, 10 and 8 carat. Each caratage has its own characteristics and areas of use; from some being too soft to some that can cause skin irritation.
WHICH TYPE OF GOLD IS THE BEST?
There's no general “best type of gold” for everyone, however there are some things to think about when choosing the type of gold that fits you the best. 10K is the most durable, but with the lowest gold content. 14K has a higher gold content and is highly durable. It is commonly used for premium jewelry. 18K gold is still durable but also very pricey. 24K gold is pure gold but due to its softness and non-durability this type of gold is not often used for jewelry. It's very bright color with an unpleasant orange tone makes it less interesting for high-end jewelry making purposes. The 24K gold costs almost double the 14K gold (which is the most common used in jewelry).
AND WHY 14K GOLD?
14K gold is the most traditional mix of gold and other alloys, the most suitable for premium jewelry. It is not as bright or saturated as others – giving it a more elegant and subtle appearance. It offers the best combination of a rich yellow appearance that associates with qualitative gold and good durability. If you want jewelry with an elegant tone, high amount of gold and high durability, go for 14K.
SOLID, FILLED, OR GOLD PLATED?
Solid gold, despite its higher price tags are the best choice as a high end gift and a great investment as pure gold retains its value forever and will never lose its allure in the world of jewelry. The purity level, radiant colors with its mesmerizing shine, along with the fact that it never tarnishes or fades with time are the unique quality characteristics contributing to its value.
Gold filled, although not as valuable as solid gold, is still a great option for accessories you love. It's an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled is not to be confused with gold plating as filled literally has 100% more gold than gold plating and more tarnish resistant as well. It does not flake off, rub off or turn colors. As a matter of fact, anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled without worries of any allergic reaction to the jewelry. This is seen as an economical alternative to solid gold.
Gold Plating, is made by using electricity or chemicals to deposit and bond a very thin layer of gold (as thin as 1/1000 to 3/1000 of an inch) to cover the underneath metal, usually silver or copper. The downside of gold plating is that the gold layer fades and tarnishes over time. Since the gold content for the coating is so low in gold plated items (only a few microns of gold), the value of the metal it self is not much worthy. Showering or any contacts with liquids, shampoos and creams can cause the gold layer to completely wear off in no time. It allows you to catch up easily with all the latest jewelry trends. Just that you have to be prepared for the day that your most beloved gold-plated piece you wear every day will start to lose its shine. Gold plated pieces still make a perfect choice for a lower budget though.
ALL IN ALL
Solid gold is of course an exquisite piece of jewelry. Gold filled is the next best thing and is a qualitative alternative to solid gold. Gold plating or vermeil is the lowest level and these items tend to tarnish at some point and can even sometimes turn the skin green.
I personally never use anything less than solid gold or gold-filled in for my work. Please note that product photos may not be exact – gold or gemstone color may differ slightly.