We hope you’ve been enjoying the Showcase Jewellers ABCs so far! Last time, we delved into the fascinating world of fluoride and facets, and now that we have reached the letter ‘G’ it seemed only appropriate that we looked at one of the most important elements in jewellery crafting – gold. 

Glitzy and glamorous, this gilded material can also be a sign of refined elegance, with its radiant hue having enchanted people since the days of the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. Fortunately, in the 21st century you don’t need to be a king to acquire some beautiful gold jewellery.

Here’s a look at the celebrated metal, in all of its guises. 

G is for… Gold

A golden history 

For thousands of years, gold has been used to create decorative objects and jewellery, with the first instances of the practice recorded as occurring in Eastern Europe as much as 4000 years BC according to the National Mining Association (NMA). 

However, the Ancient Egyptians were also known to use the precious metal in both jewellery as well as a measure of worth in its own right. Circa 1500BC, gold was used in international trade, and one of the earliest forms of coin was born in the shekel, containing two parts gold and one part silver. 

These days, gold is seen in men’s and women’s jewellery alike, often in the form of a wedding ring. 

A rare find 

One of the reasons that gold is such a valuable metal is because of its comparative rarity. The Australian Mines Atlas notes that for every billion parts in the Earth’s outer layer, you’ll find only three parts gold. It’s incredibly malleable, meaning it can be moulded to create a vast array of shapes and effects – Lenntech notes that 28 grams of gold (an ounce) can be hammed out to cover a mind-boggling 27.8 square metres. 

In addition, as the metal is so soft, it needs to be alloyed, or mixed with other metals for strength. It has been estimated that with all world’s pure gold could fit in a cubic container with 20 metre walls, as reported by the BBC.

Gold is incredibly heavy, with a specific gravity of 19.3 grams per cubic centimetre, according to the NMA. This makes it over 19 times heavier than the equivalent amount of water – imagine filling a glass with solid gold! As another fun fact, its chemical symbol, AU, comes from the Latin word for gold, ‘aurum’. 

50 shades of gold 

These alloys don’t just produce the glowing yellow hue which we usually associate with gold, they also create stunning variations such as white gold, where the 75 per cent of metal is mixed with 25 per cent ‘white metal’ such as silver or palladium. 

And who can forget rose gold? What many may call the metal of the moment is the result of a different combination – namely gold and copper to create a radiant, blush tone.

Rose gold jewellery and accessories have now become some of the world’s most hotly demanded items, as evidenced by the influx of rose gold products. Who hasn’t heard of the new Apple iPhone 6s ‘rose gold’ edition? 

Rose gold jewellery and accessories have now become some of the world’s most hotly demanded items, as evidenced by the influx of rose gold products. Who hasn’t heard of the new Apple iPhone 6s ‘rose gold’ edition?