Snap Shot No. 22 – Of White & Yellow Gold

Jenn Rowe, of Jeffersonville, picked up her ring today. What had begun with an idea, a sketch and raw materials transformed into an ornament of both simplicity and great elegance.

“It is 14-karat white gold with champagne diamond, rubies and pink tourmaline,” Silvio pointed out. “She just picked it up and we took a picture outside. I think she was quite happy.”

Explain the difference between white and yellow gold, I asked.

“First, the word Karat beginning with a K refers to a percentage of gold present in metal. It refers to its purity. The word Carat with a C is a measure of weight for precious stones. Other stones are weighed in grams.”

“Pure gold is 99.9 % gold or 24 karat. 18 karat is 75% gold. In Europe, it is standard for jewelers to work with 18 karat gold. The lower the number, the more alloys are present. 14  karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy.”

What alloys are used?

“Nickel and copper. Nickel is what gives the white color; copper is used for yellow gold. They are both present, but more of one or the other determines the color.”

What do American jewelers use most?

“Here is the US we use 14 karat gold a lot and 10 karat also. The lower the karat value, the less flexible the gold. It is harder to fabricate with 10 karat gold. It’s too stiff.” Silvio pauses, looks at me with a grin and says, “C’est de la merde!” *

“Seriously,” he continues, “10 karat gold was used a lot during and after the war because it made gold jewelery more affordable to make and to buy. So it does have advantages and it ‘s not bad. It is just difficult to work with it. I prefer 14, 18 and 22 karat.”

Also Read: Snap Shot No. 16

*French for “It is s – – t!”


About PS MacMurray

Paschal'Simon MacMurray, the scribe, specializes in providing a no nonsense Facebook and Blog presence for small business owners who want quality without breaking the bank. PS MacMurray, the artisan, creates art on a whim using fabric, paper, beads, twine and wire. View all posts by PS MacMurray

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