When shopping for gold earrings, the karat weight of the gold will factor in to the final price and durability of the jewelry more than the style. While varying levels of gold appear to look the same, the long-time wear and tear on the jewelry will uncover its quality. Whether you choose yellow gold or white gold earrings, understanding the value and proper care will increase the lifetime of your investment. Gold by itself is far too soft to create jewelry. To toughen the gold, alloys are mixed with it. The purity of gold, measured in karats, is a measurement of the percentage of gold in comparison to the percentage of alloy metal. The most common alloys used in gold earrings are copper, silver, nickel and zinc. Pure gold is measured at 24 karats. Gold earrings come in 14, 18 and 24 karat gold. Those measuring 18k give the appearance of pure gold with the added benefits of strength. However, most gold earrings are backed with 14k pieces. For those interested in white gold, be aware that the lower grade gold the more yellow the color will be. For this reason, some white gold earrings and other jewelry types are plated in a white metal called rhodium. This gives the jewelry added strength. For an option that is more unique than classic yellow or white gold, try rose gold. Red or rose-colored gold is created when there is a higher amount of copper mixed with the gold. This pink-tinted color can often be found in tri-colored pieces but is increasingly being sold on its own. For everything from hoop earrings to chandelier styles, rose gold is one of the most exciting options. When caring for gold jewelry (whether white, yellow or red), be sure to keep your earrings away from harsh chemicals. Warm water and non-detergent soap provide a subtle mixture that allows you to safely clean your gold jewelry. Remember to use a soft-bristled brush when cleaning to avoid scratching the gold, and your earrings will stay in eye-catching condition for years to come.
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