Understanding Gold: Fineness, Color, and Other Characteristics

gold bars

gold barsGold is a precious metal that’s valued for its rarity, hypoallergenic and non-tarnishing properties. This means that when jewelry has more gold in it, the more hypoallergenic it is.

Given its history, rarity, and properties, gold’s value was once the basis of money in the world. AAA Jewelers has a few choice tidbits about this precious metal.


Fineness, or the karat system, measures how “fine” the gold is, or its purity. It reveals the amount of gold found in an item, usually denoted by a number followed by K.The system is as follows:

• 24 karat (24K) is pure gold.
• 18 karat (18K) is 75% gold; it contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal(s).
• 14 karat (14K) is 58.3% gold; it contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal(s).
• 10 karat (10K) is 41.7% gold; it contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of another metal(s).

In Utah and other parts of the US, the minimum amount of karat required for jewelry to be considered gold is 10 karat.

Strength and Color

Gold can mix with others metals – a process known as alloying – to increase its strength, but too much alloying can make it tarnish easily, while too little can make it too soft. You can choose from yellow gold created by alloying the metal with copper and silver. Pink gold, on the other hand, is a result of copper alloy; white gold contains platinum or palladium, zinc and copper. Finally, green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.


The pricing of gold jewelry depends on 4 factors: karat percentage, gram weight, design and craftsmanship. The heavier gold weighs in grams, the more costly it is. However, the design and craftsmanship can also affect its pricing especially when handcrafted with intricate designs or added with precious stones and gems. While all of these features would make jewelry an interesting piece, don’t neglect to check if it was carefully constructed to make sure the small parts don’t fall off.

According to conspiracy theorists, even aliens love our gold. With its extensive use and characteristics, gold is a solid investment with easy exchange for money, and it’s not hard to see why.