Gold is one of the most precious and valuable metals in the world. Found in bodies of water and the earth’s crust, gold jewelry has been popular for eons. There are many different ways to present the metal in jewelry, and the way that the metal’s color and consistency can be manipulated to match almost any desire.
Since gold can come in so many forms, there is a grading system designed to alert the goldsmith and the buyer how valuable the item is, and what it is made of. Because pure gold is extremely soft, other metals are mixed with the gold to make the piece more durable, less expensive, and to alter it’s color.
All jewelry is required by law to be stamped so consumers will know the quality of gold used. Jewelry made in North America is typically marked with the karat grade (10K, 14K, etc.), and jewelry made in Italy is typically marked with the "fineness" such as (417, 583, etc.). So if your jewelry does not have a karat grade stamped on it, check for a 3-digit fineness number.