This is a question we are asked a lot at lilymccallin, so we thought it might be helpful to write a blog post to help you with your buying decisions.
IT IS ALL ABOUT GOLD CONTENT
Gold jewellery is not usually made from pure gold.
Pure gold, as it is mined from the earth is quite soft. You can buy pure gold jewellery, but because it’s softness, it is not always suitable for everyday wear.
To make gold more suitable for everyday wear it is mixed with other harder metals. Commonly it is mixed with a high percentage of silver and copper and a low percentage of other metals.
The content of gold in each piece of jewellery is measured in parts or carats (or karats).
Gold in it’s purest form, is made up of 24 parts. ’24 carat gold’.
9ct gold is 9 parts pure gold or 37.5%
18ct gold is 18 parts pure gold or 75%
HOW SHOULD THIS AFFECT YOUR BUYING DECISIONS?
We recommend 18ct gold for engagement rings, wedding rings and any other jewellery that you plan to wear next to your skin on a daily basis.
This is because the higher gold content means that your jewellery…
a) is less likely to react with lotions and potions and cause irritation.
b) will not tarnish or corrode.
c) is more durable and less likely to be scratched or marked.
d) is more valuable.
A common misconception in the world of jewellery is that 9ct gold is more hard wearing than 18ct because it contains a higher percentage of other hard metals.
The truth is that in fact 9ct gold is more hard than 18ct but less durable.
A good way to explain the difference between hardness and durability is to compare glass and plastic. Glass is clearly harder, but it is also much more brittle. Plastic is clearly softer, but it is also more durable because it is less brittle.
SO WHEN SHOULD I INVEST IN A 9CT PIECE OF JEWELLERY?
For items that you would wear less often you are safe to opt for 9ct. Necklaces and earrings for example that you plan to wear for special occasions rather than on a daily basis.
When you buy an item of solid gold jewellery from lilymccallin or anywhere else in the UK that weighs 1 gram or more, it is a legal requirement that it is hallmarked. The most popular hallmarks in the UK are: 375 (9ct) and 750 (18ct). This number relates to the gold content percentage as outlined above.
If you ever have any questions relating to this blog post or anything else, never hesitate to drop us a line.