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Karats and Color: Understanding the Value Of Gold

gold accessories
In 2017, the World Gold Council, a marketing organization for the gold industry, estimated that humans have mined 187,200 metric tons of gold. The value of that amount of gold was about $7.5 trillion at the time.
People have used gold in their jewelry for thousands of years. Ancient cultures also used gold as a status symbol and a form of currency, just as it is today. The tons of gold circulating around the world help people collect gold jewelry as an investment or buy and sell gold profitably. Understanding as much as possible about this shiny treasure will help you in your pursuits of collecting gold.

Know Karat Rating

The karat rating reveals the amount of gold in the piece. Something that is 24K is pure gold and numbers lower than that have less gold and more of other metals. For example, 14K gold has 14 parts gold to 10 parts of other types of metal. Mixing gold with other metals is not about lowering its value, but making the item more durable.
Pure gold is soft and damages easily. Most jewelers prefer to use 18K and 14K for their designs to have a good blend of strength and value. According to the World Gold Council, the lowest rating for gold allowed in the United States is 10K. People in many other countries sell jewelry that is 9K, but the laws of the U.S. do not allow jewelers to market it as gold.

Identify Color Options

The other metals mixed in with gold jewelry are what creates the diverse colors. Yellow gold, one of the most popular colors, has copper, silver, and zinc. Another popular choice, rose gold, has silver and copper. The higher level of copper in the alloy is what causes the color as well as what keeps the price of these pieces lower.  
The other metal in the alloy always affects the value of the piece. An example is with white gold. This shade can arise from a mixture of gold with silver, palladium, or nickel. Palladium is a precious metal and can increase the cost of white gold jewelry. If palladium and gold are the only metals in the alloy, this will make a shade known as gray gold.
Nickel is inexpensive and strong, so it is a popular alloy for affordable jewelry. Some people have allergic reactions to jewelry made with nickel, but the rhodium plating that produces the bright sheen of white gold gives some protection. Unfortunately, the plating wears off over time and can lead to allergic reactions if you don't re-plate the jewelry.
Other colors of gold alloys exist like pink, green, and purple. Research any unusually colored metal to help assess its value, including what other metals the alloy includes. Of course, the karat rating always matters most because this determines the amount of gold in the item.

Look Beyond Jewelry

Some of the most valuable gold items in the world are not jewelry.  According to Finances Online, this includes some unique options like a gold shirt, a $15 million designer iPhone case, and a $150,000 barbecue grill. These serve as a reminder to look at more than just jewelry and coins when you collect gold. 
Consider Other Values
Sometimes the designer name or the history of an item makes a gold piece's overall value higher than the weight of its gold. Every determined investor or collector needs to learn about dating vintage and antique jewelry, recognizing maker's marks, and deciphering hallmarks for more than karat rating.

One of the first places many new collectors go is to a pawnshop. At Gardena Jewelry & Loan Company, we offer a fair price to both gold buyers and sellers. The inventory consistently changes, so frequent visitors can see a sample of the variety of gold coins and jewelry in the area. Stop by to learn more, or bring in a collection to find out its real value.