Pure gold is too soft to be used for mountings, which must be resistant to wear as they protect and display gemstones. For this reason, metals such as copper, silver, zinc, and palladium are fused with gold at high melting temperatures to form rugged "alloyed gold". In addition to providing strength to gold, these metals influence the color, luster and texture of the gold alloy.
In the making of jewelry, the gold content in an alloyed gold is represented by the "karat", abbreviated as "Kt". Pure gold is represented as 24 Karat and the content of pure gold in an alloyed gold, by weight, is a ratio of 24 Karat.
The following table lists how it breaks down:
Most jewelry sold in the United States is 10 Kt & 14 Kt gold.
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