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Quick facts:

>Gold is a yellow, noble metal
>Its chemical symbol is Au, from Aurora, or dawn
>Pure gold is 24 karats, or 99.999% pure. 100% pure gold is nearly impossible to refine.
Gold is a very dense metal with a density of 19.32 g/cm3 which gives it a very heavy atomic weight of 196.9665 g/atom, which is why solid gold jewelry is so heavy.

As most people are aware, gold is one of natures many elements as well as one of the rarest. It possess a number of desirable physical characteristics that have all contributed to making it one of the most valuable commodities in the world. It has a beautiful natural color, it is malleable to the extreme, and in its pure form, it is impervious to corrosion of any sort.

Because gold is ductile and malleable in it's pure form, it must be alloyed with various other metals to harden it and in some cases, change it's color. The metals used in the alloying process include silver, copper, nickel, zinc, tin and manganese.

Karat grade

For gold, karat grade is used to express the proportion of gold in an alloy or the quality of a gold alloy. Fine gold (pure) is 24 karat. The proportions in other karat are listed in the table below. All jewelry is required by law to be stamped so consumers will know the quality of gold used. Jewelry made in North America is typically marked with the karat grade (10K, 14K, etc.), and jewelry made in Italy is typically marked with the "fineness" such as (417, 583, etc.). So if your jewelry does not have a karat grade stamped on it, check for a 3-digit fineness number.

Karat
Parts Gold to Alloy
Percentage
Fineness
24k
24/24
100%
1000
22k
22/24
91.66%
917
21k
21/24
87.5%
875
18k
18/24
75.00%
750
14k
14/24
58.33%
583
10k
10/24
41.67%
417

Cleaning your gold jewelry

Gold will develop a film build up of oils from lotions, powders, soaps, and natural skin oils which takes away from it's beauty. Chemicals in the air can slightly oxidize the gold depending on the karat grade used. Don't let your gold jewelry come in contact with chlorine bleach when you are doing household chores because it can damage jewelry over time. A little time and effort on your part will keep your jewelry looking new like the day you first wore it. We've listed four ways to clean your gold jewelry.

1. Detergent Bath
Use any mild liquid detergent found on your home (such as dishwashing soap) and prepare a small bowl of warm suds. Brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush or toothbrush while they are in the bath. Then transfer them to a wire tea strainer and rinse under warm running water. Pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

2. The Cold Water Soak
Make a solution out of 50% cold water and 50% household ammonia in a cup. Soak the pieces for 30 minutes. Lift out gently clean with an eyebrow brush or toothbrush. Swish in the solution once more and let the jewelry drain on tissue paper.

3. The Quick-Dip Method
Buy a brand-name liquid jewelry cleaners found in many stores. Cleaning instructions vary depending on the kit, so read the label and follow its instructions.

4. The Ultrasonic Cleaner
This is a small machine that will clean any piece of jewelry that can be dipped in a liquid in a matter of minutes. There are many varieties of ultrasonic cleaners, but they all consist of a metal cup that you fill with water and detergent. When the machine is turned on, a high-frequency motion creates the cleaning action. Since each machine is slightly different, read the instructions very carefully before use.

Properly storing your gold jewelry
When you are not wearing your gold jewelry, they still require proper storage.
Keep your precious pieces in a fabric-lined jewel case, or a box with compartments or dividers. If you can not separate your jewelry in your jewelry box, wrap each piece individually in tissue paper or place in small plastic pouches. Don't jumble your diamond pieces in a drawer or jewelry case, because diamonds can scratch your other gold pieces of jewelry, or even scratch each other.

Traveling with your gold jewelry
The packing of your gold and diamond jewelry for travel should be given care.
There are many types of jewelry traveling carryalls on the market. They come in all sizes, shapes and patterns and most have velvet linings inside to attach pins and earrings, and compartments to place your bracelets and necklaces.To keep your jewelry looking it's best when you arrive, pack a small plastic bottle of prepared jewelry cleaner.

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