18k Yellow Gold Fine Jewelry

Because pure, 24k gold is too soft for everyday use, it needs to be alloyed with other metals before it can be made into jewelry. Yellow gold is commonly alloyed with copper and silver to both strengthen it and help it retain its color. Fine jewelry made of 18k yellow gold contains 75% gold and 25% alloys.

What kinds of 18k yellow gold jewelry are available?

Pieces on offer include:

  • Rings: Many are embellished with clusters of gemstones or large, faceted solitaires.
  • Bracelets: Some are made of heavy gold links. Some are adorned with gems.
  • Earrings: Types include studs, hoops, button style, and dangle style, made for pierced or nonpierced ears.
  • Necklaces: 18k yellow gold necklaces can be made of link, wheat, rope, omega, and other types of chains.

Other pieces of 18k yellow gold jewelry include pendants, beads, and pins.

What are some gemstones found in this jewelry?

Commonly used gemstones include:

  • Diamond: Diamonds can be white, yellow, blue or any other color, including black. Colorless diamonds are pure carbon. Impurities add color.
  • Pearl: Pearls may occur naturally in an oyster or be cultivated. Types used in fine jewelry include akoya pearls, which are cultured, and mabe pearls, which have flat backs and are sometimes tear-shaped.
  • Amethyst: Amethysts, available in various shades of purple, are quartz colored by traces of iron.
  • Emerald: Emeralds are green or bluish-green beryl. Chromium, vanadium, and iron give the stones their color.
  • Ruby: Ruby is red corundum.
  • Sapphire: This corundum can be any color but red.
  • Turquoise: This opaque, porous blue or green gemstone may have veins or tinges of other colors.

Other gemstones used in 18k yellow gold jewelry include topaz, which comes in many colors; tsavorite garnet, which can be different shades of green; citrine, which is usually amethyst heated to produce a yellow color; tanzanite, a brilliant blue-violet gem found in Tanzania; aquamarine, which is clear blue beryl; and fire opal, which may be yellow, orange, or red, and gets its name from its flame-like iridescence.

Synthetic stones, such as diamond simulants like moissanite and cubic zirconia, and jet, a black stone made of fossilized wood, are also used in fine gold jewelry.

How do you take care of these items?

Store fine 18k yellow gold jewelry pieces in their own pouches made of a soft fabric such as velvet. If they are stored in a jewelry box, each piece should have its own compartment. This protects against scratching, snarling, and breakage. Though some 18k yellow gold pieces can be cleaned ultrasonically, it is best to clean fine jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using distilled water and mild dishwashing detergent. Take care not to let water get between the settings. Rinse the pieces in warm water, and let them air dry. Avoid washing turquoise and opals in water that is too hot or too cold, or keep them in excessively hot or dry conditions. These gemstones are porous and may crack. Amber, pearls, peridots, cubic zirconia, aquamarines, amethysts, and emeralds are some stones that should be kept out of strong sunlight.