We have talked many times about gold in the past, yellow gold specifically, but we have never gone in depth to see if it is still a key jewelry piece nowadays, or even if men and women look at it as they did in the past. With so many options in terms of jewelry, gold is not regarded by many as the most luxurious one anymore. White gold is much more accessible: it can be matched with more colors, more outfits and it looks good no matter then skin tone. So the question is quite obvious: is yellow gold falling from grace? Before we can answer this question, it is best that we go into gold basics: it is important that you know about materials, karat differences, how and when to wear it. There are plenty of details that need to be taken into consideration and the best way to know whether yellow gold is appreciated or not anymore relies on these specific details.
Yellow Gold Basics
This type of gold is very soft to begin with. It is so soft that it cannot be used in any type of jewelry on its own. Gold needs to be combined with certain alloys or metals so that it can evolve into the gorgeous accessories that we are wearing every day. Some of these alloys are nickel, copper and zinc. What is very good about gold is that it is very malleable. The result of this characteristic is that it can be crafted into all sorts of other accessories like watches. There is not much stress being put on the metal, maintaining its high value. Most of our jewelry contains somewhere around 75% gold, the other 25% being metals and alloys previously stated. This is why karats are used: to measure the percentage of gold in all jewels. The 75-25% ratio is 18K, but gold purity variation ranges from 10 karat all the way up to 24. The level of gold purity in a 10K jewel is approximately 42% while 24K jewels are made almost entirely out of gold. Yellow gold is does not come in one exclusive color. Different tones are available and they mostly depend on the alloys used to strengthen the metal. Pure gold is a very rich, shiny yellow; the 18K is also quite powerful, but if you pay attention to 24K and 14K pieces you will notice that the color is a lot paler. Every extra drop of another metal or alloy robs the gold of it lustrous shine, but that is not always obvious.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s think about it: we have a soft metal, prone to scratching and impractical to wear in your day to day activities, not to mention that it can be quite expensive when we consider karats and the weight of the desired jewelry piece. Imagine that you will have scratches on a 24K ring within days after purchasing it. It does not seem worth it, does it? This is why this metal is socially associated with premium quality: you need to be careful with it, so you do not wear it often. When you do, it is for some sort of ceremonial event. A good tip for you is to wear 24K golden earrings, should you be interested. They are not as exposed to motion as rings are, so they are going to have a prolonged lifeline. Did we mention that every gold purity level is coming with its own set of advantages and disadvantages? The 24K is really hard to take care of, but this does not mean that 10Ks, 14Ks and 18Ks are ideal either. What you can do is play with the disadvantages because they are mostly perception-related.
Take the 10K, for instance. These pieces are mostly comprised of alloys and gold, and not the other way around. Their main advantage is that they are cost-efficient, some even considering them to be “discount gold”. Here is the disadvantage: not everyone sells 10K gold pieces. The majority of vendors will sell the following: 14K and 18K yellow or white gold, platinum and rose gold. And here is where social perception comes in and you can play it to your advantage: 10K gold is perceived as “low gold”, but the trick is that the naked eye will always have trouble distinguishing between 10K, 14K and 18K. While some might consider that you are not wearing a fine piece of jewelry, you can always keep in mind that you are, in fact, wearing gold. And it also a very effective piece when it comes to pricing. The 14K is also a very popular choice. Consisting of 58.5% gold, these beauties make exceptional choices for wedding rings. They are durable, reliable and there is literally no way you can distinguish them from 18K jewels. They are, perhaps, the best choice you can make out of all 3 non-pure yellow gold jewels. Not to mention that they are quite cheap. Finally, the 18K is, as stated before, comprised of 75% gold. You need to be careful with these since scratches start showing very early and it is also very easy for them to deform. While the 14K is considered luxury, the 18 is commonly associated with high-end. The only reason you might not want to purchase an 18K piece is because of the indistinguishable color. It is your decision whether you are better off with a 14K or an 18K piece. The truth is that the only extra quality an 18K piece has is that it is “more luxurious”, but should this feature come at the price of less resistance?
Now let us talk about how you are supposed to wear gold. In our previous “What to wear with 18 inch necklaces” we mentioned an important detail that you should always keep in mind: apply perfume and makeup before wearing gold. These products have a tendency to make gold sticky and they will also reduce the metal’s glow as time passes. Trust us, you do not want to invest money into an 18K or 24K piece and apply makeup in the wrong way. You are better off without gold in the first place. The fact that yellow gold works well with warm skin tones can also be a buzzkill sometimes. Not that it does not look well, but because only certain people can wear it. Or maybe you want to get a soft tan so you can wear gold for a short period of time? It just doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. You can easily get away with white gold which works fine on any skin tone and can be matched with any color and outfit. While gold is perceived as high-end, only some people can wear it, sometimes and in some special circumstances. This is perhaps why yellow gold is losing some of its popularity in the first place: it prides itself with great social status, but it is cannot be worn by everybody. Not to mention that there are some good alternatives for gold: when it comes to rings and accessories silver is always a great option, pearls make great choices as well and you can always go super premium with platinum. Why worry about a 24K or an 18K golden piece when you can wear silver anywhere, anytime and not think about a single scratch? Pearls are wonderful vintage accessories that you can customize as you please. Imagine that you can take an 18 inch necklace and wrap it around your hand like a bracelet. Platinum items simply look great and the quality is out there for the eyes to behold. All of these items are available for more affordable prices compared to gold, cause less stress when worn, need less attention and will make you just as beautiful as any yellow item could. In case you are strictly focused on wearing gold, the white version is there for the taking. So we have all the information we need. Time to make the summary and see what we’ve got.
So Is It Worth It?
Yellow gold is a soft metal, exposed to scratching and deforming. It requires other metals and alloys in order to harden and become a reliable piece of jewelry. It comes in 4 different forms: 10k,14K, 18K and 24K items. The most valuable piece is also the most prone to damage of them all while the other 3 are, more or less, indistinguishable to the naked eye. The 18K and 24K are quite expensive, but offer the least durability of all pieces. In the end, not anybody can wear yellow gold and there are plenty of other alternatives that can add to your image just as much as gold can. It seems fair to say that yellow gold is losing its touch. We still believe that it is a valuable metal, worth cherishing and that its value comes from the fact that it needs to be taken care of, but the ideal way to wear jewels is to put them on, allow them to make you shine and then forget all about them. Yellow gold certainly does not allow this kind of luxury.