Prices: British Pounds
Discovery: Gold was known to ancient civilisations, and has always been a valued metal.
Appearance: Of all the elements, we think that gold is the most beautiful. It is a soft metal with a characteristic yellow colour and sheen. Only copper has a similar colour but unfortunately this material tarnishes rapidly. Bismuth also has a slight pink tinge but is never, to our knowledge, used for jewellery. Come to think of it - maybe a new product range!
Source: Gold is found in nature both free in veins and in alluvial deposits. About two thirds of the world's output comes from South Africa. Refining is usually by electrolysis, but gold in ores is recovered by a smelting process.
Although pure gold is yellow, it can be made into a variety of colours through the process of alloying with other metals such as copper and nickel giving white gold and rose gold. Often all three type are combined. Gold is readily worked and some of the finest gold jewellery we have ever seen is in the British Museum. The skill of metalworkers from the past is just staggering.
White gold jewellery first became popular in the 1920s as a cheaper alternative to platinum jewellery. Platinum has, in the past been very difficult to work. White gold is made by alloying gold with metals such as silver and palladium. White gold is never truly 'white' as can be seen when a white gold item is placed next to pure platinum - the colour is slightly yellow, but warm and not so harsh as the blue-whiteness of platinum.
None of our white gold earrings are electro-plated. Most commercial white gold items are enhanced with rhodium plating, giving a highly reflective white surface. We prefer the natural colour of the gold. We can also texture the surface of the gold to produce stunning visual effects.
All our gold earrings are hallmarked and this indicates the purity of the metal.
Pure gold also known as fine gold or 24 carat gold - is very soft which makes it unsuitable for jewellery unless it is work hardened by careful processing. To make it stronger and harder, it is alloyed with other metals, such as silver, copper, nickel, zinc and palladium. The lower the carat value, the greater has been the addition of other metals. This has nothing to do with the carat value of gemstones which merely indicates the weight of a gem.
9ct gold is 375 parts gold per thousand parts of metal. Roughly speaking 9ct gold is 1/3rd gold and 2/3rds other metals.
14ct gold is popular in the USA and is 583 parts of gold to a thousand parts of metal. Again, roughly speaking 14ct gold is about half gold to half other materials
18ct gold is 750 parts per thousand and is 3/4 gold to 1/4 other metals.
We are using more and more fine gold in our earrings which are inspired by ancient artefacts.
The price of a finished article will be influenced by the purity of the gold alloy used.
Hallmarking: British hallmarking was introduced over 600 years ago and was probably the first example of consumer protection law.When you're buying gold earrings, make sure it has a hallmark. This is a quality control mark placed on gold, silver and platinum and provides a safeguard to purchasers. The hallmark on an article shows that it has been assayed (tested) by an independent body (the Assay Office) and guarantees that the metal conforms to one of the legal standards of purity. You know exactly what you are buying. Any gold item weighing more than 1g MUST be hallmarked. We have our own hallmark and all assaying is done by the Birmingham Assay Office.
Care of Gold Jewellery
Retaining the finish and value of your gold earrings is quite easy. It's simply a matter of knowing what and what not to do.
1. To help protect against scratching, it's good practice to separate your gold jewellery in a compartmentalised jewellery box.
2. Because soap tends to cause a film that can make gold appear dull and dingy, it's worthwhile removing your jewellery when you shower or bathe.
3. The fine-ness of the gold in your jewellery will determine how easily it will tarnish. Lower carat items will tarnish more easily than those made from high carat alloys. This tarnishing, which is usually very slight, can be caused by many things, perfume, after shave, the acidity and hormone balance in your skin. A soft jewellery polishing cloth with tarnish preventive is your best friend as far as keeping gold jewellery bright and clean. Our surface textured earrings should never be cleaned with anything other than a clean cloth. Using a chemical cleaner or an abrasive will severely affect the earring. You can use chemical cleaners with care with untextured earrings but our advice is don't use them at all if the earrings contain gemstones.
4. If you want your gold jewellery polished to a high shine then contact us and we will use our centrifugal disk polisher which produces a very high polish with very little metal removal. Check our store for details.