Everything You Need to Know About Gold Jewelry

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Jewelry
Tori Dundas

on March 18, 2022

Gold jewelry is sought after for its beauty — but there are also tangible reasons that make it an investment worth every penny.  True’s fine jewelry experts are here to answer every one of them — from how to tell you’re getting the real thing, to the value behind the investment, and how to treat your gold pieces to keep them gleaming forever.

Is gold jewelry a good investment?

In short: yes. Solid gold, fine jewelry can be a significant purchase that comes with the special sentiments of celebration, a moment worth marketing, or showing commitment. The lasting power of gold jewelry and the ability to wear it quite literally all the time makes it a valuable investment for years to come. And, any solid gold piece can be used as a treasured family heirloom to hand down for generations. 

Beyond the sentimentality, there’s a tangible value to fine jewelry. Think of it as a wearable investment — gold is a commodity which has always increased in value despite market volatility. It puts the power in your hands: you can keep it for as long as you like, or cash it in at any time. Perhaps it’s an investment in your own future or in the generations who come after you. 

What about gold plated or other types of gold jewelry?  

There are many types of ‘gold jewelry’ — some that use the term a little too liberally. The only true gold jewelry is solid and filled from 10 karats and upwards.  

The karat weight number represents the proportion of the real gold in the mix of metals that make up your piece. This is called alloy. Solid gold must be mixed in with other metals because pure solid gold would be far too soft to wear as jewelry. The value of your piece depends on how much pure, solid gold is in the jewelry. You can always have your pieces melted down for the true value of the solid gold which you’ve purchased. Bottom line: higher karats = more gold in the piece = higher value = more expensive. 

You may have seen brands selling gold-plated jewelry. This means the jewelry is coated in a thin layer of gold,  painted on top of another base metal — usually brass. Think of the brass as being dipped in gold. So yes, while on the outside is technically gold, that layer is prone to wearing off — leading to discoloration and sometimes even green skin. Solid gold jewelry will never tarnish, and should never turn your skin green. 

Learn more about why certain pieces turn your skin green 

 

Other terms used for gold plated jewelry include: 

  • Gold vermeil: Gold plating on top of sterling silver
  • Gold filled: a thicker layer of plating. This plating often lasts longer, but will still wear off over time.

Read more about the various types of gold jewelry to watch out for

 

All solid gold is hypoallergenic — but if you’re planning on everyday wear, the higher the gold quantity the better. For example, 18 karat gold is the popular choice for engagement rings because it offers the warm and luxurious appearance of pure gold but with a slightly warmer look than 14 karat. The higher karats also hold their own when paired with the most valuable gemstone: diamonds. 

How do you know the jewelry is real gold?

By law, all solid gold jewelry must be stamped with the karat weight of the purity of the gold. That is, 10 karat gold jewelry will be stamped with a “10K” and 14 karat jewelry with a “14K” and so forth. This includes chains; look for the stamp on the clasp. Always be weary of gold jewelry that is not stamped, as this is a strong sign it’s not real gold.

Can gold jewelry get wet?

Short answer: yes. Gold jewelry — solid gold, that is — is completely waterproof as there is no layer or plating that could potentially wear off. You can certainly swim in your gold pieces in the salty ocean or chlorinated pool, in the shower, and when working up a sweat.

Can gold jewelry get tarnished or scratched?

As a soft metal, gold is susceptible to denting and does have potential for scratching. This is why it’s important to consider your lifestyle and needs when picking each piece. While lower karat weights like 10K will be more durable and scratch resistant than a higher weight of 18K, they’ll also contain less pure gold, making them less valuable. Pick your poison! That being said, you can always take your pieces to a jeweller like True to have them re-polished or to buff out the scratches — they’ll look as good as new! True offers a revitalization program to help you make the most of your gold jewelry: from shining up a family heirloom, to melting a piece from your ex down to create something with a new life! 

Learn more about True’s revitalization program

At True, our designs are only produced in solid gold to pair with your active, busy lifestyle. Every piece of True is made of hypoallergenic precious metals that will never discolor through all of your life’s adventures. Whether you’re a white gold gal, or prefer the warmth of yellow or rose, your perfect piece awaits.

Find your signature piece