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View Full Version : Is it true that Chinese gold jewelry is 24 karat? And the rest of Asia?


Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-25-2004, 02:51 PM
I heard somewhere that the standard for gold jewelry in China is considered to be 24 karat. If so, how does that affect the durability? Do chains, settings, and clasps ever break?

And how about other countries in the region...SE asia, Japan, India, etc.?

lissener
09-25-2004, 03:29 PM
I have never heard this. When I was making jewelry it was considered a given that you couldn't make jewelry out of 24K. I've seen Malaysian pieces in 20K, though.

Mr. Blue Sky
09-25-2004, 03:32 PM
I used to see 22kt stuff when I worked for a pawn shop.

Anaamika
09-25-2004, 03:36 PM
Um, YES. I don't know about China, but I have two pieces of 24 K gold from India. I never, never wear it, because it's so soft.

Now the truth is, even 24K gold is not pure gold - how could it be? But it is much more pure than here, and much more yellow. For example, the pendant doesn't quite fit on the 22K gold chain I have to go with it. So I heat it in the flame so it will be softer, and then I can push it through.

For years I thought 10, 14, and 18K gold was rather cheap. I still like 22 and 24 better, but you have to go to an Indian store - which gets shipments from Britain.

Indian gold is also stamped differently. As far as I know, Indian gold is not sold in the U.S. - only British gold because the stamping complies with the legal stuff in the U.S.

Q.E.D.
09-25-2004, 03:37 PM
24k is pure gold. It is generally considered to be too soft for use in jewelry, particularly for pieces you'd be expected to wear daily, like wedding bands. It's so soft, it would just wear away sooner or later.

lissener
09-25-2004, 03:40 PM
I used to see 22kt stuff when I worked for a pawn shop.
That's right; I'd forgotten about that. I had a friend in highschool from Saudi Arabia; his stuff was 22K.

Testy
09-25-2004, 03:42 PM
Yep! It's true. Well, they use 18K for things with sets but simple gold jewelry is pure gold. As far as wear goes, it seems to do OK. In the Middle East, you get anywhere from 18-22 Karat, anything less is just not available.
I love the heft of it and the butter-yellow color. The gold I see in the US and Europe looks brassy as hell.
Oddly enough, gold is also (relatively) cheap when compared to jewelry shops in the US. I don't really know about Europe. I think that the price difference is due to the habit of many Asian women of using gold jewelry as a sort of portable and pretty savings account. Most of the Asian women I know tend to buy and sell their jewelry frequently.

Regards

Testy

Anaamika
09-25-2004, 03:48 PM
24k is pure gold. It is generally considered to be too soft for use in jewelry, particularly for pieces you'd be expected to wear daily, like wedding bands. It's so soft, it would just wear away sooner or later.

Ok, so it is pure gold. However, like I said, i do have two pieces that are 24K gold. They are from my grandmtoher's time, though, and I don't wear them often, as I said.

Crandolph
09-25-2004, 03:57 PM
The posts about the Middle East here are spot-on. By the way, the labor itself is super cheap (usually Indian goldsmiths) and they do some very interesting work.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Gulf, any major city, ask around to find out where the gold souk is. You'll see the most opulent displays of yellowy gold, much of it 22K, you'll ever see in your life. And very little security... usually the whole country is one big security zone and street crime is basically unheard of.

Gulf Arab women get loads of gold in marriage as a sort of divorce insurance, often big interesting chest of veil pieces weaving gold coins together. You'll see these hanging in windows... remarkable. I got my mother a big pendant in Qatar I could never afford here.

Islam (or at least local popular traditional interpretation thereof) frowns on men wearing gold, so men's stuff is in silver. I'm not a jewelry guy but I pretty much had to get a couple of cool silver rings.

Shop around, haggle, and remember that the Indian smiths do engraving in a number of languages and scripts - very cool!

Crandolph
09-25-2004, 03:58 PM
chest of veil

chest OR veil, sorry...

China Guy
09-25-2004, 05:30 PM
Yes, a significant amount of jewelry in Chinese societies (HK, China, Taiwan, singapore, etc) is 24k. However, this stuff is not for daily wear. Generally wear it for special occaisians and most brides are decked out in a lot of gold.

Some people do wear rings that are 24k on a daily basis, but the metal is soft and the rings don't last a long time.

Also one has to be very careful on how the hasps are opened to make them last longer.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-25-2004, 06:09 PM
24k is pure gold. It is generally considered to be too soft for use in jewelry, particularly for pieces you'd be expected to wear daily, like wedding bands. It's so soft, it would just wear away sooner or later.

I thought 24K was too soft for jewelry, but I've often noticed thick, beautiful chain necklaces worn by Chinese people, and the gold does look absolutely the same color as the pure nuggets I've seen at my local natural history museum (http://www.nhm.org/research/minsci/hlgold.htm).

I wonder if the addition of minute amounts of the right kind of metal, like those from the platinum group, could make near-24K stronger?

doreen
09-25-2004, 06:36 PM
I heard somewhere that the standard for gold jewelry in China is considered to be 24 karat. If so, how does that affect the durability? Do chains, settings, and clasps ever break?

And how about other countries in the region...SE asia, Japan, India, etc.?
I'm told that the jewelry I got as wedding gifts from my Chinese in-laws is 24 karat. It's very soft, and the clasps are easily bent. I haven't broken anything, but then again, I only wear it once every couple of years. It's really not the everyday type of jewelry- I only wear it to wedings and such.

SnakeSpirit
09-26-2004, 05:33 AM
Here in Homolulu Chinatown, you can buy Chinese 24k jewelry that is priced based on the spot prices of gold for the day! I bought my 0.25 oz wedding band ten years ago and it still looks like new,, though it does have a more scratched surface and it has been bent a few times (and straightened on a ring mandrel, none the worse for wear).

I also have a few 24k gold chains, but I don't wear them often, and some hand made 24k gold 'sleeper' earrings (hoops) that I jus bend to shape to fit my ears.

FWIW.

Testy
09-26-2004, 05:52 AM
I wouldn't worry about the clasp too much. My wife has several necklaces she swaps off and on. They are all 24K and have a simple looped gold wire as a clasp. Given the ductility of gold, I don't think it will break in this lifetime.

Regards

Testy

Athena
09-26-2004, 10:11 AM
I dunno anything about Chinese gold, but I just wanted to say I do have some 22 carat and 24 carat gold. The 22 carat is in the form of a necklace and earrings; the 24 carat is a pair of earrings. Neither come from China - I bought all of them in Santa Fe, from jewelry stores that carry lines from specific artists.

I love the look of 22 and 24 carat gold, and would love a 22 carat ring, but everyone tells me it's a bad idea. :(

Testy
09-26-2004, 10:31 AM
I dunno anything about Chinese gold, but I just wanted to say I do have some 22 carat and 24 carat gold. The 22 carat is in the form of a necklace and earrings; the 24 carat is a pair of earrings. Neither come from China - I bought all of them in Santa Fe, from jewelry stores that carry lines from specific artists.

I love the look of 22 and 24 carat gold, and would love a 22 carat ring, but everyone tells me it's a bad idea. :(
What kind of ring? My wedding ring was from Thailand and was 24K. It did eventually break but only after 15 years of wearing it 24 X 7. I did bend it a lot when lifting weights but it always bent back into shape just fine. If you are talking about something with a setting then that would be a different matter.
I also like the color and heft of pure or nearly pure, gold

Regards

Testy

Athena
09-26-2004, 10:50 AM
What kind of ring? My wedding ring was from Thailand and was 24K. It did eventually break but only after 15 years of wearing it 24 X 7. I did bend it a lot when lifting weights but it always bent back into shape just fine. If you are talking about something with a setting then that would be a different matter.
I also like the color and heft of pure or nearly pure, gold

Regards

Testy

I'd be looking for a ring I would plan on wearing 24/7, probably with a stone in it and a fairly intricate setting. After much discussion I'm forced to admit it'd probably not last long, especially since I'm not they type of person who would remember she was wearing a delicate ring and would manage to smash it on doors and walls and hammers and such.

Testy
09-26-2004, 02:15 PM
With a stone I don't think it would work. My wedding ring was just a simple band and that was OK. Even in Thailand and the ME they use 18K for that kind of thing. I have seen some 22K gold rings with butterflys and flowers made from gold lace. I bought my mother one years ago and it lasted about a month before she accidentally bashed it. The problem in the US is that very few jewelers will work on it as they don't have solder of that purity.

Regards

Testy

SnakeSpirit
09-27-2004, 03:32 AM
Another alternatifve is plating with 24k. If you want a stone set, you can create your masterpiece in 10k, 14k, or 18k, and then plate it with 24k. Even AFTER the stone is set (in almost all instances). It will wear off in a few years, but re-plating is not that big of a deal.

SnakeS

ShibbOleth
09-27-2004, 08:49 AM
Most of the gold sold in Thailand is near 24 karat. I've read that it's really 23.8 karat, if that makes any sense, or damned near but not quite pure. They do sell some less "yellow" gold but it's not nearly as popular. That's because it's not as much a commodity as the near pure stuff which is sold at the market price of gold with a very small markup, usually, for workmanship. So you can almost consider the jewelry a "Thai insurance policy". My wife owns several pieces like this and so both my kids have 1-2 pieces as well. She doesn't wear the stuff every day. The clasps are little U-shaped bends that you bend to get off and on.

Angua
09-27-2004, 12:21 PM
Its the same in India and Pakistan. Anything less than 18 karat is seen as cheap. 18 karat is what you'd give to a kid for everyday jewellery. All of my jewellery that I've had from family as presents has either been 22 or 24 karat - you'd be classed as cheap if you gave anything less than that as a gift.

Mind you, I much prefer silver.

yabob
09-27-2004, 03:36 PM
I wonder if the addition of minute amounts of the right kind of metal, like those from the platinum group, could make near-24K stronger?
Rather than from the platinum group, there are some claims that a "990 gold" alloy of 99% gold, 1% titanium is harder than pure gold, and can be work hardened to obtain something comparable to the lesser gold alloys in hardness:

http://www.gold.org/discover/sci_indu/GBull/1999_2/CORTI.PDF (Note - pdf document)

That's a document with some details. You can find a lot of brief blurbs like this, too:
A so-called "hard gold" is made by alloying it with one percent titanium (990 gold), which may be defined as 24 carat in some markets (such as chuk kam jewelery).
from http://www.artofplatinum.com/glossary/alloy.htm

Shannonrooo
09-04-2010, 01:23 AM
I just purchased a lovely ring made in Thailand 24k.And I will say its nothing I have ever seen.The craftmenship is so remarkable for jewerly that it would put Shane Co,JVC to shame.I like to say I spent alot,but it was better then Kmart at 70% off.I bought this as my wedding ring.I was so sick of the same old same old.I am not much into diamonds,or fancies.But for different fire agates and lapils they can rock when put in creative art work!:):)

DrDeth
09-04-2010, 01:40 AM
I doubt if any jewelry is actually 24kt, but yes, a lot of Asian gold jewelry is 18-22kt, not 14kt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_karat
22/22K - a quality mark indicating the purity of gold most popularly used in India. This purity was adapted and practiced by the big jewellers and was later passed to jewel smiths. The first 22 signifies the "Skin purity", the purity of the top layer of the gold jewelry, and the second 22 signifies that after melting purity of the gold jewellery will be 22-carat, or 91.67% of pure gold. ...
This symbol or stamp is very popular on the gold jewellery business in Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Yemen, and Persian Gulf countries.

Even on eBay the only "24 karat gold" jewelry is plated.

Mind you, 22kt gold looks just like 24kt gold.

Kobal2
09-04-2010, 04:09 AM
Who knew zombies were into bling ?

commasense
09-05-2010, 03:13 PM
Yeah, I got to the fifth post and saw it was by Q.E.D., and thought, "He hasn't posted here in a while," and then I remembered. Now I'm bummed. I miss Q.E.D.

samclem
09-05-2010, 04:11 PM
I doubt if any jewelry is actually 24kt, but yes, a lot of Asian gold jewelry is 18-22kt, not 14kt. I'm pretty familiar with gold jewelry and what karat it is. We buy quite a bit of 24K(.999 fine) gold chains which I believe come from Thailand and Hong Kong. Perhaps other places.

Most from India is stamped 22ct. Also quite a bit from the mid-East is 21K. Some is 18K but flashed with 21-22. But, it's almost always marked, sometimes in Arabic.

John Mace
09-05-2010, 04:40 PM
Who knew zombies were into bling ?

Apparently, they are also annoyed by certain commercials. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=24603)

Mahaloth
09-05-2010, 08:14 PM
My original wedding ring is from China and it is 24k.

I did see a lot of 24k jewelry there, too.

I got another one for daily use, as it is too soft.

Siam Sam
09-06-2010, 12:48 AM
I dunno anything about Chinese gold, but I just wanted to say I do have some 22 carat and 24 carat gold. The 22 carat is in the form of a necklace and earrings; the 24 carat is a pair of earrings. Neither come from China - I bought all of them in Santa Fe, from jewelry stores that carry lines from specific artists.

I love the look of 22 and 24 carat gold, and would love a 22 carat ring, but everyone tells me it's a bad idea. :(
What kind of ring? My wedding ring was from Thailand and was 24K. It did eventually break but only after 15 years of wearing it 24 X 7. I did bend it a lot when lifting weights but it always bent back into shape just fine. If you are talking about something with a setting then that would be a different matter.
I also like the color and heft of pure or nearly pure, gold

I don't know diddley squat about gold, but my late mother-in-law did, and so do many others in the wife's family. They, and others in Thailand, swear not all gold is the same here. They say many places mix in inferior grades. My mother-in-law selected our rings for us from one her usual shops in Bangkok's Chinatown. Mine's quite large, and it has lasted certainly for more than 15 years of wearing it 24/7. Dunno what carat it's supposed to be. I guess it just depends on who made your ring and how ethical they were.

Athena
09-06-2010, 08:56 AM
Hey! Zombie thread!

For the record, I did end up getting a ring, but it's only 19.2 carat. It's plenty purdy.

I've also managed to acquire a 24 carat bracelet since this thread was started 6 years ago. Go me!

septimus
09-06-2010, 10:17 AM
Most of the gold sold in Thailand is near 24 karat. I've read that it's really 23.8 karat, if that makes any sense, or damned near but not quite pure.

Googling suggests it's closer to 23.2 karat, but in any event it's too pure for the nicer delicate designs to maintain their integrity for long. :(

I remember a Thai woman showing me a Valentine's present from her Thai husband: He'd bought her a Western-style 18-karat item, but she confided to me that her husband didn't understand Thai culture! :D

I also remember a Thai jeweler telling me that while 18-karat gold purchased in Thailand wouldn't really be 75% gold -- they'd be "Thai karats" -- that 24 was a special case, and 24k gold really was 24-karat!

suranyi
09-06-2010, 01:20 PM
My wife has beautiful 24-karat gold bracelet that was given to her by her parents when we got engaged. She wore it only on our wedding day; since then it sits in a safe. It's much too valuable (and damageable) to wear every day.

She is Chinese.

robcaro
09-06-2010, 03:33 PM
There is a lot of 24K gold jewelery in Colombia. See link: http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?SearchText=24k+gold+bracelets&IndexArea=product_en&ssk=y&src=Google&albch=Google&albcp=Search_search-others-naixiao1&albkw=24k%20gold%20bracelets_Others-Search-Product-Test_site_no&albag=buydir_none_timepieces-jewelry-eyewear-24k%20gold%20bracelet_product&albmt=Broad&albst=search&albom=Others_None_20100122&tiaozhuan=no

kidneyfailure
09-06-2010, 10:43 PM
My wedding ring (bought in China) is 24K gold (or at least it says it is). It bends very easily but I do wear it every day. Never had a problem.

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