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Gold, K gold? Platinum, white gold? After reading it, I finally got it!

by mittag jewelry

I recently sorted out the frequently asked questions from guests, so that they can be written into blogs then everyone can understand clearly; after all, the history of jewelry can be traced back to the Stone Age of 160,000 years ago, the stone and the skeleton were made to necklace was found on the Mediterranean Sea. With the evolution of human habits and the change of aesthetic concepts, the materials used have gradually changed to shellfish, jade...and even precious metals such as gold and silver. So far, in the international financial market, these precious metals are also inextricably related to the international currency.

Because humans have higher and higher requirements on the fineness of jewelry, the mutual compatibility of jade, gemstone and various precious metals is more and more important. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the hardness by means of metal mixing to achieve these goals. Therefore, we want to use this article to introduce common precious metals and how to understand their labeling and composition. We believe that this article provides some practical information when you purchase jewelry. However, before this, we must remind you that most of the related articles on internet adopt the precious metal standard specification in the National Standard of the People's Republic of China (abbreviated as GB). In this article, we based on the latest revision of the “Marking and Composition of Decorative Metals” issued by the Standards Inspection Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), CNS2968, in 2016.

Gold, silver, platinum are the main ingredients

To start introducing the precious metals commonly used in jewelry, you must first understand the most core materials in their composition, namely, gold, silver, and platinum. But because the higher purity of gold, silver, and platinum has the same shortcoming, that is too soft and it is not suitable for directly use as a jewelry. The other 14K gold, 925 silver, and 850 platinum that are often seen in the market because they have added a few other different metal proportions to achieve the "wearability" requirements of the jewelry in addition to the "maintain value".

Gold and its calculations and ingredients

Gold is a high-density, soft, corrosion-resistant yellow precious metal (chemically known as Au), which is the most ductile metal. The calculation of gold purity is in Karat (abbreviated as K), and is divided into 24 grades (ex 1K~24K) according to the gold content ratio, so 1K equals to 4.1666% gold content in terms of purity. Generally speaking, the jewelry materials used in countries around the world will not be lower than 8K, which means that there are 17 grades of commonly used K gold components (that is 8K~24K gold). However, according to Taiwan's regulations (CNS2968), there are only 11 types of K gold purity labels actually used in jewelry (see the table below for details), so it is better to introduce them to you based on national standards. In addition, the definition of 24K gold in the world has always been controversial. It is impossible to have 100% pure substances in nature. Therefore, when defining the purity of "pure gold", there may be different standards in various countries, so please pay attention to the relevant signs when buying it. In particular, starting from May 4, 2016, the Chinese National GB Standard has abolished the mark of 99.9% pure gold or even 99.99% pure gold, and changed to 99.0% as pure gold. This is obviously different from the Taiwanese decree, please pay attention to it, because this will be related to the price!

gold proporation chart

Because the hardness of pure gold is similar to human nails, gold jewelry is easier deformed than other precious metal jewelry, and now it has evolved into more marking requirements than other precious metals. Because the goldsmith needs to combine pure gold with other metals to form an alloy to increase its hardness, so that more jewelry designs can be made. Generally speaking, gold will add silver, copper, zinc and other metals to increase the strength and toughness, so as to make high-jewel inlays or large-piece jewelry, and the metal thus produced is "K gold". The common 18K gold (75.0% gold content) and 14K gold (58.5% gold content) are the mainstream, others are rare. Generally speaking, Asians prefer higher purity such as 22K and 18K gold, while Europeans and Americans prefer 14K or 10K gold jewelry, but in recent years, Asians have gradually begun to accept 14K gold jewelry, currently according to the precious metal foundry, the proportion of 14K gold users is the same as 18K gold, because young people accept 14K gold. Although the lower the purity, the lower the price, but the 14K gold is more suitable for creating complex jewelry due to the increased hardness. It is more durable and has the maintain value. 

K gold and color interesting relationship

When K gold meets the content standard, in order to enrich the color change of K gold, it is possible to synthesize the K gold by adjusting the specific degrees of other alloys. Although there are 450 kinds of K gold in the famous Japanese jewelry magazine "Gemstone Four Seasons", the most commonly used is about 20 kinds; we will introduce you to the most popular yellow, red and white K gold.

Yellow K gold: It is a yellow precious metal alloy, which is made up of gold, silver and brass. The different proportions of silver and brass are used to adjust the shade of yellow.

Red K gold: It is a pink precious metal alloy, which is made up of gold and silver and red copper. Red copper is the main cause of K gold redness. Red K gold is also known as rose gold. Rose gold is bright and harder than pure gold and has a strong ductility. It is used in jewelry making, also known as pink gold, red gold and purple gold. Because it was widely used in Russia in the early 19th century, it is also known as Russian gold or Russian purple gold.

White K gold: It is a white precious metal alloy, which is made by adding palladium or silver to gold. Because white gold is white, it is the white metal most easily confused with platinum, but it is a completely different metal from platinum. Moreover, since the main raw material of white gold is gold, you must know that "the color of white gold will still be yellow", which is definitely not comparable to platinum and silver. Why the white K gold jewelry sold in the market is white? The answer is plating. If you bought a white gold jewelry after wearing a few years, it had some areas turned yellow. This is a normal phenomenon. After the plating layer is thinned, the real white K gold will be exposed.

Platinum and its calculation and ingredients

Although Platinum is also known as white gold, we recommend that you use platinum to avoid confusion with white K gold, which may cause misunderstandings between you and the merchant at the time of purchase. Platinum itself is a white precious metal, the price is higher than gold, the annual output is only 3 to 5% of gold; in addition, its weight is also heavier than gold, so it can be used as the easiest way to distinguish between platinum and white K gold. Another thing worth saying is that in pure gold, sterling silver and pure platinum, platinum has a higher hardness. Therefore, in terms of the hardness required for jewelry applications, platinum only needs to add a smaller proportion of other metals than gold and silver. It can meet the hardness required by the jewelry, so you can often hear the jewelry advertisement saying that "the purity of platinum jewelry is worth collecting". The International Platinum Association defines the specifications of platinum jewelry are marked with PT950, PT900 and PT850. 

specification of platinum purity chart and common sterling silver purity chart

Silver and its calculations and ingredients

Silver is the most versatile jewelry because it is the most inexpensive of the valuable precious metals. Because of this, the silver types commonly used in the standard of CNS2968 are four categories with higher content. Of course, in silver jewelry market, most used is 925 silver; take this for example, the silver content is 92.5% and the addition is 7.5% of copper metal, so that the hardness of silver is increased and suitable for jewelry.

K gold, platinum maintenance and cleaning

In the article “Amazing! 10 ways to resist oxidative blackening of silver jewelry comparison”, the way of cleaning silver is very clear explained, and the maintenance of silver is different from K gold and platinum; therefore, only K gold and platinum are mentioned here.

Daily maintenance: The surface of K gold and platinum jewelry will be covered with fine wear marks and reduced brightness due to long-term wear and friction. The surface can be lightly cleaned with a gold cloth daily. Please note that the "silver cloth" used in silverware is different from the "gold cloth" used in K gold and platinum (both shared)! Please avoid using wrong cloth.

General cleaning: K gold and platinum jewelry can be soaked in alcohol for a few minutes, and the general dirt will be volatilized together with alcohol. After soaking, rinse with water, then dry with cotton cloth.

Moderate cleaning: first soak in alcohol to let the dirt volatilize with alcohol together, then wipe the grease with the toothbrush and neutral cleaning solution or jewelry cleaning solution on the bottom of the pedestal and the crevice, rinse with water, then dry with cotton cloth.

Deep cleaning: K gold and platinum jewelry can be sent to professional jewelry stores for cleaning with ultrasonic cleaners. Ultrasonic cleaners use high-frequency vibration to remove dirt, which is fast and convenient.

Extreme maintenance: every 2~3 years, re-polishing, jewelry can restore the beautiful and bright light.



Avoid wearing K gold, platinum jewelry bathing, swimming, hot spring or going to the beach (saline and chlorine water will also damage the jewelry). Also avoid direct contact with chemicals such as cosmetics and perfumes to avoid damage to the jewelry. It is recommended to wear jewelry at the last step of dressing. After wearing it, wipe it with a dry cloth and put it into the zipper bag.

K gold items of mittag jewelry