Large 7.5 ounce California gold nugget

The Jewelry Uses of Gold


Gold's Many Jewelry Applications

From the very beginning of man's history using gold it has always been associated with the beauty of adornment.  Wearing jewelry has not only accompanied man through most of his civilization, it may even be his oldest surviving tradition.  A gift of gold jewelry has always been the symbol of lasting love and devotion. The simple gold wedding band probably uses more of the world’s gold than any other single type of jewelry.  The tradition of the wedding bands began far back in history when the groom placed a gold ring on the third finger of his bride's left-hand believing that an artery ran from this finger directly to the heart.  It is a tradition that has come down through the ages and exists almost everywhere on earth.  The circlet of gold in closes the world of two loving people.

Through the years gold has continued to be the most desired precious metal for jury.  Today, about 100 tons of gold are used annually in the world wide jewelry industry.  Traditionally in many parts of the world, the finest pieces of jewelry have been made of 18 and 22 carat gold.  In the United States, 14 karat gold is the most widely used, for elegant and timeless fashion accessories.  Although almost everyone in the United States owns something made of gold few people are actually aware of the complex process which puts rings on their fingers, chains around their necks and bracelets on their wrists. Even a basic understanding of the techniques used in making jewelry will lead to a greater appreciation of the finished piece by its owner.


In ancient times goldsmiths worked their gold by hand today, some gold jewelry is still handmade, but much of it is machine produced.  Italy and the US or the world's two largest producers of gold jewelry.  In the US alone, more than 2000 firms produce gold jewelry.  Jewelry manufacturers live in a world of special procedures and processes: melting, casting, rolling, drawing and stamping.

Gold in its pure state, is termed a 24 karats pure.  At this purity, gold is considered too soft for use in jewelry.  It must be alloyed with other metals to increase its durability and workability so they can retain the beautiful shapes that are imparted to it.  The word karat derives from the Italian word carato, meaning the full fruit of the carob tree.  The seeds of the carob fruit were once used to balance the scales in Wayne gems in gold at Oriental bazaars.  As used in jewelry, 18 K gold is 18 parts gold in six parts of other metals; in the same way 14 K gold jewelry is 14 parts gold and 10 parts of other metals.  European gold jewelry is marked with a decimal: .750 is the same as 18 K gold, and .585 is the same as 14K gold.

The metals added to make gold suitable for jewelry also affect the color of the gold produced.  Gold can be alloyed into a wide range of colors, but only a few alloys have the right combination of strength and beauty and workability to qualify for use in jewelry or most gold jury contains a mixture of at least two other metals to retain gold's natural color and to increase its hardness is alloyed with a combination of copper and silver.  Green gold is achieved when silver, and sometimes small amounts of copper or added with zinc.  It pink or red 10 results when the gold is allied with excess copper when gold is allied with copper, nickel and sync, white gold is the result.


Want to know a little bit more about this crazy prospector guy? Well, here's a little bit more about me, and how I got into prospecting: Chris' Prospecting Story  

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