Although gold is not nearly as rare as platinum, it is equally as desirable. Gold is much less expensive than platinum, but like platinum, it does not rust, tarnish or corrode. It takes seventeen tons of gold ore to extract one ounce of pure gold. It then takes three weeks to refine the metal to be used in jewelry.
In its purest form, gold is too soft to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. So, alloys are added to make gold more durable. Pure gold is 24 Karat, or twenty-four parts gold. It will be stamped 999. 14 Karat gold is fourteen parts gold and ten parts of another alloy (usually silver, zinc or nickel), or 58% pure gold. The stamp will read 14k or 585. 18 Karat gold is eighteen parts gold and six parts of another alloy, or 75% pure gold. The stamp will read 18k or 750.
Gold is naturally yellow, but you can find it in white, rose and green. Different colors are achieved by adding different alloys. For example, white gold is made by adding nickel and zinc and rose gold is made by adding copper. Adding silver makes gold with a slight greenish tint.