18k Gold Education
Gold does not tarnish or corrode, and is the most malleable and artisan-friendly of all metals. Pure gold has a purity rating of 24 karats, and the stronger gold alloys made for jewelry out of necessity are measured against this standard. A piece of jewelry is classified as 18k gold when the amount of gold in the alloy equals 18 parts to 6 parts other metals, or 75% gold to 25% other. In the United States, 18kt gold jewelry contains the highest percentage of gold generally seen on the market and the highest sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission; jewelry graded above 18kt gold is rare and much more fragile, though in Asia and the Mediterranean region 20 and 22kt pieces are made and sold. 18k gold is made in the three most popular colors—yellow, white, and rose—but may be lighter or display other slight differences in color compared to the 14k versions, due to a lower concentration of alloy metals that give all gold jewelry its color.
Because 18kt gold is softer than jewelry of fewer parts gold, care should be taken to preserve its appearance and structure. If you remove your 18k gold rings, be sure to store them in their own boxes lined with satin or velvet. Jewelry boxes and pouches are not a good idea because if your 18kt gold jewelry comes into contact with other pieces made from harder materials, especially diamonds, the gold can be scuffed or worn off. 18k gold should be removed before entering swimming pools, as chlorine is very corrosive and can chemically erode the soft metal, or before using household cleaners designed to remove stains, rust, lime, etc. Never boil gold to clean it as recommended on other sites. This is a myth and can destroy your jewelry. Do not use brushes and scouring pads or powder cleansers on 18k gold, because they are too harsh and will scratch it. Dishwashing liquid is fine, and is in fact a safe choice to gently wash your 18k gold to remove dirt and oil buildup. For a like-new look, you can also take your ring to a jeweler every 12 to 18 months for steam cleaning or ultrasonic cleaning, two safe and popular methods for cleaning 18kt gold. With the right care, your 18k gold wedding band can last a lifetime!