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The History of Gold Jewellery

The History of Gold Jewellery

Gold jewellry has always been prized for its beauty and rarity. Its malleability makes it ideal for jewellery making and its low reactivity means it will not corrode or react with atmospheric moisture or oxygen. This combination of qualities has meant that over time it has become the most sought-after precious metal on the planet and is considered one of the safest investments for your money.

The first civilisation to utilise gold for decorative and ceremonial purposes was ancient Egypt. Its smiths mined the element from alluvial deposits and melted it in order to separate it into pure Gold for use as jewellery and ornamentation. The treasures buried in Tutankhamun’s tomb totalled a staggering 9 tons and included masterfully processed gold adornments, a sarcophagus, a death mask, a throne and sculptures.

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Following on from this the art of gold processing and crafting began to evolve across Mesopotamia, Greece, Italy, Crete and the Arabian Peninsula. The jewellery of these times was a showcase of status and wealth. It also doubled as a symbolic representation of godly power and faith.

Due to its softness, gold cannot be used on its own and is alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, nickel and zinc in order to create durable jewellery. Modern jewellery is stamped with the gold purity it contains in karats (K). The higher the karat value of a piece, the greater its concentration of pure Gold. To test the authenticity of an item a jeweller will file an inconspicuous part of it against a touchstone or other precious metal testing stone. A true touchstone will produce a streak of gold while an imitation will leave no mark at all.

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