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The ultimate guide to gold jewellery

When it comes to gold jewellery, with its alluring quality, it is no wonder there is such a demand. There is only a limited amount of gold in the world, which makes this precious metal even more desirable. Whether you’re looking to invest in yourself, or purchase the perfect gift for a loved one, our complete guide to gold jewellery will give you everything you need to know.

Carats & Hallmarks

With solid gold, the carat refers to the percentage of gold found within the particular metal. 24 carat is pure gold, however the majority of the time, pure gold is too soft to produce robust jewellery. 

Gold jewellery can be bought in a variety of carats, the most popular in the UK being 9 carat gold (37.5%). Other common carats include; 14ct (58.3%), 18ct (75%) and 22ct (91.67%). It is important to check the carat of gold before purchasing. 

The easiest way to check the carat of gold is through a hallmark. Yet jewellery pre-1973, may not include a hallmark, if this is the case, it’s important to check your seller is reputable.

What exactly is a hallmark?

A hallmark is an authorised stamp or set of stamps imprinted on metal items to certify its quality or genuineness. This verifies the composition and indicates the purity of precious metals such as platinum, gold, silver and palladium. Every newly crafted product weighing more than 1g from Sapphire Jewellers features the British Hallmark.

Hallmarks include:

  • 9ct Gold: 375
  • 14ct Gold: 585
  • 18ct Gold: 750
  • 22ct Gold: 916


You may notice a lot of online jewellers refer to their pieces as ‘gold plated’. This refers to the jewellery consisting of a cheaper base metal (usually brass or copper) with just a gold exterior. Gold plated jewellery tends to be a lot cheaper due to the gold only being a tiny amount. It is crucial to always check whether you are buying solid gold or gold plated. 

Gold ‘vermeil’ or ‘gold on silver’ refers to silver jewellery being plated with 2.5microns of gold (as opposed to gold plating as described above being only 0.5microns). As the base metal is sterling silver, this jewellery tends to be hypoallergenic, making it safer to wear than plated jewellery. This is a much better alternative for those who are looking for a more affordable option.


All natural gold is yellow in colour. However as 24ct gold in its purest form is too soft for jewellery, to improve its durability, it is mixed with other metals (creating carats as described above). Yellow gold is incredibly popular and gives a timeless look.

White gold is also mixed with additional alloys to improve durability, however these tend to be white alloys such as nickel or zinc. To make white gold really shine, it is then rhodium plated to avoid tarnishing. This rhodium plating can eventually rub away with everyday wear, however the quality of gold is not altered. It is common to have the rhodium layer replaced to keep a brilliant white gold shine.

Rose gold tends to be mixed with warmer alloys such as copper, creating that ‘rose’ colour. Rose gold has gained popularity over the recent years, and is a great way to create a different look as opposed to your timeless classics!

Buying online

In the age of the internet, people are becoming more comfortable buying their gold jewellery online. We recommend reading product descriptions to make sure you know exactly what type of gold you’re buying. It’s also helpful to consider the weight of the gold item you’re buying - with gold being an investment, it’s important to check the carat and the weight to make sure you have an idea of what your jewellery is worth. This is a useful tip to consider, unlike buying in-store, you’re unable to feel your jewellery. Knowing the weight will give you a sense of how much gold you are purchasing. It will also help you understand how much your gold may be worth in the future if you choose to sell.

We are so excited to help with your jewellery purchases! At Sapphire Jewellers, we offer a wide range of 9ct gold and gold vermeil online. In store you can find a range of additional carat golds as well as expert advice. If you have any questions about purchasing gold jewellery, or interest in selling, please do not hesitate to reach out! 

Visit us at: Sapphire Jewellers, 26 The Burges, Coventry, CV1 1HL
Or call us on: 02476 225 391


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