Do you have 22k gold jewelry and want more information about it? Or are you looking to buy 22k gold jewelry and want to do some reading about gold content so you will not get cheated by the salesman trying to pull a fast one on you?
Gold purity is measure by “carat” or “karat”. Karat is usually used for gold purity, while carat is used for gemstones size. Pure gold is considered 24 karat, and will be stamped 24k. As the gold goes down in purity, it will be stamped with corresponding lower numbers; 22k, 18k, 14k, etc.
Pure gold is an extreme malleable metal, meaning that it is very pliable or easy to press out of shape. If you have a ring make of pure gold, and hit the table with your palm, it may flatten the bottom of your ring.
Other metals are mixed with the gold to strengthen it. The other metals also can be mixed in to change the color. For yellow gold, silver and copper is mixed in. For rose-colored gold, copper alone is used. For white gold, nickel, platinum, palladium and zinc are used.
So when buying gold, the less pure it is, the cheaper it may be, as there is less of the expensive gold, and more of the cheaper metals in it. But the ways it wears should be taken into account also. Some people cannot wear jewelry with other metals, as the may be allergic or just react to another metal. Also, if the piece of jewelry is just coated with gold, it may wear through and show the layer underneath, and ruin the look of the jewelry.
So, 22k gold jewelry indicates that it is mixed very pure. If the jewelry is made of 22k gold, it should be marked somewhere on the jewelry with the 22k symbol. Sometimes gold made in the Asian countries is unmarked. It might also be marked as 916 or 917, standing for 91.6% and 91.7% pure. Most European countries use the 916 system instead of 22k system for marking their gold.
India will sometimes mark their gold with a mark like 22/22K, with the first 22 meaning that the top layer of gold is 22 karat, and if the second 22 refers to purity of the gold if the whole piece were melted. Some other Asian countries have adopted this symbol also. It was introduced in the mid 1980s, so the symbol can help you with dating a piece.
If the gold is made in the United States, you can feel confident that the marking is correct, as there are strict regulations about gold purity, but some other countries are not as strict in either their laws or their enforcement of them. The cost savings over time of marketing 20k jewelry as 22k would be enormous, so unscrupulous sellers do crop up. The term in the industry is called “under carating.”
22k gold is used more in the Asian countries than in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. Europe uses more 8k-19K and United States 10k-18k.
Armed with this knowledge, I hope you feel you are a little more equipped to go and buy yourself or a loved one some 22k gold jewelry and not feel like you are being cheated.