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What is Pure Gold?

Pure gold refers to a metal that is 99.9% gold, with no other alloys. It can also be referred to as 24kt gold or 999 gold. We guide you through what pure gold is and what it looks like, how it compares to vermeil, and what it can be used for.

What Karat is Pure Gold?

The highest possible karat of gold is 24kt. 24 karat gold means that no other metal is mixed in with the gold, and this is what pure gold is. Pure gold is soft compared to other metals, and so lower karats tend to be more durable than 24kt. Due to this, gold jewellery tends to not be made from pure gold alone as it's prone to wear.

Pure Gold vs Gold Vermeil

Pure gold could be used to create gold vermeil, however the most common karats used are 10kt, 14kt, or 18kt. For long-lasting jewellery that you can wear everyday, it's beneficial to opt for a metal that is not 100% gold as pure gold can become damaged with daily wear due to its softness.

Gold vermeil is a technique used to create modern jewellery. It is when a thick layer of gold, such as 18kt gold, is applied to sterling silver. It's applied through the gold plating technique, but requires a thicker layer that must be above 2.5 microns.

The Difference Between Pure Gold & Solid Gold

Whilst by name pure gold and solid gold sound interchangeable, in actual fact they are two different things. Solid gold refers to jewellery that is made entirely of a gold alloy, without any plating or vermeil used. Whilst pure gold relates to the karat of the metal. Here are the key differences between the two:

  • Uses - Solid gold jewellery is the most common way to see this type of gold used. Due to its alloy content it is strong enough for everyday wear, whereas pure gold is not advised to be worn due to its softness.
  • Karat - The key difference between pure and solid gold is the karat. Whilst pure gold must always be 24 karats, solid gold can be an alloy and can be any karat from 10k upwards.
  • Durability - As solid gold is an alloy it is often much more durable than non-alloyed versions of the metal. You'll find gold which is pure to be far softer, and more prone to scratches and tarnishing.

Pure Gold vs Gold Plated

Gold plated, as with gold vermeil, is a technique used to create jewellery. In gold plating, a thin layer of gold is applied via chemical or electrochemical plating to a base metal such as copper. The gold layered onto the other metal can be any karat, but is often 14k. The gold is thinner than you would get with gold vermeil too.

Due to the thin layer, plating is more prone to scratches than vermeil, which is why you're unlikely to find pure gold used in the fine layer.

How Different Karats of Gold are Made

Whilst pure gold does not tend to be used on its own for jewellery, it is still an essential part of creating our favourite accessories. To create any other type of gold karat, pure gold is mixed with a metal such as silver or copper. The karat denotes the amount of secondary metal added to the 999 gold, for example 18kt can be made from 18 parts gold and 6 parts silver.

The Tone of Pure Gold

Pure gold comes in the rich yellow tone that is well associated with the popular metal, you'll also note the deep shine it emits. The colour of gold changes depending on what alloys it is mixed with. Rose gold incorporates copper, to achieve that lustrous pink appearance. Whilst white gold adds 25% nickel and zinc, to create the pale colour that emulates platinum.

The Rarity of Pure Gold

Gold that is 100% pure is rare to find, so more often than not this type of gold is actually 99.9% pure - hence 999 gold. Gold only makes up 0.0000004% of the Earth's crust - making it relatively scarce, especially among other metals used for jewellery such as silver.

When it comes to pure gold jewellery, you are unlikely to find any pieces made from this rather than an alloy version.

Monica Vinader's Recycled Gold Jewellery

We create our 18kt gold jewellery using gold vermeil. The high percentage of pure gold (75%) combined with stronger metal alloys means our jewellery is durable and perfect for everyday wear. We are conscious of our impact on the environment and so our pieces are made of recycled gold and recycled silver. If you have accessories yourself, whether they're Monica Vinader or not, you can use our jewellery recycling programme to give the metal a new lease of life.

Our gold jewellery collection has a design to suit everyone. From contemporary rings for stacking, to gold necklaces that will become your daily staple, and delicate bracelets boasting rich yellow tones. You'll also discover gold earrings crafted from vermeil, and solid gold.

Monica Vinader's Sustainable Jewellery

We create contemporary jewellery from sustainable materials and ethical diamonds. With our helix earrings, pearl jewellery, and chunky necklaces you'll adore styling them to your aesthetic.

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