Yellow gold is viewed as a timeless classic metal with some amazing properties. Whilst most other pure metals are grey or white, gold is naturally shiny yellow.
Not only is gold popular for its warm, lustrous golden hue, it has been deemed very important throughout history. The Ancient Egyptians featured gold in art and revered it as a divine and indestructible metal. Equally important to the Ancient Greeks who believed it was crafted from water and sunshine, it has since been used for jewellery and adornment for over 6000 years.
In today's market, our reliance on gold as a commodity is as strong as ever, with all the Central Banks such as the Bank of England holding Gold Reserves. This association with currency began with the introduction of the gold ducat in Venice in 1284, and has been used in Great Britain since 1377.
With such importance placed on its value, gold’s authenticity has been verified by the assaying process since the 13th century. Gold jewellery may carry a hallmark stamp, to ensure it conforms to the legal minimum standards of purity. Pure gold is referred to as 24 carat gold, this is too soft to be used for jewellery, so it is combined with stronger metals to create an alloy. The ratio of pure gold to other metals in an item is defined by its 'carat' label – read our guide on Gold Carats Explained.
The softness of gold makes it malleable, so yellow gold jewellery can be moulded and crafted into various creative shapes, without putting too much strain on the metal. Hence, it is particularly suitable for creating beautiful designs that could be engraved or stone set.
To harness the properties of gold at an affordable price, items may be ‘gold plated’, meaning metals such as copper or stainless steel have been covered with a thin layer of any colour gold by chemical or electrochemical plating. This is done to give the appearance of a pristine gold item, without having to pay a fortune for it. ‘Yellow gold-plated’ items will not carry a hallmark as the amount of pure gold in the item will weigh less than 1 gram – read our guide on Hallmarks.
Yellow gold in all its forms is an easy metal to care for, it’s resistant to rust and tarnishing and while the shine may fade when in contact with detergents or moisturisers, this is easily rectified by polishing with a soft cloth which will restore the shine to its original, pristine shimmer. Gold jewellery should be stored separately from other jewellery to avoid discolouring – read our guide on Caring For Your Jewellery.
Gold makes for a great investment you can pass down the generations.