It is impossible to know when the first humans started mining gold. Perhaps a fleck of alluvial gold picked up from a river bed; or an alluring seam of glimmering in an exposed rock face. Our first interaction with gold is lost in the shroud of time. Much coveted for its colour and warm glow, the Aztecs called gold the sweat of the Sun and it was revered for its shine and rarity. Describe it any way you want, but the simplicity of gold is that allure of shine and rarity. As an artist I work to fuse this allure of gold with your vision to instill a lingering sense of delight for that bespoke piece.
There’s a moment in the working of gold that the end piece speaks to me. It is when the gold is at its melting point and most malleable, it gives off a heat and a glow, mesmerizingly hot with potential. It is in that glow of heat that infinite possibility exists in the substance. My clients speak to me about what they want, the gold whispers to me how to do it.
18ct Yellow Gold
75% Pure Gold
14ct Yellow Gold
58% Pure Gold
9ct Yellow Gold
37.5% Pure Gold
In understanding Gold Caratage (the purity scale for Gold), one has to begin by explaining that Pure Gold is 24ct. Pure Gold is however too soft to use in jewellery, therefore Alloys (or other metals) are added to the pure gold to make it a bit harder so it will hold shape and gemstones well. At Carla Maxine Jewellery we prefer working in 18ct Gold for bespoke commissions, as it contains the largest amount of pure gold – thus retaining the non-reactive properties of pure gold. This means that it does not tarnish through exposure to oxygen or chemicals, or even the wearer’s skin. Another reason we enjoy working with 18ct Yellow Gold, is because of the beautiful soft and rich yellow colour. Lower caratage of Yellow Gold (such as 14ct and 9ct) becomes a bit whiter and paler in colour.
Crystalline Gold on Quartz from Jamestown, California.
Gold Nugget from the Goldfields of Leonora, Western Australia.
18ct Gold is also the most durable of all the commercially used caratages, ensuring your piece will last a lifetime, and if care is taken, you will be able to hand it down to the next generation as heirloom jewellery. The term for the purity scale of Gold, ‘carat’, should not be confused with the measurement term for mass in gemstones, which is also ‘carat’. Adding different Alloys to Pure Gold can also change the colour. One could add Palladium or Silver to 24ct Yellow Gold to create White Gold. The amount of those two alloys that are added will again determine the caratage of White Gold. Read all about White Gold here. Adding Copper to 24ct Pure Gold will result in the warm pink glow of Rose Gold. Have a look at our Rose Gold page here.