Renewed Metal: Gold
Gold is the metal of choice for most wedding rings. It has a warmth and never tarnishes. Of all metals, gold, the element, AU, is the most malleable which makes it easy to work with. Human beings have for millennium, been obsessed with gold. For the ancients, gold represented the generous radiance of the sun and was associated with royalty. The alchemist's conversion of lead to gold was taken as metaphor for spiritual development. Gold represents a divine perfection.
Because a set of wedding rings can result in up to twenty tons of toxic sludge, all artisans on this website use only 100% recycled gold. Gold mining is perhaps one of the most ecologically destructive activities on earth. It has been tied to human rights abuse, displacement of people and massive pollution. In large scale mines, cyanide leaches gold from ore. Small scale miners use mercury, which is relatively inexpensive. Pollution from both mercury and cyanide is widespread in the environment and communities throughout the world. Reflective Images, the parent company of fairjewelry.org, was the first company in the jewelry sector to convert their domestic and international gold supply chain to 100% recycled. Reflective Images has also signed on to the no dirty gold campaign.
Gold used in jewelry fabrication is mixed with other metals to give it greater durability and hardness. The letter, "K" is used to indicated the actual the Karatage of gold, which is measured in 24ths. 24 karat = 100% pure gold. Too malleable and soft for jewelry. 22 karat = 91.7% gold. Not recommended for jewelry that is worn every day. 18 karat = 75% gold. Considered "fine" jewelry. Suitable for rings, depending upon your life style. 14 karat = 58.3% gold; suitable for all jewelry. The actual shadow of gold is determined by the alloys that are mixed with the gold.
Many jewelry companies recommend 18k white gold mainly because any 18k ring costs much more than a 14k ring. To solve the slight yellow tint, the 18k gold is coated with rhodium, a white metal, which eventually needs to be re-plated. Our recommendation is that if you wish to go with white gold, go with 14K, which has more alloy and therefore is "whiter." It is also less expensive and more durable. A 14k white gold ring is almost as white as a platinum ring. Our standard white gold is alloyed with nickel. However, upon request, we can alloy with palladium which is slightly more expensive. We can also make rings entirely out of palladium.
Yellow gold is alloyed with copper and silver. Rings made with 18K yellow gold have a particularly rich, vibrant color.
Rose gold is created by utilizing copper as an alloy.
14 or 18 Karat?
We want your wedding and engagement ring to last your lifetime. Whether to choose 14k or 18k depends upon your life style. Greater than any material or "status" value of the ring is the symbolic commitment that it represents. If you work in a field that involves the rough use of your hands, we recommend going with a 14k gold ring. These rings have more alloy and are much stronger and more durable. The 14k rings are handsome and a better choice if you are on a budget. The 18K yellow gold rings have wonderful richness and luster. The craftsmanship in all of our rings is the same, regardless of the metal chosen.
Gold rings can be cleaned using soap, water and an old tooth bush. A simple polishing cloth from a jeweler can bring the gold up to a fine luster. Harsh chemicals should be avoided. If your ring is antiqued, do not clean with bleaching agents.
Rings by Katherine Aberle and Michelangelo can be made with 14k or 18k white, rose or yellow gold. Many of Helen Chantlers' rings are made with 18K yellow gold.