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Gold Education

Luckey's Jewelers Gold Education

Gold is a naturally occurring, yellow-colored element that is resistant to tarnishing, rusting, and corroding. When in its pure, 24 karat state, gold is far too soft for jewelry applications. To make gold strong enough for everyday wear, alloys are added to strengthen the metal.  That's why gold is generally sold as 10, 14, and 18 karat.

Karat Measure

Gold Purity

24 karat

100% gold

18 karat

75% gold, 25% alloys

14 karat

58% gold, 42% alloys

10 karat

42% gold, 58% alloys

Colored Gold:
Colored gold such as white and rose gold all begin as yellow gold. The beautiful white and rose colors come from the specific alloys that are added to the pure gold for strength. The following chart shows the most commonly used alloys for each color gold.

Gold Color

Alloys Used


Copper, Silver


Nickel, Zinc, Copper


Copper, Silver


Special Care Tip: 

As mentioned earlier in our Luckey's gold education article, gold is too soft to be worn in its natural 24K state and has to be mixed with alloys to strengthen it for daily wear. These alloys, unfortunately, can become contaminated and cause stress corrosion cracking (SCC).  Chemicals that can cause SCC are iodine, chlorine, fluorine and bromine. When a piece of gold jewelry has been exposed to one or more of these corrosive elements, it can lead to cracking. We typically see this cracking on prongs and at the bottom of ring shanks, but it is not limited only to these areas.

Our recommendation - remove your gold jewelry when swimming in chlorinated swimming pools (even saltwater pools produce chlorine), when using non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and when using harsh cleaning chemicals. These are the three areas where every day worn jewelry are normally exposed to corrosive environments in daily life. 

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