A gold chain has remained a signature piece of jewelry throughout the centuries. Historians tell us that gold neck chains were worn as far back as 700 BC.
Neck chains are currently the most popular way people wear the precious metal. Women tend to favor snake, box, link, rope, mesh, San Marco, omega, stampato and bead chains, while men generally opt for link, rope, Cuban, Mariner and Figaro chains.
There are many other popular types of gold jewelry, including rings, charms, pendants, pins, earrings, bracelets and watches. Each year, more than 19 tons of the precious metal is turned into wedding rings.
Italy is the largest manufacturer of gold jewelry in the world and uses over 400 tons of the precious metal each year to make their renowned pieces. The industry in the country is over 3000 years old and jewelry from the region is loved around the world because of its high quality and innovative designs.
In the gem industry, karatage refers to the weight of a gem. In the precious metal world, however, karatage is a measure of purity and refers to the percentage of pure gold in an item. 10 karat gold is 10 parts from 24, or 41.7%, pure gold.
24k gold jewelry is completely pure and contains no added alloys. It is manufactured in India, Asia and Turkey, but it is incredibly soft, which means it often bends out of shape, and it is known for its brassy color. 24k gold bullion bars make a great investment, but when it comes to the men’s jewelry market, few customers opt for 24k pieces since they are expensive and easily misshapen.
14 karat gold men’s jewelry is very popular in the USA, probably because it offers the best compromise between purity and durability, while 18 karat pieces are the most popular in Europe.
10 karat gold jewelry is popular choice for men because of its affordability and durability. Those who opt for 10 karat pieces can often spend more on bigger gems or longer chains. Even though 10k jewelry only contains 41.7% pure gold to the naked eye it is hard to see a difference between a 18k piece and a 10k piece.
Alloys are added to gold to strengthen the construction of jewelry. They can also be added to alter the color of jewelry items. The alloys added to make yellow gold (the most popular type) are copper and silver. To make white gold, nickel, sliver, palladium, platinum and nickel are added. Rose gold requires the addition of copper, while green gold calls for zinc, copper and silver alloys. Rose gold has been increasing in popularity over the course of the past decade.
Gold isn’t just for gold jewelry. The medical, dental, aerospace and electronics industries all make use of the precious metal. In addition, it is made into coins and bullion bars allowing it to be used as legal currency in almost any part of the world.