Key Facts About Gold - How to shop for Gold

October 22, 2019

Key Facts About Gold - How to shop for Gold

How to shop for gold

The ultimate in luxury, gold will always be in fashion and as such, will maintain its value or even increase over time. 

The price of gold is tied to the markets and is traded daily. With political changes in the world, investment in precious metals has increased dramatically, resulting in especially high prices for gold

Edge Only Gold Marquise jewellery 14 carat gold

Generational gold - Heirloom jewelry


Gold is a very valuable metal which is why it holds generational value in jewellery and coin and is often referred to as 'heirloom' jewelry. It is is of value to pass down or to inherit.

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.

We have compiled some of the most important information in order to help you make the right purchase for you. 

At Edge Only we believe in buying better and buying less, in ethical manufacturing and in transparency with our customers. So if you have questions after reading this blog, please do not hesitate to get in touch! 

Diamond Engagement Ring and Gold Wedding Band

 

The key facts everyone should know about gold:

1. Gold is measured in 24ths 

24 carat is the highest purity available and consists of 99.9% gold.  Gold is naturally yellow and highly valuable, but it is also soft and malleable. For this reason 24 carat gold is not usually used to make fine jewellery. It would be too soft to hold it shape and therefore not safe for setting stones.

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 (by adding palladium or silver) and rose gold (by adding copper) and in the case of lower carat gold, to lessen the cost.

  • 18 carat gold is 75% pure gold (18 parts out of 24 pure gold and 6 parts alloy) 
  • 14 carat gold is 58.5% pure gold (14 parts out of 24 pure gold and 10 parts alloy) 
  • 9 carat gold is 37.5% pure gold (9 parts out of 24 pure gold and 15 parts alloy) 

The most widely used alloys for jewellery in Europe are 18ct and 14ct, although 9ct 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 gold). In France, the UK, Austria, Portugal and Ireland, 9 carat is the lowest caratage permitted to be called gold. In Denmark and Greece, 8 carat is the legal minimum standard. 

**18 carat gold is ideal for allergy sufferers as it does not cause allergic skin reactions. Many people with sensitive ears are also perfectly fine with 14 karat gold, but this depends on the level of sensitivity.

Edge Only gold lightning bolt fine jewellery 14 carat gold

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 and precious metals for financial stability). To many gold is still currency, which is why it maintains its value. 

Edge Only Rooftop Ring in 14 carat gold

3. Hallmarks 

A hallmark is a guarantee of metal purity. Hallmarking is a system that originated in London, England 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 in parts per thousand) 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).

compulsory hallmarks Assay Office Dublin

In Hallmarking the metal and fineness mark for 18 carat gold is 750. The mark for 14 carat gold is 585. The mark for 9 carat gold 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. 

Hibernia Hallmark

HIBERNIA HALLMARK - The Dublin Assay Office Mark

The Hibernia mark may be considered as a special mark of the Dublin Assay Office. Since 2002 it is used on all articles assayed and hallmarked at the Assay Office irrespective of their origin. Irish hallmark examples:

 Example 14 carat gold 585 Assay Office hallmark

Example silver 925 Assay Office hallmark


What to look out for as a shopper!

It is important to be aware that hallmarking is the law in the UK and Ireland and many other countries. 

A jewellery shop should 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, 375...). If its not there you are perfectly within your rights to ask why?

For this reason it is important to know what the various marks mean, as some countries mark differently (i.e 14kt is the same as 585). Once you know what you are paying for and are happy with the metal and the price, then go for it!

Note: For delicate or very fine jewellery a laser hallmark is often used to avoid 'striking' the metal. They may be faint and require magnification (a jewellers loupe) to see clearly.

At Edge Only we ethically make our jewellery in Ireland from refined recycled gold. Our pieces are individually tested and hallmarked at the Assay Office in Dublin Castle.

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? Brass, pot metal? Will it make your skin turn green when the plating wears off? If you find a piece of jewellery that is only 30 euro more in "gold" than it is in "silver", then it isn't gold. Gold is much more valuable than silver and also heavier (more dense) than silver, which is why it is much more expensive.

Brand Marks

Manufacturing or brand marks are just that. They are not a hallmark. They are marks that we put on our jewellery to let you know (and the gift receiver know) where the jewellery has come from. Some companies insert their entire name, we use our Edge Only "third element" our E in a diamond. We place it somewhere visible, but separate to our makers mark and hallmark. Our Makers Mark is JH.

Edge Only E in Diamond third element logo hallmark

Would you like a different alloy?

White gold? Red or rose gold? Platinum?

We have a selection of our fine jewellery and and pavé set rings on our website, but the limit is your imagination!  If you love one or our rings, but would like to alter the metal or stones, please do not hesitate to get in touch.    

"I recommend that you buy the best gold that you can afford, especially for items that you will wear daily such as wedding rings and stud earrings. The price per wear becomes minuscule over time."Jenny Huston

We have started introducing 9ct gold to our Edge Only fine jewellery selection due to the increases in gold prices, making owning solid gold more accessible to us all. It has a lovely pale yellow colour.

Please note that custom orders will take approximately 5 weeks. Simply email us your query to info@edgeonly.com

Edge Only Ruby and diamond ring in 14 carat gold

At Edge Only we believe in buying better and buying less, in ethical manufacturing and in transparency with our customers. So if you have questions please do not hesitate to get in touch!