Best Gold Jewelry
Jewelry has been around far longer than most people realize. In fact, it is one of the oldest archaeological artifacts ever found, including an item that was over 100,000 years old. When it comes specifically to gold jewelry, the oldest specimens are from Bulgaria and date back to around 4,200BC. For many ancient civilizations, gold was a clear sign of wealth and affluence, as it remains today, but it was also especially popular for its workability.
Notably, the ancient Egyptians were also among the first civilizations to prefer “luxury metals”, most of all gold. It was again mainly worn by the highest members of society to showcase their wealth. It was especially abundant among pharaohs. Their gold jewelry was often decorated with animals and the all-seeing eye. To illustrate how much Egyptian pharaohs loved gold, around 9 tons of it was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
In ancient Greece, gold jewelry symbolized social hierarchy and was worn by the upper class. It was notable elaborate and highly ornamental, and it was believed that these pieces protect against evil.
What sets the Greeks apart from other civilizations who favored gold is that they preferred not to combine them with gemstones; instead, they preferred delicate and intricate designs. Floral patterns and images of animals and Greek gods were most popular during this time.
The Mughal Empire, in contrast, was known to combine gold jewelry with gemstones. Gold was associated with hope and royalty, and even today, gold is a common wedding gift to brides in order to ensure financial security. Gold from this region was often the purest in ancient times. Pieces were almost always 24 karat gold.
While gold was exceedingly popular, silver was far more commonplace. While today gold is an investment opportunity in China, in ancient times, it was worn by any gender and in all classes as a sign of protection, more so than wealth.
Fine Jewelry vs. Fashion Jewelry
We often hear the term fine jewelry, but few understand the difference between fine jewelry and fashion jewelry. Fine jewelry is made of precious metals and sports precious and semi-precious gemstones. It is better suited to everyday wear because the materials it is made from are durable.
Fashion jewelry, on the other hand, refers to jewelry that is made of base metals and is adorned with fake gems that are made of crystal or glass or sometimes even plastic. Fashion jewelry is not durable enough to wear every day.
Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings
Some couples prefer colder metals or more modern metals like rose gold, whereas others just prefer a colder setting. Platinum is also a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands because it is even more durable than gold. If the intention was to wear an engagement ring and a wedding ring every day, then you are often drawn to the more durable options because these are pieces that should last for years.
Different Jewelry Metals
We have touched here and there on the concept of these different kinds of metal. Metals that can be called “precious” only include silver, sterling silver, platinum, and different shades of gold. They are called “precious” for their rarity and value. Only certain metals are suitable to wear everyday.
What Does Solid Gold Mean?
Solid gold is a term that we hear often, but few of us really understand what that means. The most basic explanation is that it is something that is entirely made up of gold. It can be anything from 10k to 24k, but it should be entirely made of gold.
Sterling Silver and Platinum
Platinum and silver are the only two metals on the list that are not a variation of gold. Platinum is a metal in its own right and is both the most expensive but also most durable of jewelry metals. Silver might be precious, but it is extremely soft and not suitable for jewelry that will be worn every day. Sterling silver, which is an alloy of silver, is much more durable and therefore used far more often in fine jewelry.
Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, and White Gold
Yellow gold is the most common form of gold and is naturally occurring. Some gold has a higher karat count than others, and this impacts how soft the gold is. Purer forms of gold at 24 karats are softer and “yellower” than 10 karat gold would be.
Rose gold is a relatively new invention that comes from the Russian jeweler who designed the Fabreget eggs for Russian royalty. It is an alloy that consists mainly of yellow gold, copper, and small amounts of silver.
White gold is also an alloy that is made from mostly yellow gold, some nickel, and small amounts of zinc. With both rose gold and white gold alloys, 18 karat gold amounts to 75% gold.
What is Gold Vermeil?
Due to the price of gold, many people cannot afford solid gold jewelry, so there has been a history of gold plating. Gold plated jewelry is made from a metal like copper or brass that is electroplated with a thin layer of pure gold, most often yellow gold.
Another form of plating is called gold vermeil, which is also called silver gilt. This involves sterling or pure silver that is electroplated with a layer of, usually but not always, yellow gold. In certain countries, vermeil has to meet some specific standards, usually related to the thickness of the plating and the karat count of the gold.
Types of Gold Jewelry
The types of gold jewelry available in the world are actually endless. You can find anything from delicate jewelry filigree items to durable chunky statement-making gold jewelry pieces.
Gold necklaces have always been a staple in the jewelry industry, and every single jewelry brand will have gold necklaces in its repertoire. Due to the delicate design of some gold necklaces, they can be more affordable fine jewelry options than chunkier versions, but the price will always depend on how much gold is used to make the item. Some people would prefer a delicate gold pendant, while others want to go bold with a dazzling gold choker.
The Popularity of Chain Necklaces
Perhaps the most popular and widely worn form of gold necklace, and the one that is stocked by all jewelry brands, is the chain necklace. A gold chain necklace can be anything from delicate, understated feminine pieces with minimalist designs to chunky bold statement pieces. They are even popular among men.
Bracelets are common among women. The image of stacked and overlapping yellow gold bracelets is almost a staple image in our minds, as is the case with a delicate chain necklace.
By far, the most popular option for most people to buy affordable fine jewelry is via the stud earring. The karat count and size of the stud will ultimately define its cost, but every jewelry brand will have a form of gold studs in their catalogs. They are extremely popular among a wide variety of people who have their ears pierced.
Other popular earrings, especially in yellow gold, is hoop earrings, and while gold hoops have been exceedingly popular in the past, more recently, white gold chandelier earrings have become a popular option as well. Hoop earrings today are less popular than they were in the 80s and 90s, but ultimately gold earrings will never really go out of fashion.
Pairing with Gemstones
When it comes to timeless pieces of jewelry, a pairing with gems is exceedingly popular. Some stones carry an affordable price tag, but others can be bold statement pieces that carry enormous price tags.
Jewelry that you can wear every day is made of enduring materials, often different shades of gold, which can be paired with any kind of gemstone that you can imagine. From stones that are more affordable like cubic zirconia to the more expensive but nonetheless timeless pieces adorned with diamonds.
Whether you are looking for lab-grown diamonds at an affordable price point or something for special occasions, there is something for everyone. In today’s society, you can buy engagement rings online, your wedding band can have delicate inscriptions or even a small diamond within the inner piece of the band, and you can just about any kind of gold jewelry imaginable.
There is not a single jewelry brand on the market that does not combine gold and diamond jewelry in one way or another. Diamond necklaces are understated. Ethically sourced diamonds are all the rage. People are unsure about lab-grown diamonds, but they know that they want conflict-free diamonds.
Young women are in love with rose gold settings for their favorite necklace, their rings, their everyday pair of earrings, a timeless bracelet, and anything else you can imagine. Others prefer the colder white gold, especially for a classic pair of chandelier-style earrings.
While pearls are less popular today than they were some years ago, they are still considered classic and elegant additions to most jewelry brand catalogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will add the perfect touch to my wedding jewelry?
Your wedding jewelry will largely depend on the style of your wedding dress and your hair on the day. For example, elaborate chandelier earrings, however beautiful, will get tangled in your hair if your hair is hanging down, and that will be uncomfortable. A necklace can add to the beauty of your attire, but if you are wearing a halter neck dress, then a necklace will not work with the attire.
A bracelet or two is an option, but it is a less popular option for weddings. Regardless, if you want to enhance your look, a lovely diamond bracelet can’t do any harm. For example, a diamond tennis bracelet can create an understated classic beauty.
What is the best place to shop for gold jewelry?
These days you can very easily shop for jewelry online. Reputable jewelry brands like James Allen and Blue Nile offer both classic and contemporary pieces that are accessible through a short search. Anything from earrings to a necklace of diamonds or pearls, the last line of a famous brand, etc., are all readily available online.
What can I do if I want to create my own jewelry piece?
You can search for a site online where you can create your own beautiful pieces. A store like this usually does not stock specific brands but often has quality materials. However, it is important to ensure that the diamonds are real and certified. Also, make sure that you get the ring size correct. Resizing a ring purchased this way can be costly and difficult. Jewelers tend not to work on pieces they did not make, and some of these online sites might not have return policies.
Is a famous brand more expensive than local brands?
Most likely, yes. A famous brand often carries more notoriety which comes at a cost. If you think of brands like De Beers or Tiffany, it is not difficult to imagine that although these brands sell products of high quality, they are more expensive than your local brand will be.
Remember that there are many factors that determine the cost of jewelry, but the brand will undoubtedly be one of these when you consider some of the more famous brands.
We all have this image of classic elegance and beauty when we think about Tiffany’s. Even the shop front conquers up nostalgic feelings about movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, etc. The most iconic betrothal ring is also made by Tiffany. But that being said, it does not mean that the quality of their jewelry is better than that of a local, smaller shop.
Do fine jewelry pieces make appropriate gifts?
In your search for gifts, especially for a significant other, you might end up looking for a quality jewelry piece. Jewelry pieces do indeed make great gifts, and things like a birthstone ring can be a great option.
Remember to try not to shop by brand and not to rely only on an online search. You could benefit from a visual search at a physical shop. Meeting with jewelers on-site and speaking face to face with them about a brand, a design, etc., can be a great experience.
If you’re unsure where to start, do a quick internet search to get an address for a local shop that sells quality gold jewelry.
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