Who doesn’t love jewelry? Gold and silver accessories can don’t just add instant chic and style to your outfit. High quality pieces may also increase in value, and (if you have a sudden cash flow problem) can be sold for a pretty good price.
However, high quality gold and silver jewelry don’t come cheap. Here are tips on selecting the best pieces for your money.
Tips for buying gold jewelry
Gold is too soft to be used in its pure form, so it is usually mixed with other metals when it is made into jewelry. Karat measures the gold content. A 14 karat piece (14kt) is 58.3% gold. An 18 karat piece (18kt) is 75% gold. You will see the karat stamped into larger pieces. Stores may also give a store guarantee, which is usually written on the receipt. Keep that receipt for future reference, like when you resell it or have it insured.
You may also notice that there are different ‘colors’ of gold. Yellow gold is the most popular color, and is the natural color and form of the metal. Since yellow gold is softer than other varieties, it can be shaped into very delicate filigree patterns. Note, however, that different karats have different hues of yellow. A 14 karat piece is typically a very bright, yellow color. An 18 karat piece has a softer and warmer hue. You may also come across a 24 karat piece, which is orangey.
Gold is mixed with other metals to form white gold and rose or pink gold. White gold is a combination of gold and silver and then plated with a shiny metal called rhodium. Rose or pink gold is a combination of gold and copper.
Tips for buying silver jewelry
Silver is more affordable than gold, and costs almost 50% less per ounce. However the mark of a high quality silver piece is its craftsmanship. Some pieces are done by machine, and others by hand. Understandably, those made by hand are very expensive, especially if they are one-of-a-kind pieces by a well respected artist.
Silver is also mixed with other metals, but ideally you should get a piece that is 92.5% silver or sterling silver. Like gold, many pieces will bear the stamp indicating the silver content and even the trademark of the manufacturer.
Taking care of jewelry
Once you buy high quality gold or silver, you want to keep your investment in the best possible shape. Read our article on how to take care of jewelry.
Photo from jewelsfile.com