You think you know it all about the fashionable jewellery in your jewellery box? Think again!
- The History of the Albert chain:
This is a chain with a T-bar fitting. It is commonly used as a clasp in strong chains and other specialty jewellery. These were originally attached to a pocket (or fob) watch. Frequently, they would feature a decorative medallion or other ornament attached to one end. With the decrease in waistcoat wearing, ladies recycled their husband’s or father’s chains and wore them as fashionable necklets. Although less fashionable now Albert chains will still be sitting around in most people’s jewellery boxes!
2. When you buy gold jewellery, it isn’t pure gold:
The purity or fineness of gold in the jewellery is indicated by its carat number. 24-carat (24ct or 24 K) gold is as pure as gold for jewellery gets. 24ct gold is also called fine gold and it is greater than 99.7% pure gold. Proof gold is even finer, with over 99.95% purity, but it is only used for standardization purposes and is not available for jewellery as it becomes to soft to work with and wear.
When alloyed with another metal to make it harder, more durable and less costly, the amount of gold (as in parts per 24) in the alloy must be stated if it is over 9ct, which is the minimum legal standard. Anything less cannot be called gold. Throughout the world, the minimum carat standard varies. In the US 10ct (10k) is the minimum,Italy and France, 18K is the minimum; in Canada and England the minimum is only 9ct and in Mexico, it’s only 8K. Gold articles produced in the U.S. do not have to carry a karat or other quality mark.
3. It’s not measured in grams or ounces:
The weight of gold and other precious metals is measured in Troy Weight, rather than the standard metric system or American pounds and ounces.
4. What Intaglio has to do with your jewellery box:
Intaglio is Italian for carving. An Intaglio is a carved gem from which the design is engraved or carved into the object so that it sits below the surface plane of the material. This is the opposite of a cameo which is carved in relief. Intaglio is used for signet rings and seals, to make a raised impression in the hot wax.
5. The irony of fool’s gold:
Pinchbeck, also known as “false gold,” this is an alloy of copper that looks like gold. Pinchbeck was invented by British watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck (1672-1732) in the early 18th century. It consists of 83% copper and 17% zinc. Ironically, there have been many imitations of Pinchbeck (which itself is an imitation). Oh the irony!
6. How the carat system works:
Chances are the ring on your finger is marked 18ct, or 9ct, with the ct standing for carat, the system used to describe the percentage of pure gold an item contains. The higher the carat number, the higher the percentage of gold in your gold jewellery.
• 24ct gold is pure gold.
• 18ct gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it
• 14ct or 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of one or more additional metals, making it
58.3% gold. (This is more common in the US)
• 10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of one or more additional metals, making it
• 9ct or 9K contains 9 parts gold and 15 parts of one or more additional metals, making it