1. What is Gold? Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (from Latin: aurum, “shining dawn” and an atomic number of 79. It has been a highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since the beginning of recorded history. The metal occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits. Gold is dense, soft, shiny and the most malleable and ductile pure metal known. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Gold has served as a symbol of wealth and a store of value throughout history.
2. What is Pure Gold? Gold that is of 999.9 fineness, or 24 Karat, with no alloy. It is the highest or purest standard accepted by the market.
3. Is “Bonded” jewelry truly precious metal jewelry? Because Bonded materials are essentially 100% Karat Gold and Sterling Silver, such items are fully precious metal and should not be confused with lower value alternatives.
4. Why is it called “Bonded”? The manufacturing process affixes (mechanically bonds) two (or more) separate and distinct surfaces together by the “Bonding” of the material surfaces. The name “Bonded” is reserved specifically for the joining (affixing) of Karat Gold and Sterling Silver. The final “Bonded” combination is essentially 100% Precious Metals. Bonded thickness is usually specified as a percentage of the total thickness, commonly 10%. (i.e. 1/10 14K)
5. What is “Clad”? In metallurgy, “Cladding” is the bonding together of two dissimilar metals. It is distinct from welding or gluing as a method to fasten two metals together. Cladding is usually achieved by pressing or rolling sheets together under high pressure. “Bonded” is a subset of cladding using only precious metals (Karat Gold and Sterling Silver). Cladding thickness is usually specified as a percentage of the total thickness, commonly 10%. Thickness of the cladding can be made much heavier and more durable than obtainable by electroplating.
6. What is “Gold-Filled”? Gold-filled jewelry has long been made by the Clad process in which a layer of gold alloy is bonded to another metal.: the surface is gold, the base metal bronze or brass with the Karat Gold cladding thickness usually 5%. The difference between Gold-Filled and Bonded is that Bonded uses only Precious Metals and Gold-Filled uses a combination of Karat Gold and Base Metals. It should not be confused with the decorative coatings achieved through electroplating. In the United States, gold filled can describe only an alloy of 10 Karat or more which must comprises at least one-twentieth by weight of the total metal content of the article. If it is less than one-twentieth, it must be designated rolled gold plate or gold overlay.
7. What is Rolled Gold or Rolled Gold Plate? The process in which a layer of Karat gold alloy is mechanically bonded to another metal. In the United States the designation ‘rolled gold’ or ‘rolled gold plate’ means that the proportion of gold alloy to the weight of the entire article is less than one-twentieth; if it is over one-twentieth it will be designated gold filled.
8. What is Gold Plated? The coating of an article with a layer of gold, usually by electroplating. Electroplate describes jewelry that has a layer of at least .175 microns (7 millionths of an inch) thick of a minimum of 10 Karat gold deposited on a base metal by an electrolytic process.
9. What is Electroplating? The deposition of a thin gold layer or coating onto a conducting substrate, typically a base metal, by electrolysis. Electroplating is widely used for many decorative applications in the plating of costume jewelry, watches, cigarette lighters and pens.
10. What is Gold Washed or Gold Flashed? These phrases describe products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175microns thick).
11. What are the legal guidelines that I should know? It is unfair or deceptive to misrepresent the presence of gold or gold alloy in an industry product, or the quantity or karat fineness of gold or gold alloy contained in the product, or the karat fineness, thickness, weight ratio, or manner of application of any gold or gold alloy, plating, covering or coating on any surface of an industry product or part thereof.
12. What quality mark should be on Bonded products? When the two precious metals are bonded, the karat gold part is a bonding of karat gold alloy over the silver, the article can be marked by identifying the silver, followed by a fraction representing the proportion of the thickness of the karat gold to the thickness of the entire metal in the article. The karat quality of the gold must also be disclosed, “Sterling + 1/10 10KY” or “925 + 1/20 14K”.
13. What quality mark should be on Plated products? What quality mark should be on Gold Plated products? A product, on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces, by any process, a coating, electroplating, or deposition by any means, of gold or gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness and the minimum thickness throughout of which is equivalent to one-half micron (or approximately 20 millionths of an inch) of fine gold should be marked or described as “Gold Plate” or “Gold Plated,” or abbreviated, as for example, G.P. (For example, “Sterling 14K G.P.”)
14. What does a product described or advertised as “Sterling with 14K” mean? This represents that the respective parts that are visually distinguishable are solid 14K gold and/or silver throughout. This description may not be used for a silver article that has been plated, coated, covered or mechanically bonded with a gold alloy.
15. What is Alloy? A mixture of two or more pure metals. In the case of gold, a mixture with one or more metals, often base metals such as copper, zinc and silver, to lower the purity, influence the color or add hardness and strength.
16. What is Assay The testing of gold, either as ore, bullion, coin or jewelry, to determine its fineness or purity. The most accurate method is fire assay and it is the principal chemical method used today.
17. What is the difference between red, yellow and white gold? Pure gold is yellow in color, but when gold is alloyed (mixed) with other metals it is possible to use these alloys to produce varying colors of gold. Gold alloys are usually a mixture of silver, copper, and zinc, and the amounts of each can be varied to affect the final color, normally white and red gold.
18. How is gold measured? Gold is traditionally weighed in Troy Ounces (31.1035 grams). A metric ton (equals 1,000kg = 32,150.72 troy ounces) of gold
19. Can I find out where my gold jewelry was manufactured? Depending on the country that your gold jewelry was purchased in you may be able to tell where the gold jewelry was manufactured from the hallmarking on the item. In the US, small symbols are “stamped or marked” on the item which identifies information such as Karatage, country of manufacture and the company that manufactured it (Trademark).
20. Can the gold used in industrial applications be recycled? Yes, there is no technical reason why gold used in industrial applications cannot be recycled and re-used. Gold can be reprocessed without this impairing its qualities or performance. In this way, gold may be re-used again and again, conserving natural resources.