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The Importance of Carat in Gold Engagement Rings

Feb. 20 2014
Carat can be extremely important when choosing gold engagement rings. Find out why in this article.

I rarely travel on the bus but when I do I quite enjoy it. It always makes for interesting people watching and yesterday was no exception. In fact I did one better and actually struck up a conversation with a lovely lady, who was probably my mother’s age but who obviously took a shine to me.

I was telling her all about L and how we met and about our mission for the perfect ring, which could possibly be a gold engagement ring, when she asked me if I had considered the carat of the gold I would choose.

Choosing this type of ring entails more than it might, at first, appear apparently. Unlike with other metals, it is not enough to just choose your metal, walk into the shop and get your ring designed. You, as the prospective buyer must also bear in mind factors such asnot only colour but carat too.

Riviere-de-l'Eridan by Ornella Iannuzzi

Riviere-de-l’Eridan by Ornella Iannuzzi

Unravelling The Carat Mystery

Carat, in particular, is very often overlooked when couples set about choosing gold engagement rings for one another, and justifiably so, as the average engagement ring buyer may not be aware of the impact the carat of the gold chosen will have on the final product they purchase.

However, in recent years more and more specialists and industry professionals have made it a point to raise awareness of this issue as a way to help young couples shop smartly and avoid disappointment. Although I was aware of carat I was not completely sure why the carat of the gold in jewellery pieces is so important. I let my new travelling companion explain.

Quite simply it is due to the fact that it affects the hardness or softness of the piece of jewellery in question.

Pure gold, as it is mined from the earth, is extremely soft, and not at all suitable for the making of jewellery.

As such, it is almost always mixed with a secondary metal in order to improve its hardness and is then called an alloy. White and pink gold, for example, are both alloys.

The problem is that the greater the amount of these secondary metals in the gold alloy the less its carat and the less it is potentially worth. Understandably, couples shopping for gold engagement rings will want a piece that is at once attractive and valuable and may opt to purchase the more expensive higher-carat ring to reflect this.

Industry professionals, however, advise that the ideal carat for gold jewellery is between 14 and 18. 18 carat pieces will probably suit couples looking for a balance of quality and price as they look expensive and are also relatively sturdy.

However, most jewellery is more likely made of 14-carat gold, which is the most common and an ideal weight for gold engagement rings.

Lovers worrying about their 14k rings looking ‘cheap’ shouldn’t, as gold of this carat is still almost 60% pure.

It is funny whom you meet by chance when you are out and about. I revel in these chance meetings and am always surprised what I learn. I was very grateful that my opportunistic meeting yesterday gave me the prompt to look into the importance of carat a little more. It evidently plays a large part in the appearance and durability of gold engagement rings more than I first thought.


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