In its pure state one ounce of gold can be stretched to a length of 50 miles. Gold is more malleable than any other metal. Gold can be hammered to a thickness of 1/300,000th of an inch thick.
In making jewelry, some gold chains are "gold-filled", which is usually 14k gold heavy-layered over sterling silver.
Pure gold is 24 karats, 10 k is a little less than 1/2 gold, and 14 k is a little more than 1/2 pure gold.
Europe uses number designations which correspond to the percentage of gold content. For instance, 10K is marked "417" for 41.7% gold; 14K is marked "585" for 58.5% gold; 18K is marked "750" for 75% gold, etc.
10 K Yellow
12 K Yellow
14 K Yellow
18 K Yellow
Pronounced a symbol of wealth and power since ancient times, gold still proves to be one of the most coveted metals today. Its brilliance inspired the Incas to cover every wall of its magnificent Temple of the Sun in gold in the 14th century. Its riches inspired Cortes to defeat Montezuma and seize the Aztec’s vast gold stores in the 15th century. And its contagious fever captivated thousands to migrate west for the California Gold Rush in 1848.
Gold jewelry, though a mass-marketed product today, occupies a rich history that dates back to the beginning of civilization. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the mining and production of gold halted for nearly 1000 years until the Spanish discovered America in 1492. Cortes invaded Mexico and seized its gold treasures in an effort to revive Spain’s economy in 1519. In 1531, Pizarro invaded Peru and captured the Incas’ ruler Atahualpa, immediately melting down the Inca’s golden artifacts to ship back to Spain. Earlier on, the Incas, who considered gold “the sweat of the sun,” conquered the Chimu Empire and made the Chimu goldsmiths cover every inch of The Temple of the Sun’s walls in gold.
Though the Spanish conquerors exhausted gold artifacts and mines, over 90% of the world’s gold has been produced since the gold rush of 1848. Gold mining took on a much larger dimension after the discovery of Sutter’s Mill on the American River in 1848. Soon after, gold was discovered in Australia and South Africa. These discoveries and supplementary increase in gold supply marked a turning point—gold, once a rare metal afforded only by royalty was now more attainable by people of all classes.
Pihder said it best nearly 2,500 years ago when he wrote, “Gold is the child of Zeus, neither moth nor rust devoureth it.” Indeed, its beauty is timeless and materiality enduring, proving a powerful combination that will ensure gold’s coveted stature through time.
Sterling silver is the standard of quality for articles containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
Sterling Silver jewelry can be marked with a number such as:
American - 925;
European - 935;
French - 800;
Russian- 88 or 84.