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Gold

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Dorothee Rosen Designer Jeweller Goldsmith and Silversmith Profile
EXPERT
Advice
with Dorothée Rosen


Let’s have a look at gold today – not the stock market version, but the good, hard, solid, wearable variety – a view ‘from the other side of the bench’. Thank goodness this gorgeous metal is making a comeback. Gold is such an incredible material, one whose quality and beauty has made it a coveted metal for millennia all over the world.

Karats

First, let’s demystify karats. The math is simple: to get actual pure gold content, divide your karat by 24, and multiply by one hundred. For 18k gold, that means that 18 parts out of 24 parts are gold = 18 karat gold consists of 75% pure gold, and 25% other
metals. Almost half (58%) of 14k gold is not gold.

Yellow, White, Rose

The combination of gold with other metals is called an alloy. Using different metals for the alloy results in different characteristics. For example, pure gold is alloyed with silver and copper for karat yellow golds, or just copper for rose golds. For white golds, either cheaper nickel, or expensive palladium are added. Because of its yellow tinge, nickel white gold is generally thinly rhodium plated. That thin rhodium layer will rub off, and will need to be replaced frequently.

Is 18 karat gold really too soft?

While gold in its pure form is very soft, it is the alloying with other metals which increases its strength. I adore the weight, feel and colour of a well-balanced 18k gold. Most commercial 18k jewellery is built too lightly, in order to cut costs. As a result, people think that 18k will be too soft – it is not. Personally, I love the material so much, I like using it in abundance – sometimes 3 feet of it in one piece!

The joy of working that material is imbued in the finished pieces. 14k just doesn’t have the saturation or feel of 18k gold – to make or wear. A contemporary white gold When I work with white gold, I prefer 18k palladium white gold for its colour, feel, and superior working qualities. The alloyed palladium is a metal in the platinum family of metals. Its gorgeous dark lustre and palpable density are highly attractive qualities. Palladium white gold lends itself to the forging techniques I apply. It is a durable, contemporary, and very elegant alloy, which does not contain nickel.

Extraterrestrial

A final ‘nugget’ for you: did you know that gold originated from space? It isso rare because it is created not inside a planet like the earth, but by the collision of neutrons from former super novae – which are very fast, catastrophic, extremely energetic kinds of explosions.

More Curious Gold Facts
  • the earliest gold relics date to 4,500 B.C.
  • gold is used as reflectors in glass – the reflective panes in Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza contain almost $3million worth of gold.
  • when made into thin gold wire, one ounce can be drawn into 80km of hair thin wire – from Bedford to Wolfville.
  • two hundred laptops will yield 5 troy ounces of recovered gold
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