THE purest form of gold is 24 carat. In Fiji, the 22 carat gold is more popular, Lords Jewellers said. Gold is alloyed with other metals to give it strength, the company said. "Common gold alloys are silver, copper, nickel and zinc. The purity of gold in gold jewellery is measured in carats," spokesman Himmat Lodhia said.
He said 22 carat gold was made up of 91.6 per cent pure gold with 8.4 per cent of other metals to form an alloy. 18 carat gold was made up of 75 per cent pure gold and 25 per cent alloy while nine karat gold comprised 37.5 per cent pure gold.
Nine carat gold is more durable and affordable, Mr Lodhia said. Yellow gold is made up of 50 per cent silver and 50 per cent copper in its alloy, while white gold is alloyed with nickel, zinc, copper, tin and manganese. Pink or rose gold is alloyed with 90 per cent copper and 10 per cent silver.
Silver on the other hand has a hardness of 2.5 which is relatively soft and easily damaged. Like gold, it is alloyed with other metals to make it suitable for jewellery making. At Lords Jewellers, the sterling silver is made up of 92.5 per cent pure silver and 7.5 per cent copper. Lords Jewellers said jewellery should be kept away from harsh chemicals like chlorine and cleaning fluids.
"Do not wear your jewellery if you are doing anything that may knock or dent it. Store jewellery separately in the pouches and boxes supplied or in soft cloth bags to reduce abrasions," Mr Lodhia said. As hard as they are in their natural form, diamonds can be damaged. They can chip or fracture through areas of weakness in the structure. "Diamonds need to be treated with care to ensure they last forever. To be sure your diamonds always sparkle, it is important to clean them regularly," Mr Lodhia said.