All About Gold
Over the years we have explored different kinds of gold in our jewelry store. My very first year sourcing at the Tucson gem show I purchased some beautiful vermeil beads from Turkey, I’ve never seen the same styles again. Since that beginning year of our opening, we have explored many other kinds of gold in all of our jewelry.
My favorite gold colored metal to work with in the Sayulita Sol Jewelry studio is Gold-Filled. We only carry 14kt gold filled, although there is also 12kt available on the market. We create lots of designs made from gold fill in our Sayulita studio. We purchase the raw materials and fabricate the finished jewelry behind the scenes. What I like the most about working with gold filled materials is the industry standard for the amount of gold used in all gold fill jewelry. It is required for the outer gold layer to be a minimum of 5% of the entire piece. The fill is made from the same base metal alloy used in the gold karating process (read below to learn more). I like to think of gold fill as a hose. The gold is a thick outer layer solidly wrapped around the inner base metal core, similar to a garden hose filled with water. I find that gold fill wears well and, in most cases, does not cause adverse reactions. The gold layer that is against the skin in all our gold fill jewelry is 14kt.
We also carry gold plated jewelry in our store. Gold-plating has a much thinner layer of gold compared to gold fill, and the price is also more economical. The gold layer can wear off easier, and you want to protect and gold-plated jewelry from bumps or scratches that can allow the base metal below the surface access to the air. There is no industry standard for gold plated jewelry, and often the gold layer is microscopic. The main benefit of purchasing gold-plated jewelry is the economic price tag. You can usually re-plate your favorite jewelry that needs to have the gold freshened to its original luster. Gold vermeil is another type of gold we carry in our store. Gold vermeil is the same as gold plate, except in vermeil the inner core is made from sterling silver. Our gold vermeil is plated in 22kt gold over sterling silver.
There is nothing quite like high karat gold. You can always tell high karat gold from the rich luminous glow it gives off. At this time, we do not carry any jewelry made from 22kt or pure 24kt gold, although we do have some pieces made from 22kt vermeil, or sterling silver plated in 22kt gold. There are two main reasons we do not currently work with high karat gold. First is the cost to invest into the raw materials. Second is the lack of security options available to us in Sayulita. I would love to have one case filled with unique 22kt gold designs. A girl can dream!
Do you know what is the difference between 24kt, 18kt and 14kt gold? It is the amount of base metal used in the alloy. Here is a handy diagram that shows the percentage mixes uses to create the common golds used in jewelry. As you can see it is the same base metal alloy used in gold fill as is 18kt. This is one of the reasons we prefer working with gold-fill as an economic solution in gold-smithing.