Gold is a wonder like no other with its shiny, luxurious appearance. It’s the athlete’s dream, the economy’s standard and a timeless treasure. The companion to silver, gold has its own properties and colors, which is why it has been revered for millennia. People, including myself, love to wear gold jewelry. But how do you know if it’s real gold?

A turquoise and gold ring and a thick gold band ring
Featuring: Judith Ripka Jewelry

What Are the Different Types of Gold?

Gold can be pretty easy to get lost in with various colors such as white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, gold plated, etc. The metal changes color based on varying amounts of elements added.

Here are a few periodic table terms you may have not heard of in years. To produce green gold, different amounts of silver, copper, and cadmium may be alloyed in differing percentages to create a range of green gold shades. The warmer pink and red shades require mixed amounts of copper and silver. The element aluminum plays a role in purple’s coloring and iron in blue’s that make for a unique take on a classic.

Karats: Measuring the Purity of Gold

Along with colors, gold comes in multiple purities like 9k, 14k or 22k. The word “purities" is fancy for the amount of pure gold in an item. A piece of gold is not valued based on its color but on its purity using karats. Every karat of gold other than 24k is a mixture of pure gold and other alloys. For example, 24k gold is 24 parts (99.9%) gold, 18k gold is 18 parts (75%) gold plus six parts alloys and so on.

If you want the good stuff, 24k gold is the way to go. This is the ultimate purity of gold - made out of one hundred percent real gold. The more gold an item contains, the richer the color will be. This make-up of metal is used to make gold bars and gold coins. Since it is completely pure, it is the most expensive out of all the purities. For an ounce of 24k gold, you are looking at a price tag of around $1,700!

Varying styles of gold necklaces
Featuring: JTV Gold Jewelry

Gold Jewelry’s Characteristics

You may be like me and think that gold jewelry does not have any characteristics other than being shiny and pretty. It turns out that gold is defined by three main characteristics: ductility, malleability and corrosion resistance.


The first, ductility, is gold’s ability to be drawn into very thin wires without breaking. One ounce of gold can produce a wire nearly five miles long. Intricate pieces of handmade real gold jewelry are possible due to gold’s ductility.


Secondly, malleability is the ability of a material to be reshaped or extended by a process such as hammering. Gold is so malleable that it can be hammered out into extremely thin sheets. Gold leaf, used to adorn buildings and embellish objects, is one application of gold's malleability.

Corrosion Resistance

Lastly, corrosion resistance is the ability of a material to combat corrosion. No single acid and very few chemicals will react with gold, making it extremely stable and long lasting and ideal for jewelry especially if you are tougher on your jewelry.

Various styles of gold hoop earrings
Featuring: JTV Gold Jewelry

Where to Buy Real Gold Jewelry

Now that you know what it takes for gold jewelry to be the real deal, you may be wondering where you can buy real gold jewelry. Don’t fret because JTV has you covered! We have a wide selection of gold jewelry brands to choose from. Each collection has its own unique style to suit your preferences!

18k Gold: Moda al Massimo

Meaning "ultimate fashion" in Italian, Moda al Massimo® is our 18 karat gold over bronze collection. This line combines sophistication, luxe style and affordable prices. Moda al Massimo allows you to experience the indulgence of dazzling gold pieces!

18k yellow gold rope link necklace
Featuring: Moda al Massimo by JTV

14kt Gold: Splendido Oro

The Splendido Oro™ collection is another Italian gold jewelry line comprised of 14 karat gold. While the price point is higher due to the gold content, many of the pieces are created to be dainty, lightweight, and sometimes hollow. This minimizes the amount of gold used, which reduces the cost. Each design is inspired by high Italian culture, art, architecture and landscape, fashioned using ancient Italian techniques.

Featuring: JTV
Gold bracelet, rings and necklace on model
Featuring: Splendido Oro by JTV
Gold heart pendant with gold chain
Featuring: Splendido Oro by JTV

10k Gold

JTV offers a rich selection of 10 karat gold, which contains the lowest amount of gold to legally be considered gold. This means that gold jewelry can be accessible at any budget. Don't get us wrong, 10k gold still has that gleam and glittery shine. It is the perfect gift to purchase for yourself or for others!

Gold Jewelry with Gemstones

Of course, we can't talk about gold without mentioning the gemstones set in it! Beyond the gold metal jewelry we offer, JTV carries a wide assortment of gold jewelry with colored gemstones. With green apatite in 10 karat gold to white diamonds in 14 karat gold, you can showcase gold with every color of the rainbow. You can also find plated gold jewelry with gemstones for a more affordable option.

Blue aquamarine gemstone set in a rose gold ring
Featuring: JTV Rose Gold Jewelry

How to Clean Your Gold Jewelry

Wearing your gold jewelry feels fabulous until it starts looking dirty. No one wants their pieces to look less than extravagant, so here are steps to help keep your treasures spotless!

  • Prep: You will need some ingredients to get the job done - two bowls, warm water, soap or jewelry cleaner, a soft cloth and a soft bristled brush.
  • Step 1: Start out by soaking your jewelry in soapy, warm water or jewelry cleanser, but if your jewelry includes gemstones, skip the cleanser. The jewelry cleaner can actually harm gemstones which you do not want.
  • Step 2: Brush your jewelry with the soft bristled brush then rinse it off in warm water. Make sure the brush is soft, so it does not damage your jewelry.
  • Step 3: Next, pat your gold jewelry dry with the soft cloth and make sure it is dry. You also have to make sure the cloth is not too rough or you will end up with scratched gold jewelry.
  • Step 4: Once the jewelry is thoroughly cleaned, store it separately since gold can easily be damaged by other pieces.


JTV gold jewelry and cleaning supplies for care and upkeep
Featuring: JTV Gold Jewelry
Featuring: JTV

5 Fast Facts about Real Gold Jewelry

If you are not a gold guru, no worries because here are some fast facts on this metal. Real gold is:

1. An element (Au) on the periodic table and considered a precious metal.
2. Very easy to work with because of its ductility, malleability and softness.
3. Non-reactive, which means it does not oxidize (tarnish).
4. Often used in conjunction with harder base metals (alloys) to make jewelry more durable.
5. Purity is denoted by the term “karat (kt),” which indicates the percent gold it contains out of 24 parts.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you buy real gold jewelry?

If you are looking to invest in real gold jewelry such as 10k, 14k or 18k, look no further than JTV's wide selection of gold jewelry. There are multiple categories to choose from starting with all metal gold jewelry, gold jewelry with gemstones or diamond gold jewelry. When you choose to shop at JTV, you can have complete confidence that you'll find genuine gold jewelry at an incredible value.

How do you clean gold jewelry?

There are a few cleaning supplies required and steps you will need to take in order to keep your gold jewelry sparkling.

The cleaning supplies you will need are: warm water, soap or jewelry cleaner, two bowls, a soft cloth and a soft bristled brush, like a tooth brush.

First, soak your gold jewelry in soapy warm water or jewelry cleanser, but if your jewelry includes gemstones, avoid the cleanser. The gemstones can be harmed by the jewelry cleaner.

Next, take your soft bristled brush and scrub the jewelry then rinse it off in warm water. It is important to use a soft brush, so it does not damage the jewelry.

After rinsing your gold jewelry off, pat it completely dry with a soft cloth. Be sure to use a soft cloth or you will scratch the gold jewelry.

Once your jewelry is thoroughly cleansed, store it separately from other pieces since gold can easily be damaged.

What is a karat?

A karat indicates the percent of gold an item contains, it is a measure of the purity of gold. For example, 24k gold is pure gold while 14k gold is a mixture of gold and other alloys.

Natalie Neal

Natalie's favorite jewelry metal to wear is gold! She will sometimes mix and match her metals, but overall, she is a gold girl at heart.

Rebecca Matthews, Jerry Sisk, GG; Co-Founder, Jewelry Television® and Holly Evans contributed to this article.

Natalie Neal