Tips For Buying Gold

April 23, 2015

Tips For Buying Gold

Edge Only Diamond and Sapphire High Top Ring in 14 carat gold

The ultimate in luxury, gold will always be in fashion.

Solid gold jewellery is a purchase that you will be able to enjoy for life, even generations, so before you make a purchase it is wise to educate yourself on the different standards of gold available. Below are the key facts everyone should know about gold before making a jewellery purchase and what to look out for as a shopper.

The key facts everyone should know about gold:

1. Gold is measured in 24ths, so 24 carat is 100% gold.

18 carat gold is 18 parts out of 24 pure gold and 6 parts alloy or 75% pure gold.

14 carat gold is 14 parts out of 24 pure gold and 10 parts alloy or 58.5% pure gold.

9 carat gold is 9 parts out of 24 pure gold and 15 parts alloy or 37.5% pure gold.

The higher the carat the more valuable the gold. The addition of other metals (alloys) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal, to change the colour i.e. white gold (palladium or silver) and rose gold (copper) and in the case of lower carat gold, to lessen the cost. The most widely used alloys for jewellery in Europe are 18 and 14, although 9 is popular in the UK. In the United States and Canada, most fine jewellery is 18 carat, but 14ct is the most popular, followed by 10ct (they do not sell 9ct). 

**18 carat gold is ideal for allergy sufferers as it does not cause allergic skin reactions.

2. Carat is the measure or purity. In most parts of the world, the terms carat and karat are used interchangeably (in the USA the designation for gold fineness is karat). Both carat and karat are derived from the word for the carob seed, which were used as measurements of weight in Oriental markets. The weight of gold in jewellery is measured in grams. Most countries require every item of gold jewellery be clearly stamped with its carat which is usually controlled through hallmarking. Gold prices fluctuate depending on the market demand (in times of political uncertainty or currency fluctuation, many invest in gold or platinum for financial stability).

14 carat gold Rooftop Ring by Edge Only

3. Hallmarks. A hallmark is a guarantee of metal purity. Hallmarking is a system that originated in London at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the 14th century. In the UK and in Ireland there are three compulsory hallmarks applied to precious metals as a quality control: a sponsor’s (maker’s) mark, a fineness mark (purity), and an assay office mark. These marks establish the origin and fineness of the precious metal and ensures it has been accurately and independently tested (assayed). In Hallmarking the metal and fineness mark for 18 carat is 750. The mark for 14 carat gold is 585. The mark for 9 carat is 375. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission does not require a gold fineness stamp; however, if one is used, it must be accompanied by the manufacturer’s mark. Note: A branding mark should not be confused with a legal hallmark.

Irish hallmark examples:

Irish Hallmark for 14 carat gold 585  Assay Office Dublin Castle

Here is how it applies to you as a shopper!

It it important to be aware that hallmarking is the law in the UK and Ireland (and many other countries). A jewellery shop can not sell something as 18 carat gold, 14 carat etc. unless it has been hallmarked (tested to prove that it is in fact the carat claimed or higher). So if someone advertises something as gold, look for the hallmark (750, 585...). If its not there you are perfectly within your rights to ask why? 

Beware of vague or misleading labels. Magazines and fashion retailers will often list something as "gold" when they should say "gold coloured", "gold tone" or "gold plate". 18 carat gold-plate is not 18 carat gold! What is underneath? Will it make your skin turn green when the plating wears off? Is it a quality vermeil - hallmarked sterling silver (925) plated in carat gold or is it a cheap base metal? If you find a piece of jewellery that is only twenty euro more in "gold" than it is in "silver", then it isn't gold. 

Gold vermeil is a wonderful way to have great jewellery at a reasonable price, especially for large statement pieces such as our Pop Art collection, but if you want to enjoy your gold jewellery for years and years, without fear of fading, invest in the real thing. Nothing replaces the look or feel of solid gold (plating, no matter how good, will eventually wear off if worn regularly).

Gold is much more valuable than silver and also heavier (more dense) than silver, which is why it is much more expensive. Check the hallmark! Once you know what you are paying for and are happy with the metal and the price, then go for it!

Q: What is Vermeil or Gilded Silver? A: Vermeil (pronounced vur-may) is produced by coating sterling silver with carat gold. Sometimes referred to as gilded silver or gilt, vermeil is made using the process of electrolysis — electricity and an acid bath — to attach the gold to sterling. To be considered vermeil, the gold should be at least 10 carat and be at least 1.5 microns thick. This layer of gold is thicker than that applied using the electroplating process used in gold plate, but it will still wear off over time. If it is hallmarked it will be 925 for sterling silver.  At Edge Only we use 18 carat and 24 carat gold to plate our vermeil designs.

BAM! Necklace Extra Large in 18 carat gold vermeil. Edge Only jewelry

At Edge Only we only use solid sterling silver and solid 14 and 18 carat gold, hallmarked in accordance with UK and Irish law. We do NOT use gold plate or goldfill. For your information, please find below some common terms and techniques used in the wider jewellery and costume/fashion jewellery world

Q: What is Gold Plate? A: Gold Plated jewellery has a very thin layer of the precious metal electroplated to it. The thickness of gold (or silver if silver plated) is generally only a few microns thick. 18ct gold is typically used. The metal underneath the plating is a base metal (pot metal or brass) that is able to conduct electricity allowing the bonding process to work. The plating will wear off.

Q: What is Gold Filled, Rolled Gold or Bonded Gold? A: Gold Filled is composed of a layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal (or alloy) such as brass. The bond produced is a permanent one and the gold is thicker than that of gold plate. A gold filled item must contain a fifth (1/20th) of its weight in gold and will have a quality mark that will identify its carat. For example, 14 carat Gold Filled will be marked as 14/20, meaning that the outer 1/20th of the piece is 14ct gold, the remaining majority of the piece is brass or base metal. This is not a hallmark and should not be confused with hallmarked precious metal.

Gold is such a beautiful, valuable metal. It is an investment that will be enjoyed for life and passed on through the generations.  It is a luxury thats holds its value. I hope that this information will be helpful to you when you wish to make a purchase.

View Edge Only's gold

Edge Only Diamond Pavé Parallel Ring in 14 carat gold

Edge Only jewellery 14 carat gold teardrop earrings

www.edgeonly.com

Luxury jewellery with an edge, ethically made in Ireland

Edge Only jewellery 14ct gold Round-head Screw Pendant and 14 carat gold Button Pendant




FAQ

Q: How do I contact Edge Only?
A: Email us at info@edgeonly.com or use the “contact us” form on the bottom of our website.

Q: How do I know my order has been received?
A: An email confirmation will be sent to the email address provided.

Q: Can orders be delivered to a different address from my own?

A: Yes. As you complete the checkout process you will be given the opportunity to enter your billing and delivery addresses, if different. Choose an address where you (or someone you trust) can sign for your registered package. If you are buying a gift for someone you may prefer to give them an Edge Only Gift Card, redeemable for an entire year.

Q: How long for delivery?

A: Stocked items are dispatched within 24 hours Monday to Friday unless otherwise stated (special orders and custom gold orders). Delivery is typically 1-2 working days days in Ireland, 2-4 for the UK.

Q: How will my purchase be delivered?

A: We offer free worldwide shipping for all jewellery purchases (over €100). We use An Post Express mail as standard. Packages are sent daily Monday through Friday. If a courier is required we can offer DHL Express Worldwide for an additional charge.

Q: If I order multiple pieces, will they arrive together? 

A: Yes. Unless one of your items is a custom order, in which case it will be sent separately after your bespoke piece has been created for you.

Q: Where is your jewellery made?

A: All of our jewellery is designed and ethically made in Ireland. Edge Only's workshop is in Kilkenny. We have highly skilled goldsmiths working with us in Dublin, Kilkenny and Kildare. All of our jewellery is Hallmarked at the Assay Office in Dublin Castle, Ireland. Web exclusives are special items we have brought in through our European suppliers.

Q: May I have a different metal?

A: Yes! Our collections are made with sterling silver and 14 carat yellow gold as standard, but if you would like to have 18 carat gold, rose gold, white gold or platinum, please let us know. We can quote to have your special request made in three weeks (+ delivery). Please note that Platinum and Gold prices may be subject to change due to market fluctuation.

Q: How do I measure my ring size?

A: All ring size options are listed according to UK / Irish ring sizes. We typically stock ladies sizes L & M (small) N & O (medium), P & Q (Large) and Men’s S & T (small), U & V (medium), W & X (large). If you require a different size we can have a ring made for you in approximately 2 weeks. Tip: When purchasing a wide ring (or a set of stacking rings) it is often more comfortable to go up one size. Please see the international ring size chart below. We recommend that you ask a reputable jeweller to size your finger for you using "leading edge" as the size guide, taking more than one reading. Most stores will happily do this for free!

Measuring your finger:

Your ring should fit your finger comfortably – snug enough so that it will not fall off and loose enough to slide over your knuckle. Finger size changes depending on the time of day and the weather. For best results measure your finger size at the end of the day and when your fingers are warm (fingers are smaller in the early morning and when cold). Measure more than once to get an accurate reading.

Q: My ring size is not listed. Can you make me one?

A: Yes. We do free ring sizing on newly purchased rings +/- 2 of our stock sizes. Rings more that 2 sizes up or down are charged at €30.00. We can make virtually any size you like, with a bit of time. Please email us for custom rings info@edgeonly.com

Q: May i have a different necklace length?

A: Yes. Typically we sell our pendants on an 18"/45cm chain for women and a 20"/50cm chain for men (or longer). Depending on the difference in length, weight or the type of chain your wish to have, there may be an additional charge. Contacts us to find out on info@edgeonly.com

Q: What is your policy for returns and exchanges?

A: We offer a hassle free, 30-day exchange or refund on unworn pieces. To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging. Please note that engraved items cannot be returned or exchanged.

Q: How is my gift packaged?

A: Your gift is packaged in our custom Edge Only jewellery boxes. Edge Only jewellery boxes are light-weight luxury. They are black, grained paper with black gloss foil writing and have a plush black velvet foam insert (Silver boxes shown below). All silver purchases come with a complimentary Edge Only silver polishing cloth and care instructions. They are shipped in black protective bubble packaging.

Edge Only boxes Edge.

Edge Only Silver Cloth. Maintain Your Edge

Q: Is gift wrapping available?
A: We don't currently offer a gift wrapping service (the bows get squashed in the post!) but each order is beautifully packaged in tissue and includes care instructions, postcard and a complimentary branded silver polishing cloth for all silver orders.

Q: Are the products pictured actual size?
A: No. Because screens vary in size, it is next to impossible to show an actual size image on the Internet. We do provide measurements where appropriate and try our best to have each design photographed on a model for scale. Email us if you would like us to take a custom picture for you - we will do our very best!

Q: Which payment methods do you accept?
A: We accept payment online by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal. In addition, you can also pay for all or part of your order using an Edge Only Gift Card. Our payments are processed through Shopify Payments powered by Stripe.

Q: How do I redeem my Edge Only Gift Card?
A: Gift cards are available in a wide variety of denominations and may be redeemed at any time for an entire year. Gift cards are immediately delivered to you by email and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. A beautifully packaged gift card will follow in the post. Each gift card has a unique code number, which can be redeemed against any purchase on the website. Please email us at info@edgeonly.com should you have any further questions about using your gift card.

Q: How do I use a Discount Code?
A: From time to time we may offer discount codes to our newsletter subscribers, on social media or through carefully selected media partners. To use a discount code, please enter the code in the box provided on the shopping cart page, click ‘Apply’ and the discount code offer will be applied to your shopping cart. If you have any problems redeeming your discount, email us at info@edgeonly.com. Please note: Some discounts are time sensitive and have an expiry date. 

Q: How do i care for my jewellery?
A: We have a jewellery care guide here with tips on polishing silver and cleaning gold.

Q: What does Carat / Karat mean?
A: When used in reference to gold, carat is a measure of purity. 24 carat is 100% gold. In most parts of the world, the terms carat and karat are used interchangeably (in the USA the designation for gold fineness is karat). The weight of gold in jewellery is measured in grams. All Edge Only jewellery is hallmarked.

Q: What is the difference between 14ct and 18ct Gold?
A: 18 carat gold is 18 parts out of 24 pure gold and 6 parts alloy or 75% pure gold. 18 carat gold is ideal for women with very sensitive ears or skin as it does not cause any allergic skin reactions. In Hallmarking the metal and fineness (purity) mark for 18 carat is 750. 14 carat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy or 58.5% pure gold. The mark for 14 carat gold is 585. The addition of other metals (alloys) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal as well as to change the colour i.e. white gold and rose gold and also to lessen expense with lower carat gold items (9 carat and 10 karat). 

**Gold prices may be subject to change due to market fluctuation.

Q: What is Black Rhodium?
A: Rhodium is from the Platinum family of precious metals. It gives a shiny black veil to silver resulting in a cool, gun-metal grey colour. As with all plating it will gradually fade with wear.

Q: What is Vermeil?
A: Gold vermeil (pronounced vur-may) is sterling silver that has been gold plated. Sometimes referred to as gilded silver or gilt, vermeil is made using the process of electrolysis — electricity and an acid bath — to attach the gold to sterling. To be considered vermeil, the gold should be at least 10 carat and be at least 2.5 micrometers thick (at Edge Only we use 18 carat gold). Vermeil differs from gold plating in that the base metal in vermeil is sterling silver (gold plating is generally used on inexpensive base metals like brass). The layer of gold is thicker than that applied using the electroplating process for gold plate. It is hallmarked with 925 for sterling silver. Please note that as it is a surface treatment, gold plating will naturally fade with wear. If you want your design to last forever invest in carat gold. For more see: Tips For Buying Gold

Q: Do you offer re-plating?
A: Yes. We are happy to re-plate your gold vermeil designs when you feel they need them. Most designs will be re-plated in 18 carat gold and sent back by express post for just €30.00. Simply email us to confirm the details: info@edgeonly.com 

Q: What is a Hallmark?
A: A hallmark is a guarantee of metal purity. Hallmarking is a system that originated in London at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the 14th century. In the UK and in Ireland there are three compulsory hallmarks applied to precious metals as a quality control: a sponsor’s (maker’s) mark, a fineness mark, and an assay office mark. These marks establish the origin and fineness of the precious metal and ensures it has been accurately and independently tested (assayed.) In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission does not require a gold fineness stamp; however, if one is used, it must be accompanied by the manufacturer’s mark.

Example of 14carat gold hallmarked in Dublin Castle:

Irish Hallmarks

At Edge Only we only use solid sterling silver and solid carat gold, hallmarked in accordance with UK and Irish law. We do NOT use gold plate, rolled gold or goldfill. For your information, please find below some common terms and techniques used in the wider jewellery and costume jewellery world.

Q: What is Gold Plate?
A: Gold Plated jewellery has a very thin layer of the precious metal electroplated to it. The thickness of gold (or silver if silver plated) is generally only a few microns thick. 18ct gold is typically used. The metal underneath the plating is a base metal (typically brass or pot metal) that must be able to conduct electricity for the bonding process to work. The plating will wear off.

Q: What is Rolled Gold, Gold Filled or Bonded Gold?
A: Rolled gold or Gold Filled is composed of a layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal (or alloy) such as brass. The bond produced is a permanent one and the gold is thicker than that of gold plate. A gold filled item must contain a fifth (1/20th) of its weight in gold and will have a quality mark that will identify its carat. For example, 14 carat Gold Filled will be marked as 14/20, meaning that the outer 1/20th of the piece is 14ct gold, the remaining majority of the piece is brass or base metal. This is not a hallmark and should not be confused with hallmarked precious metal.

For more about Gold see our Blog post All About Gold - Facts and Figures

At Edge Only we believe in transparency and the ethical production of fine jewellery. Something we have forgotten? Please let us know. Questions? We are happy to help! info@edgeonly.com

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