All About Gold
Our gold jewellery is made with minimum 10 carat gold, for the perfect balance of durability, affordability, and the timeless beauty of gold.
Gold is one of the most precious and rare metals on Earth. This lustrous metal is the preferred choice for fine jewellery, due to its blend of beauty and durability.
Gold is a natural element that is found in quartz veins (in rock) and alluvial deposits (transported by water and deposited in river beds). When gold is extracted, it needs to be refined to remove impurities such as traces of other metals. The end result is pure gold – which is 24 carat gold.
What are gold alloys?
Gold jewellery is most often made using an alloy, which means the gold is mixed with other metals.
Gold in its purest form (24ct) is generally too malleable for use in everyday jewellery. Gold is therefore alloyed with other naturally occurring metals, to ensure the right mix of durability, malleability, and the natural beauty of gold. The metals most commonly used are silver, zinc, copper and palladium.
The carat of your gold jewellery refers to the amount of pure gold in the metal. Beginning with 9ct, the percentage of pure gold increases up to 24ct which is the highest purity.
A piece of gold jewellery with a higher carat will have a rich yellow colour, compared to the softer hue of other pieces. Gold can also be alloyed with certain metals to create a different colour. For instance, a mix of gold and copper creates rose gold, while white gold is created by mixing it with palladium. White gold is also usually plated with rhodium to enhance its colour.
What does Our Gold Standard mean?
At Michael Hill we are dedicated to using the highest quality gold, for a shine that lasts. At minimum, we use 10 carat blends in our jewellery for the perfect balance between durability, affordability, and the timeless beauty of gold. We also offer many beautiful pieces in 14ct and 18ct gold.
Our gold pieces are made to love and made to last. Our products are never ‘gold-filled’ or ‘gold-plated’. They are made with real, precious gold alloys, which includes our white gold and rose gold jewellery. This means they won’t degrade, and they will keep their lustrous shine for longer.
What is the difference between gold alloys, gold plating, and gold filling?
Jewellery that is referred to as ‘gold’ is an alloy. The only exception is 24ct gold – which in general is not used for everyday jewellery. A gold alloy creates a piece of real, precious gold jewellery. Gold is blended with other metals in the manufacturing process, before it is made into jewellery – therefore, the gold content will never separate or fade. At Michael Hill, we only offer real gold jewellery – never gold-plated or gold-filled.
Gold-plating refers to a thin layer of gold being plated over a base metal which is usually sterling silver to create a gold surface appearance. Gold-filled or bonded products are similar, however they use a thicker layer of gold to act as a shell, which is then filled with sterling silver or another base metal. It is important to remember that if you purchase a piece of gold-plated, or gold-filled or bonded jewellery, that you are essentially buying a piece of sterling silver or base metal jewellery that contains only a small amount of gold.
What’s the difference between white, yellow & rose gold?
Gold jewellery in all shades begins with 24ct yellow gold – because this is gold in its pure, elemental form. The difference between the three popular colours of gold – white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold, occur due to the metals that are alloyed with the gold.
Yellow gold is usually alloyed with silver, palladium or zinc to maintain its natural hue. White gold is created by blending gold with palladium. Palladium is a rare, lustrous metal in the platinum group, and its grey-white colour mixes with gold to create a white shade. White gold jewellery is usually also plated with rhodium, which resists corrosion and enhances the white colour and lustre of the gold.
Rose gold achieves its beautiful blush colour by mixing gold with copper, a bright, orange-red metal. A piece of jewellery with a higher copper content will have a stronger red colour. Rose gold is sometimes also alloyed with silver, to create a softer pink shade.
Is there a difference between white gold and platinum?
Yes, platinum is an entirely different metal to gold. Platinum is an extremely strong, durable, and rare precious metal that naturally has a white colour.
Platinum is also an extremely tough metal that is resistant to wear and corrosion. For this reason, platinum is often alloyed with a small percentage of other metals to improve its malleability for jewellery.
What should I know about buying gold jewellery?
Gold jewellery is a fantastic choice because it is timeless, high quality, and always in style. Choosing jewellery that is at least 10ct gold will ensure it is good quality, and that it will keep its lustrous shine for longer. Look out for the hallmark stamped on your gold jewellery, to verify its carat.
For women, a few elegant pieces of gold jewellery are the ultimate building block for your jewellery wardrobe. A simple gold chain or gold pendant will add shine to every outfit, and you can easily customise your look by layering a few different necklaces together.
Gold earrings are also perfect for everyday wear. A delicate pair of gold studs or gold hoops will go with every look. Gold rings will add extra sparkle – especially if you opt for gold diamond rings or gemstone rings. Then, tie your whole look together with a gold bracelet or bangle. Remember, gold doesn’t just mean yellow gold – opt for your favourite shade including white gold or rose gold, or for a unique take, mix your metals.
For men, a gold accessory or two will add a stylish touch to every outfit. A men’s gold chain is a subtle yet luxurious addition, whether worn under a corporate shirt or over a t-shirt. A gold ring will likewise add shine to your look – go for a simple band, or make a statement with a bold piece featuring diamonds, titanium, or textured metal. At Michael Hill we also have men’s ring options in white gold and rose gold.
How do I care for my gold jewellery?
While good quality gold will give you years of lustre, it’s important to care for your jewellery properly to keep it shining like new.
Polishing your gold with a soft cloth (such as a jewellery cleaning cloth or glasses cloth) regularly will remove dust and keep it shining. Over time, your jewellery will gather dirt in the form of oils, makeup, and so on from wear, and you can clean it using a small amount of mild detergent and warm water. Soak your jewellery in the solution, then gently rub to remove grime. Rinse and dry your jewellery thoroughly and gently.
It's best to avoid harsh chemicals coming into contact with your gold jewellery, especially chlorine – so don’t wear your jewellery in the pool or spa. It’s also best to remove your jewellery or wear protective gloves before using chemicals such as household cleaners.
Take your jewellery off at the end of the day, and store it somewhere safe such as a jewellery box. Ideally, keep your pieces separated – either in their original boxes, or in a jewellery box that allows you to store your pieces separately. Ideally, hang up your chains, or store them somewhere they can be laid flat and away from other jewellery so they don’t become tangled.
We recommend bringing your jewellery into your nearest Michael Hill store for regular, professional cleaning. Did you know we offer free lifetime jewellery cleaning?
Which gold is best for my engagement ring and wedding ring?
Yellow gold has timeless beauty that you will be sure to love in many years’ time as much as you do the day you select it. White gold is a popular choice for diamond engagement rings, because its colour highlights the beautiful white sparkle of the diamond. Rose gold is a unique choice and adds a decidedly feminine and elegant touch.
For men, a yellow or white gold wedding band is a classic choice that you can wear and love every day.
Platinum is a precious and highly durable choice, however it comes at a higher price-point than gold.
If you are unsure which gold colour is right for you, consider the type of jewellery you usually wear. Discuss your preference with your partner if you would like to match your wedding bands.
You can also visit your nearest Michael Hill store and speak to our jewellery experts, who will help you discover your perfect piece.