What is Gold?

The story of gold is as rich and complex as the metal itself. Wars have been fought for it and love has been declared with it. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs portray gold as the brilliance of the sun; modern astronomers use mirrors coated with gold to capture images of the heavens. By 325 BC the Greeks had mined for gold from Gibraltar to Asia Minor. In 1848 AD James Marshall found flakes of gold while building a sawmill near Sacramento and so triggered the gold rush in California. Gold is rare. Today there are 165,000 metric tonnes of stocks in existence above ground. If every single ounce of this gold were placed next to each other, the resulting cube of pure gold would only measure 20 metres in any direction.

Gold collage

24K gold is pure gold in its refined state. It is soft, flexible, and even delicate. 22K and 21K gold is made of 91% and 87% pure gold respectively. These karatages are particularly prevalent in India and the Middle East. 18K gold has become an international standard for jewelry, containing 75% pure gold. Combining purity with performance, 18K gold has, for example, been adopted as the karatage of choice for the world’s leading watch brands. In addition, this is the karatage at which gold can magically begin to change color as other metals are added to the alloy (such as the increasingly popular rose gold hues).

It is possible to make gold jewelry below 18K. In the United States, 14K is sold widespread, but it is extremely rare for TIVOL to sell jewelry made of anything less than 18K gold. One of the great qualities of gold is its malleability. This, combined with its physical beauty and resistance to corrosion, makes gold the ultimate creative medium. Pure gold can be considered too soft and delicate for use in jewelry, so it is often combined with other metals for greater strength.