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Gold is a soft, malleable yet dense and durable material. It has a bright yellow colour and attractive shine, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Because of the softness of pure 24 carat (abbreviated to CT) gold, gold is usually alloyed with base metals when used to craft jewellery. This in turn alters the hardness, ductility, melting point, colour and other properties of the gold. Alloys with a lower carat value, typically 22CT, 18CT, 14CT or 10CT, contain higher percentages of copper or other base metals.
24CT contains 99.9% pure gold
18CT contains 75.0% pure gold
14CT contains 58.5% pure gold
9CT contains 37.5% pure gold
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually silver, nickel or palladium. Copper can be added to increase malleability. The difference in colour between yellow and white gold is determined by the metals used in the alloy mix. The gold content of white gold is measured in the same way for yellow gold i.e. an 18CT white gold ring contains 75% pure gold, just as 18CT yellow gold contains 75% pure gold.
Rose gold is made using a mixture of pure gold with alloys including copper. Copper provides a rose-reddish colour to the metal. Rose gold is hard and strong due to its high copper content. The gold content of rose gold is measured in the same way for yellow gold i.e. an 18CT rose gold ring contains 75% pure gold, just as 18CT yellow gold contains 75% pure gold.
Platinum is silver-white in colour, shiny, ductile, and malleable. It is an extremely rare metal, and its resistance to wear and tarnish makes it ideal for making fine jewellery. Unlike gold, Platinum is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). It is slightly heavier than gold. Because of its quality and rarity, Platinum is significantly more expensive than gold.