what you need to know 

There is some basic information that you should be aware of when it comes to understanding gold and silver jewellery, and of course diamonds and other gemstones. The quality of the metal and the specifications of the gemstones greatly impacts its value. Equally important is understanding what your needs are and therefore how you can create the piece that suits your lifestyle.

Gold [Au]

Gold - Karats


Pure gold is softer than pure silver, and its malleability, ductility, and softness makes it difficult for use in jewellery making. Alloying gold increases the toughness and hardness of the gold alloy.

While almost any metal may be alloyed (melted) with gold, only certain metals will not dramatically alter colour or strength.

The purity of gold is indicated by its karat (denoted 'k' or 'kt').

24k or 24 karat is as pure as you can get gold for jewellery making and is often referred to as fine gold. It consists of 99.7% pure gold.

Proof gold is over 99.95% pure gold and is not generally not available for jewellery, but really is used for standardaization purposes.

The designations 18k, 14k, or 10k indicate how much pure gold is present in the mix.

To illustrate, 24k gold consists of 24 parts of pure gold which equals 24/24 = 100%.

18 k gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal, or 18/24 gold which equals 75% gold.

14 k gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal(s), or 58.3% gold.

10 k gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal(s), or 41.7% gold.

In the US, 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called 'GOLD'.

In karated gold, there is a known proportion of metals in the non-gold percentage. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated golds. See colours of Gold next.




Colours of Gold


Pure gold has a hue that's oddly enough, reddish, yellowish. And that's 24k.

Any other colour therefore is a lower ‪or different carat‬.

The most common colour of gold is ‪Yellow Gold‬. This is an alloy of Silver and Copper, and sometimes zinc.

Adjusting the proportions of the non-gold or non-precious metals provides the various colours of gold. For example:

  • White Gold: Gold + Copper + Nickel (or palladium), zinc

  • Rose/Red Gold: Gold + Copper

  • Green Gold: Gold + Silver

  • Grey Gold: Gold + Iron + Copper

Other properties are also impacted during the alloying process, such as hardness, strength, corrosion resistance, workability, and ductility. It is important to understand how the alloy will be used and therefore how the alloy will be composed.

White Gold‬ consists of an alloy of gold and another 'white' metal. The acutal colour of 'White' gold is pale yellow to brown, and in order to get a very white gold, it is plated with Rhodium, which ironically hides the real white gold colour.

There is even black gold which includes oxidation and sometimes amorphous carbon.




Gold Filled


Gold filled metal refers to a metal with a bonded layer of metal (usually 100 times thicker than plated gold), to a base metal that is NOT gold, such as Silver or even Brass.
A "sandwich" is formed by mechanically bonding a layer of gold on both sides of the base metal. The result is a metal that is quite durable, however the base metal is not Gold as as such it is much less expensive due to its composition and 'quantity' of gold present.

We do NOT work with or offer Gold Filled Jewellery.




Gold Plated


Gold plated metal has a thin layer of gold deposited over a base metal that is NOT gold such as Silver or Brass. By electrically charging the base metal with a solution of Gold and the base metal, a thin layer is applied to the base metal. Jewellery is Gold-Plated when gold is electroplated with a mini­mum thickness of 1/2 micron (20 millionths of an inch) of Gold. Given the process and result, this metal has the lowest composition of the precious metal, and is therefore the least expensive. it however looses the shine quickly and because the layer of gold is not very thick, scratches may remove the layer of gold which exposes the base metal, which based on its properties, may be reactive, and therefore can react to chemicals and natural elements, often changing its colour.




Solid Gold


Solid gold jewellery is made from pure gold - it comes from the earth - with some other metal. It is generally alloyed and is based on karatage. The entire piece of jewellery is made from this karated gold.

Qirat Jewellery uses only Solid Gold. Your jewellery is NEVER Gold Plated or Gold Filled.

Generally we work with 14k or 18k Yellow Gold, White Gold and Rose Gold. Lower karat gold (10k at a minimum) is offered upon request, and for some specialized items.

See more - Gold General





Silver [Ag]

Sterling Silver


Silver, abbreviated Ag on the periodic table, is a naturally occurring metal. In its purest form, silver is soft, very malleable, and is easily damaged, so to be used for jewellery making, it is alloyed with other metals which helps with the durability. A variety of metals can be used for alloying purposes, however copper is primarily used as the shine and colour of silver is maintained while improving its durability.

Sterling Silver, so named as the Brits were paid in Esterling coins from Germany (in the twelfth century), and based on quality, adopted this as the standard for British coins. 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper is the standard for .925 or sterling silver! In the jewellery industry the mark .925, 92.5, or sterling is used to denote this combination. Fashion jewellery or other items simply called silver is ambiguous since it does not specify the ratio of metals used in the alloy.

Fine silver is 99.9% silver, American Coin Silver is 90% silver, and Continental Silver, which is used in tableware and hollowware, is 80% silver. These are the international standards for articles, including jewellery, that are made using precious metals.




Silver at qirat Jewellery


We only use Sterling Silver: 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or .925.





Metals & Properties

Understanding the Alloy


An alloy is a mixture of two elements, where one of the elements is a metal.The other element may or may not be a metal but, when molten and mixed they are miscible. Generally alloying a metal is done in order to enhance the properties of the mixture, such as hardness, toughness, and ductility.




Metals & Elements


In Chemistry, a metal is an element that readily forms positive ions (cations) and has metallic bonds. More simply, metals are opaque, lustrous elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity.

Most metals are malleable and ductile and are, in general, denser than the other elemental substances.

Gold is a soft, heavy, and yellow metal.

It's chemical symbol is Au and its atomic number is 79. Every gold atom has 79 protons in its nucleus and its atomic mass is 196.967. In fact, the arrangement of outer electrons around the gold nucleus and the transitions of electrons between energy bands is related to gold's characteristic yellow color.




Alloying Gold with Silver


Alloying gold with Silver generally increases its strength and hardness, with some reduction in malleability and ductility. The silver atom is slightly larger than gold, so alloying gold with silver gives a moderate improvement in strength and hardness. The copper atom is significantly smaller than gold and distorts the gold crystal lattice, thereby strengthening gold moreso than when alloyed with silver. Reducing the karatage of gold results in stronger and harder alloys, however any reduction in karatage less than 18k does not provide significant changes in stregnth or hardness.





Gold [Au]

Gold - Karats


Pure gold is softer than pure silver, and its malleability, ductility, and softness makes it difficult for use in jewellery making. Alloying gold increases the toughness and hardness of the gold alloy.

While almost any metal may be alloyed (melted) with gold, only certain metals will not dramatically alter colour or strength.

The purity of gold is indicated by its karat (denoted 'k' or 'kt').

24k or 24 karat is as pure as you can get gold for jewellery making and is often referred to as fine gold. It consists of 99.7% pure gold.

Proof gold is over 99.95% pure gold and is not generally not available for jewellery, but really is used for standardaization purposes.

The designations 18k, 14k, or 10k indicate how much pure gold is present in the mix.

To illustrate, 24k gold consists of 24 parts of pure gold which equals 24/24 = 100%.

18 k gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal, or 18/24 gold which equals 75% gold.

14 k gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal(s), or 58.3% gold.

10 k gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal(s), or 41.7% gold.

In the US, 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called 'GOLD'.

In karated gold, there is a known proportion of metals in the non-gold percentage. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated golds. See colours of Gold next.




Colours of Gold


Pure gold has a hue that's oddly enough, reddish, yellowish. And that's 24k.

Any other colour therefore is a lower ‪or different carat‬.

The most common colour of gold is ‪Yellow Gold‬. This is an alloy of Silver and Copper, and sometimes zinc.

Adjusting the proportions of the non-gold or non-precious metals provides the various colours of gold. For example:

  • White Gold: Gold + Copper + Nickel (or palladium), zinc

  • Rose/Red Gold: Gold + Copper

  • Green Gold: Gold + Silver

  • Grey Gold: Gold + Iron + Copper

Other properties are also impacted during the alloying process, such as hardness, strength, corrosion resistance, workability, and ductility. It is important to understand how the alloy will be used and therefore how the alloy will be composed.

White Gold‬ consists of an alloy of gold and another 'white' metal. The acutal colour of 'White' gold is pale yellow to brown, and in order to get a very white gold, it is plated with Rhodium, which ironically hides the real white gold colour.

There is even black gold which includes oxidation and sometimes amorphous carbon.




Gold Filled


Gold filled metal refers to a metal with a bonded layer of metal (usually 100 times thicker than plated gold), to a base metal that is NOT gold, such as Silver or even Brass.
A "sandwich" is formed by mechanically bonding a layer of gold on both sides of the base metal. The result is a metal that is quite durable, however the base metal is not Gold as as such it is much less expensive due to its composition and 'quantity' of gold present.

We do NOT work with or offer Gold Filled Jewellery.




Gold Plated


Gold plated metal has a thin layer of gold deposited over a base metal that is NOT gold such as Silver or Brass. By electrically charging the base metal with a solution of Gold and the base metal, a thin layer is applied to the base metal. Jewellery is Gold-Plated when gold is electroplated with a mini­mum thickness of 1/2 micron (20 millionths of an inch) of Gold. Given the process and result, this metal has the lowest composition of the precious metal, and is therefore the least expensive. it however looses the shine quickly and because the layer of gold is not very thick, scratches may remove the layer of gold which exposes the base metal, which based on its properties, may be reactive, and therefore can react to chemicals and natural elements, often changing its colour.




Solid Gold


Solid gold jewellery is made from pure gold - it comes from the earth - with some other metal. It is generally alloyed and is based on karatage. The entire piece of jewellery is made from this karated gold.

Qirat Jewellery uses only Solid Gold. Your jewellery is NEVER Gold Plated or Gold Filled.

Generally we work with 14k or 18k Yellow Gold, White Gold and Rose Gold. Lower karat gold (10k at a minimum) is offered upon request, and for some specialized items.

See more - Gold General





Silver [Ag]

Sterling Silver


Silver, abbreviated Ag on the periodic table, is a naturally occurring metal. In its purest form, silver is soft, very malleable, and is easily damaged, so to be used for jewellery making, it is alloyed with other metals which helps with the durability. A variety of metals can be used for alloying purposes, however copper is primarily used as the shine and colour of silver is maintained while improving its durability.

Sterling Silver, so named as the Brits were paid in Esterling coins from Germany (in the twelfth century), and based on quality, adopted this as the standard for British coins. 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper is the standard for .925 or sterling silver! In the jewellery industry the mark .925, 92.5, or sterling is used to denote this combination. Fashion jewellery or other items simply called silver is ambiguous since it does not specify the ratio of metals used in the alloy.

Fine silver is 99.9% silver, American Coin Silver is 90% silver, and Continental Silver, which is used in tableware and hollowware, is 80% silver. These are the international standards for articles, including jewellery, that are made using precious metals.




Silver at qirat Jewellery


We only use Sterling Silver: 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or .925.





Metals & Properties

Understanding the Alloy


An alloy is a mixture of two elements, where one of the elements is a metal.The other element may or may not be a metal but, when molten and mixed they are miscible. Generally alloying a metal is done in order to enhance the properties of the mixture, such as hardness, toughness, and ductility.




Metals & Elements


In Chemistry, a metal is an element that readily forms positive ions (cations) and has metallic bonds. More simply, metals are opaque, lustrous elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity.

Most metals are malleable and ductile and are, in general, denser than the other elemental substances.

Gold is a soft, heavy, and yellow metal.

It's chemical symbol is Au and its atomic number is 79. Every gold atom has 79 protons in its nucleus and its atomic mass is 196.967. In fact, the arrangement of outer electrons around the gold nucleus and the transitions of electrons between energy bands is related to gold's characteristic yellow color.




Alloying Gold with Silver


Alloying gold with Silver generally increases its strength and hardness, with some reduction in malleability and ductility. The silver atom is slightly larger than gold, so alloying gold with silver gives a moderate improvement in strength and hardness. The copper atom is significantly smaller than gold and distorts the gold crystal lattice, thereby strengthening gold moreso than when alloyed with silver. Reducing the karatage of gold results in stronger and harder alloys, however any reduction in karatage less than 18k does not provide significant changes in stregnth or hardness.