Chemical symbol: Au
Atomic number: 79
If you want a traditional wedding ring that is resistant to tarnishing, then gold is the choice for you.
The carat system is used by the jewellery trade to indicate the proportion of gold in an alloy, and therefore makes implications as to the quality of a ring. Wedding Rings Direct sell rings of 9, 18 and 22 carat. 22ct yellow gold is often thought of as 'pure gold' - it is extremely rare to get jewellery any purer than this as it would not be practical for the purpose. As 22ct gold has only a small proportion of other metals, you might find the ring is slightly softer than other carats. If you want a higher-value ring with a high proportion of gold in the alloy, then 22ct would be the way to go.
9ct yellow gold is the lowest that can be termed gold in the UK. 9ct gold is 37.5% pure gold, with other metals making up the other 62.5%. People often prefer to have a higher percentage of gold than this, as it makes the metal more precious, but 9ct is favoured by some as the high proportion of other metals makes it more hard-wearing. If you want a more long-lasting ring, and don't mind it being less 'pure', then 9ct is the choice for you.
18ct yellow gold is often used as a happy medium between the pleasant colour and status of 22ct, and the durability of 9ct. 18ct gold will wear down, but over a longer period of time.
Over time, the ring may dull from contact with detergents, moisturisers and other chemicals - ideally you would take the ring off as needed to protect it from such substances. If it does dull then even a quick buff with a soft cloth should brighten it up. Gold will show scratches from every day wear and tear; the first few will be the most obvious but over time it will develop a more pleasing patina. We can repolish/refinish the ring for you should you ever want to remove any particuarly deep scratches.
Gold in its pure form is too soft to be worn as jewellery, as it would not withstand the everyday stresses that jewellery is exposed to. Instead it is mixed with other metals such as e.g. copper, zinc, silver or cobalt, to make a stronger alloy. A pleasant consequence of alloying gold with other metals is that it the end result is often a different colour - so white and rose golds are now cherished in their own right. Click here for more information on white gold rings and rose gold rings.
The scientific name for gold is Aurum, and its chemical symbol is Au - from Aurora, which means dawn.
Everybody knows how precious gold is. Its qualities make it ideal for the jewellery trade, and it is also indispensible in industries as diverse as video technology, lasers, medicine & for spacecraft. Golds many uses stem from its incredible malleability & ductility, meaning it can be shaped and stretched easily; and because it is resistant to chemical changes so it doesn't tarnish as easily as some other metals. Of course, the colour as well as the physical properties means gold has been used for decoration throughout history and amongst many cultures.
The first suggestion of gold being used for decoration was in Eastern Europe in 4000BC. In 1500BC, gold was used for trade for the first time by the Ancient Egyptians, and was first legalised as money a thousand years later in China. Between then and now, gold has been linked to many historical events and discoveries. Discoveries of new sources of gold in North America caused several infamous gold rushes during the 19th century, which hastened the colonisation of the American West. Scientific developments in France in 1927 lead to the discovery that gold can aid recovery from rheumatoid arthritis.