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Although gold is most often thought of as having a soft, yellow glow, the metal is available in an entire spectrum of different hues. The different colors of gold depend upon with which metals the gold is alloyed, or mixed.
Increasing in popularity in recent years, white gold has become fashionable as the preferred cool and contemporary look. White gold boasts the same properties as classic yellow gold, but achieves its white color by mixing with different alloys. In general, white gold is created when a nickel or palladium alloy (zinc and copper) is used. White gold may also be plated with an even whiter metal, such as rhodium, to enhance its cool appearance. As well, a white gold setting can enhance the rapture of white diamonds.
Gold's softness and malleability make it a wonderful metal to work with when creating virtually any design in jewelry. But this softness can be a drawback as well. To make it stronger and more durable, gold is usually alloyed, or mixed, with other metals such as copper or silver. The higher a metal's percentage of gold content, the softer and more yellow the jewelry piece. The karat weight system used to measure gold in a piece is the same for all hues, including white and yellow gold.
The word “carat” is Arabic, meaning “bean seed.” This is because historically seeds were used to measure weights of gold and precious stones. In the United States, “karat” with a “k” is used to measure gold's purity, while “carat” with a “c” is used in measuring a gemstone's size. The karat mark of gold represents the percentage of pure gold to alloy.
In order to determine the karat weight of a specific item, simply look for the quality mark. Jewelry items will bear the stamp of their karatage based upon the United States or European system of marking. The United States system designates pieces by their karats—24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, etc. The European system designates pieces by their percentage of gold content. For instance, 10K gold is marked “417,” denoting 41.7% gold; 14K is marked “585,” denoting 58.5% gold; and 18K is marked “750,” denoting 75% gold; etc.Moissanite is a model of sheer beauty that is fast becoming a shining star in today’s hottest jewelry designs. It is a high-quality, uniquely created stone unlike any other.
Created Moissanite has very high dispersion and displays 2.4 times more fire than diamond (0.044). Its inherent high refractive index gives Moissanite a dazzling sparkle, while its precisely calibrated and carefully hand-cut facet patterns intensify fire and maximize brilliance.
Moissanite is extremely durable. It is harder (more resistant to scratching) than ruby or sapphire – second only to diamond – and it is resistant to breakage.
Larger sizes of near-colorless Moissanite (6.5mm or 1 carat and larger) might appear to have a slight color. A variety of factors, such as dispersion, tint and the type of jewelry setting, can create and affect this unique color appearance. Moissanite aficionados enjoy the slight hue that results in a very natural-looking gemstone, even though it's lab-created.
Moissanite’s high dispersion produces flashes of rich rainbow (spectral) colors. The appearance and degree of these tints are less noticeable when Moissanite is set in jewelry. Jewelry set in gold (yellow, rose or white) and/or set in platinum will affect the face-up appearance of Moissanite.
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dr. Henri Moissan discovered minute quantities of natural silicon carbide (later named Moissanite in his honor) while analyzing part of Arizona’s Diablo Canyon meteorite crater in 1893. Upon close inspection, he noticed the tiny crystals shimmered with brilliance and dispersion, although they were too limited in quantity and not large enough to use in jewelry.
Almost 100 years after Dr. Moissan's amazing discovery, a way to create Moissanite was developed. Appreciated for its overwhelming brilliance, Moissanite continues to take the jewelry world by storm.
Brilliance: The white light leaving a jewel, traveling upward, which is visible to the eye. Brilliance is sometimes referred to as "sparkle."
Dispersion: Flashes of rainbow colors. Also called "fire."
Hardness: Resistance to scratching. The higher the number, the more resistant.
Luster: The shininess of a jewel.
Toughness: Resistance to breakage.