Unlock the Secrets of Gold Jewelry: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Types and Values

Gold is an enduringly popular material that has been treasured for centuries. A symbol of luxury, it has been transformed into jewelry, armor, coins, and countless other objects. Its enduring place in history is what ensures that gold never goes out of style, whether you’re wearing your gold jewelry for special occasions or everyday wear.

Whether you’re in the market to buy gold jewelry or you’re looking for places to sell jewelry for cash, it’s important to understand the different aspects of this precious metal to make sure you’re getting a fair value. Before going shopping or scheduling an appraisal, make sure you understand these nuanced aspects of gold jewelry.

Gold Colors

Gold jewelry is available in three primary colors: yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Despite the variation in shade, all gold tones are made with real gold. In the case of white gold and rose gold, natural gold is mixed with different alloys to achieve a unique color.

  • Yellow Gold: Yellow gold is the traditional color of gold and is often used in classic designs. It is created by adding copper, zinc, and other metals to pure gold to give it added strength and durability.
  • White Gold: White gold can sometimes be mistaken for silver due to its bright, cool shimmering tone. Because of this, it’s extremely popular in modern designs, although it remains timeless. White gold is created by adding nickel, palladium, and other metals to pure gold. It’s also plated with Rhodium for a silvery-white finish and added durability.
  • Rose Gold: Also called pink gold due to its rosy pink hue, rose gold is created by adding copper to pure gold. The newest gold color option, rose gold, has become extremely popular in recent years.

Gold Karats

If you take your vintage estate jewelry to a jewelry repair store or places to sell gold jewelry, one of the first things they’ll do is assess the karat. Karat is the measurement of the purity of the gold, with 24 karat being 100 percent pure gold. Each karat represents 1/24 of the whole, so if your gold jewelry is 18/24 metal, then it is 18-karat gold. Generally, the higher the karat, the more valuable the jewelry.

  • 14 Karat Gold: 14 karat gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloys. This equates to 58.3 percent gold. Although it’s less valuable than pure gold, the addition of alloys makes it extremely strong and durable, so it’s one of the most wearable types of gold.
  • 18 Karat Gold: 18 karat gold contains 18 parts gold and six parts alloy, or 75 percent gold and 25 percent alloys. This makes a more luxurious option that still benefits from some strength of the alloys.
  • 24 Karat Gold: 24 karat gold is 100 percent pure, undiluted gold. It is the purest form of gold available and, therefore, the most expensive. 24 karat gold is sometimes used for high-end jewelry, but because it’s so pure, it can sometimes be too soft for everyday wear. For this reason, it tends to be used more for investment bars and coins.

Gold Types

When shopping for gold jewelry, you’ll come across gold pieces that appear similar yet vary widely in price. This is in part due to the process used to make them, as this can greatly affect the quality of the piece.

  • Gold Plated: The most affordable option of the bunch, gold-plated jewelry is made of a cheaper based metal such as brass or copper. This base metal is then covered in a thin layer of gold to give the appearance of gold jewelry. However, the actual amount of gold is typically less than 0.05 percent. Although low-cost, gold-plated jewelry will typically fade or tarnish over time and reveal the brass or copper color underneath.
  • Gold-Filled: The next step up in quality, gold-filled jewelry is made by mechanically bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal such as brass. Although it isn’t solid gold, gold-filled jewelry typically has more than 100 times more gold than gold-plated jewelry, making it more durable and less likely to fade or rub off.
  • Gold Vermeil: Gold vermeil jewelry is made very similarly to gold-filled jewelry, but the base is sterling silver instead of a cheaper metal like brass. It is also made using an electroplating process versus gold-filled jewelry’s pressure and heat bonding process. As a result, it is higher quality and more long-lasting.
  • Solid Gold: Solid gold jewelry is made with 100 percent gold and no base metal. As a result, solid gold is the most expensive and luxurious type of gold jewelry. Although it is made entirely of gold, it comes in various karats, so you can receive a solid gold jewelry piece that has a lower karat for enhanced durability that retains high quality.

If you’re looking for places to sell gold jewelry near you but don’t know where to start, the friendly team at Watch & Wares is here to help. We offer convenient and transparent appraisals that never come with any obligation to sell. Our offers are consistently some of the highest in Orange County, thanks to our team of experienced jewelry experts and certified gemologists. If you are looking for the best place to sell jewelry for cash, contact Watch & Wares online or give us a call at 714-633-2030 today.