Product Guide: Using Gold in Jewelry

Using Gold in Jewelry

Gold has been highly valued and sought after, for currency and for jewelry, since long before the beginning of recorded history. Because it is easily smelted, hammered flat, and pulled into wire, resistant to corrosion and distinctive in appearance and color, its popularity endures to this day. Gold symbolizes timelessness, and is associated with wisdom, purity, and achievement. From its traditional use in wedding rings and classically-designed jewelry to its prevalence in style movements such as Art Deco, Steampunk, and retro and vintage looks, gold is a versatile and stylish addition to a wide variety of design aesthetics. Today, yellow gold, be it the metal or the color, is appearing on the runway, on the red carpet, and on the street in the form of trendy layered necklaces, bold cuffs, stacked charm bangles, and more. Read on to learn more about using gold in your jewelry design.

Choosing Gold Components

Gold is a soft and expensive metal, so it is often alloyed, or mixed, with other metals to create more durable components. Gold content is measured in karats, which indicates the amount of gold in an alloy on a 0 to 24 scale, with 24K gold being 100% pure gold.

To achieve the desirable appearance and glow of gold without the cost, many opt for gold-plated or gold-filled findings. Electroplating, also known as electrolysis, is a chemical process that uses an acid bath and electricity to coat a base metal with a thin layer of gold or another precious metal. This coating is typically only a few microns thick, but the finished gold-plated items are indistinguishable to the eye from a gold alloy. Gold-filled items (sometimes called "rolled gold") are made by mechanically bonding a layer of gold to a base metal. This outer layer of gold is much thicker than gold-plate, making gold-filled items more durable and valuable. Gold-filled items are described with certain notations that can indicate to the buyer the quality and the quantity of the metals used. For example, one commonly seen notation is 14/20; the first number indicates the karat of the gold used (in this case, 14K), and the second number indicates the fraction of the total piece composed of gold alloy (here, 1 part in 20 of the total metal, or 5%). The color of gold-plated and gold-filled items can vary slightly, due to metal composition and manufacturer processes; therefore, for consistency, jewelry makers should stick to either gold-plated or gold-filled components throughout the entirety of each piece. Beadaholique carries an extensive selection of both gold-plated and gold-filled items.

Shop Gold Beads, Charms, and Pendants

  • Gold-Plated Beads
  • Gold-Plated Charms
  • Gold-Plated Pendants
  • Gold-Plated Stamping Blanks
  • Gold-Filled Beads
  • Gold-Filled Charms
  • Gold-Filled Pendants

Shop Gold Chain, Wire, and Findings

Match your gold focal elements with a variety of gold chains, wires, and findings. Bulk chain is available by the foot or by the inch, and we also have a selection of gold-plated finished necklaces. Gold wire is perfect for wire wrapping and for creating your own findings. To finish your golden creations, shop our selection of clasps, jump rings, head pins and eye pins, and more.

  • Gold Chain
  • Gold Wire
  • Gold Clasps
  • All Gold Findings

Other Gold Options

We also have a selection of charms, pendants, and beads plated in 16K gold with a matte gold finish. For sterling silver items that have been plated with gold, see our selection of vermeil beads and findings. Gold-tone items are gold in color only, and have no gold content. They can be similarly colored metals, such as brass, or coated plastic or glass. By searching for “gold” on our website, you may also find similarly colored non-metallic components, such as colored beading thread, pearls, or gemstones, such as citrine and pyrite. Swarovski also carries a number of gold-tone crystals and faux pearls , which combine beautifully with gold findings.


Featured Projects

These designer-curated projects use a wide variety of techniques to create luxurious gold jewelry. Be sure to check out our Beading Projects & Tutorials page for even free beading projects and ideas. Find more inspiration on Pinterest, at our Black and Gold Elegant Color Story board. And be sure to visit our blog for an in-depth analysis of big gold trends!

Featured Video

One popular trend utilizing gold is charm necklaces. In this video, learn step by step how to make a beautiful gold-filled charm necklace.

To see a list of the supplies used in this video, visit our page for How to Make a Gold Filled Charm Necklace.

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