Gold Jewellery 101: A Complete Guide to Gold

Gold Jewellery 101: A Complete Guide to Gold

Posted by Chee Sheun Wong on

Reading Time: 5 minutes


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Step into the enchanting world of gold, where we explore its distinctive characteristics, purity, colours, and diverse jewellery types.


Unique Characteristics of Gold

Gold is highly sought after for jewellery due to its captivating beauty, practical benefits and enduring value. 

Everlasting Beauty

Gold jewellery possesses an enduring allure that transcends fashion trends. Its radiant shine adds a touch of sophistication to virtually any style. Such timeless appeal has made it a beloved choice among those who appreciate the everlasting charm that it adds to their jewellery collection.

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Resistance to Tarnish

Gold's resistance to tarnish and corrosion makes it a low-maintenance and long-lasting option for jewellery. Gold pieces retain their lustrous appearance with minimal cleaning, maintaining their sparkle even after years of wear. This enduring quality makes gold a preferred choice, especially for heirloom jewellery.

Hypoallergenic Qualities

Gold's hypoallergenic nature is crucial for those with sensitive skin or metal allergies. Pure gold is typically safe and unlikely to cause skin irritations or allergies. However, consumers with severe metal allergies should consider higher-purity gold options or inquire about the alloy composition of their jewellery to ensure it's suitable for their skin.

Investment Value

Gold's reputation as an investment makes it appealing to consumers who view jewellery as a beautiful accessory and a potential long-term asset. With a history of retaining its value and its role as a hedge against economic uncertainties, gold jewellery is considered a wise choice that combines adornment with financial potential.

Gold investment


Gold Purity

Gold purity is crucial in determining the quality and properties of gold. In this section, we'll explore the karat system that determines gold purity and the concept of alloying.

The Karat System

Gold purity is measured using the karat system that indicates the gold content in your jewellery, with higher karats signifying a higher proportion of pure gold. The karat system divides gold into 24 parts, with pure gold being 24K, also known as 999 gold, representing 99.9% gold content. 


For instance, 22K gold, also referred to as 916 gold, comprises 91.6% gold content. Likewise, 18K gold, labelled as 750 gold, consists of 75% gold, while 14K gold, identified as 583 gold, contains 58.3% gold. This classification system provides consumers with a precise understanding when selecting their jewellery.


The Art of Alloying

Did you know that pure gold is a soft metal that can easily get scratched or bent with everyday wear? To make it more durable and long-lasting for jewellery, gold is mixed with other metals through alloying. 

This process combines pure gold with metals like copper, silver, or zinc. The resulting gold alloys are then assigned karat ratings, which indicate the percentage of pure gold in the alloy. For instance, 18K gold comprises 75% pure gold and 25% of other metals.


Gold Colours

The captivating beauty of gold stretches far beyond its shine. It also boasts a mesmerising array of colours caused by alloying. In this section, we’ll explore the science behind these colour variations and offer guidance on selecting the ideal gold colour to match your skin tone and individual preferences.

Gold Colours

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold emanates a warm, sun-kissed hue, achieved by blending copper, silver, and zinc with pure gold. Its timeless appeal is suitable for various gemstones and jewellery styles, making it a versatile choice that can be passed down through generations. It's worth noting that those with warmer skin tones often find yellow gold to be the perfect match.

White Gold

White gold boasts a sleek and luminous silvery appearance. This exquisite look is achieved by blending pure gold with white metals like nickel or palladium, along with copper and zinc. Due to its modern and sophisticated appearance, it is a popular choice for contemporary jewellery designs and engagement rings. Not only that, white gold also complements cooler skin tones perfectly.

Rose Gold

The enchanting colour of rose gold is attained by combining pure gold with copper and silver, creating a subtle rosy hue and pinkish glow. This charming shade has become a popular choice in modern jewellery, adding a touch of elegance to fine jewellery. Its soft and romantic appeal also makes it a perfect fit for a wide range of complexions.

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Gold Jewellery Types

Gold jewellery comes in a variety of types. While they may appear similar at first glance, significant differences exist among gold-plated, vermeil, gold-filled, and solid gold jewellery. In this section, we'll delve deeper into these distinctions, explore their manufacturing processes, and discuss the pros and cons of each, helping you make informed choices when selecting the perfect piece.

Gold-Plated Jewellery

Gold-plated jewellery is crafted by coating a base metal with a thin layer of gold or gold alloy. The gold content in these pieces is less than 1% of the total metal weight. While gold-plated items mimic the appearance of solid gold, the thin layer of gold may gradually wear off over time, especially with frequent wear. This characteristic makes them a more budget-friendly option for those seeking the aesthetic of gold without the higher price tag.

Vermeil Jewellery

Vermeil is a specialised form of gold-plated jewellery distinguished by its core material, which is sterling silver instead of base metal, and a minimum gold layer thickness of 2.5 microns. This unique combination of sterling silver and a substantial gold layer grants vermeil a luxurious appearance akin to solid gold pieces. Vermeil strikes an ideal balance between luxury and affordability, making it a favoured option for those in search of both elegance and value in their jewellery.

Gold Ring

Gold-Filled Jewellery

Gold-filled jewellery involves a more robust manufacturing process. It involves bonding a thicker layer of gold or gold alloy to a base metal, where the gold content must make up at least 5% of the total metal weight. This approach strikes a balance between affordability and quality. Gold-filled jewellery offers greater durability compared to gold-plated pieces, making it a practical choice for those seeking a longer-lasting option without the cost of solid gold.

Solid Gold Jewellery

Solid gold jewellery stands as the pinnacle of quality and value in the world of jewellery. They are crafted entirely from gold or gold alloy, with no base metal involved. The gold content is at its highest, ensuring lasting beauty and durability. Solid gold jewellery may be more expensive, but it is an heirloom that can be passed down through generations.


Gold Guide Infographic

As we conclude our journey through the world of gold, don't forget to download our Gold Guide Infographic to keep a valuable reference at your fingertips.


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About the Author

Chee Sheun Wong
Chee Sheun Wong

Chee Sheun is the co-founder of Qlassico, a Malaysian fine jewellery brand dedicated to inspiring women to pursue their dreams through exquisite jewellery. She holds an Applied Jewelry Professional diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and is a Certified Pearl Specialist by the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA). Chee Sheun shares her passion for fine jewellery on 'The Inspired Connoisseur,' Qlassico's lifestyle blog. Explore exclusive insights from her by joining Qlassico's Inner Circle at the footer below.

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  • Thanks for the informative guide. The information’s are precise and accurate. Expecting more

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