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A gold ring, (and other jewelry, gold jewelry) are typically produced by mixing gold with other metals. The color of the gold and its strength depend on the composition and quantities of the other metals. The metals which are generally added to pure gold are silver, copper, nickel, palladium and sometimes aluminum, iron, zinc and manganese. Popular gold colors: yellow, white and red.

Additional colors are purple, pink, black, blue and purple which are obtained by creating a special oxide layer on the surface. These gold colors are not popular among jewelry manufacturers because of the difficulty in processing and the high cost. More information on the subject can be found on the World Gold Association website.


Karat (gold)

A measurement that describes the purity of gold in gold jewelry. The measurement is based on a division into 24 parts, where 24 karats are equal to pure gold. This means that a14-karat gold alloy is 14 parts gold, that is 58.3 % of the material is gold and the rest other metals which are responsible for the mechanical properties and the color of the gold in the jewel.


Acceptable gold concentrations

Gold in its purest form, 24-karat gold, is a very soft metal, not suitable for jewelry making, on its own. When gold is reinforced with other substances which provide strength and thickness, then gold can be used in making jewelry. In order to provide gold with the necessary strength for jewelry making it is acceptable to work with alloys where other metals have been added to gold. In Israel the alloy with the lowest concentration of gold sold is 9K gold (37.5%), 10K gold (41.7%) is the lowest concentration being sold in the US. Other acceptable concentrations of gold used in Israel and abroad are: 14K (53.7%), 18K (75%), 22K (91.7%) and 24K gold – pure gold (99.9% to be exact). The higher the karat, the softer and yellower that the alloy is. (Israel favors using either 14K or 18K for the making of rings).


Yellow Gold

Gold's natural color is bright yellow. Gold, silver and copper are used in making gold that is lower than 24K. Different correlations between silver and copper are acceptable around the world, and these determine yellow gold becoming red or slightly greenish. For example, one of the standards accepted in Europe for 8K gold is the combination of  75 % gold with equal ratios of silver and copper, each 12.5%.


Red Gold

Red gold has a higher copper content, as copper provides the color red. The greater proportion of copper, the more that the alloy is inclined to being red.


White Gold

The addition of bright white metals such as nickel or hard palladium, provide gold with a white color. If you decide to purchase and wear a white gold ring, for example, then we recommend that you check to see that you are not allergic to nickel. However, most manufacturers today will use palladium, as it is generally not allergenic. 


In the event of an allergy or sensitivity, ask your family doctor to refer you for allergy testing. If you want to check for allergy to gold, specifically ask for it, as most tests check for sensitivity to silver and nickel. These tests are painless and are performed by stickers affixed to the back of the patient for about 3 days (no shower).


You can request your jeweler to create a custom piece of jewelry for you, in the case that you are allergic to a certain metal.


Gold coating

Gold coating is a basic metal is coated with a thin gold layer, typically of tens of microns (one micron equals one thousandth of a millimeter). When buying a gold ring made of gold-plated metal, you must take into account that the gold can scratch or peel off over time.



Gold-filled, as its name suggests, is gold that is filled; that is a metal which externally is gold while internally it is a base metal such as brass. Gold filled is an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal. Unlike in gold plating, in gold-filled jewelry gold is a significant part of the metal, usually 5 %. The gold layer is a relatively thick layer and does not peel or scrape off. Proper care of gold-filled jewelry behaves like gold in every respect. We use 14K gold-filled, that is, the outer layer of gold is 14K-gold and substantially occupies 5% of the metal.


Sterling Silver

Sterling silver or 925 silver is the standard used in the jewelry industry. Because pure silver is too soft for ordinary jewelry use, small amounts of copper are added and this provides the necessary strength.  Sterling silver contains 92.5 % silver and 7.5 % copper.


Silver 999

Pure silver or rather 99.9% silver.Pure silver soft and it is used in jewelry making in jewelry inlay films and silver wire-type jewelry.


Jewelry markings

By law, jewelry should be marked in order to inform buyers of the purity of the metals that are used. Gold jewelry that weighs less than two grams is not required to be marked. The mark will usually be on the back of the piece of jewelry or next to the clasp. Often the imprint is extremely small and a magnifying glass is needed in order to see it. When a number of different metals is used in creating a piece of jewelry, the determining mark will be that of the metal with the lowest level of purity.


For example, if a ring contains gold and sterling silver the embedded mark will be 529, appropriate for sterling silver.  If a gold ring contains 14K gold and 24K karat gold then the mark will be that of 585 or 14K, appropriate to the lower purity of the gold.  


In describing a gold ring or a piece of jewelry in general, it is possible of course to include all the metals used in the item.


24 karat gold - 24K or 999

22 karat gold – 22K or 917

21 karat gold – 21K or 875

18 karat gold – 18K or 750

14 Karat gold – K14 or 585

9 karat – K9 or 375

Goldfilled 14 karat – K20/14 or 14K

Silver 529, Sterling Silver 925

Silver 999, Pure Silver 999


Carat (gemstones)

While karats reflect the degree of purity in gold, in gemstones the term “carat” refers to the weight measurement of the stone. One carat equals 1/5 of a gram (0.2gm or 200mg). Stones are measured to the nearest hundredth of a carat. A hundreth of a carat is also called a point. Thus a .10 carat stone can be called either 10 points, or 1/10 of a carat. Small stones like .05 and .10 are most often referred to by point designations.

In conclusion, when buying a gold ring and or jewelry in general, it is advised to check which materials have been used in making the jewelry.

Further details can be checked at the Standards Institution of Israel.