Gold is a remarkable and rare precious metal that is shiny, soft, dense, and malleable making it easy to form into shapes for jewelry. In it's pure form gold is bright yellow and must be alloyed with other base metals to increase the wearability and to create various colors of gold such as white or rose. Gold is durable, and will not rust or tarnish. It is measured in carat weights of 10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 22K, and 24K. The higher the karat weight the greater the purity, yet gold in its purest state is considered too soft for the use of jewelry.
How do you know if it is real gold? Always look for a carat (K or kt.) mark plus the manufacturer's trademark. Nothing less than 10K can be legally sold as jewelry in the United States. Some jewelry is processed with a layer of gold, and must be marked as "gold filled" or the symbol "HGE", signifying heavy gold electroplate which is light plating on top of the gold. Only karat gold jewelry is real gold that offers the characteristics, wearability, and durability of the precious metal.
Prices for gold fluctuate often, and are often linked to economic events. Gold jewelry prices are based on the price of gold, the craftsmanship, the density of the weight, and purity of karat weight that are all combined to create the unique beauty of fine jewelry.