One of the few things that never goes out of style is gold. That’s why it has been an essential part of jewelry that has been made for centuries!

Gold can be found in necklaces, wedding rings, chains, bracelets, earrings, and any other form of jewelry that has been created over the years. It is a coveted item to use in jewelry making because it won’t tarnish or stain the skin. It has low allergen ratings as well and it can be worked into virtually any shape.

The main issue is that gold can come in a wide variety of grades. There is also some terminology that your local jeweler might use or an online retailer might include in a description that could leave you scratching your head! Here is a look at how you can buy the best gold jewelry today.

Look At the Grade

Gold jewelry can come in 10K gold up to 24K gold. Gold, just like diamonds and other jewels, is graded in karats. The more karats that you have, then the better the item really is. Pure gold is 24 karats [24K], while many of the cheaper gold items that you can find are just 10K. This is generally marked on the jewelry somewhere. Look at the grade and make sure you’re getting a fair price.

Are There Numbers?

European jewelry marks the grade of the gold in a percentage instead of in karats. If you find a piece that is marked “750,” then you’ve got jewelry that is 18K gold because it is 75% pure.

What Is a Hallmark?

You won’t find greeting cards on a piece of gold jewelry. You will find that the maker has left their hallmark or a trademark that identifies them. Many gold pieces also have a country of origin marking on them as well.

Is It Really Solid Gold?

In the United States, as long as a piece of jewelry is made from 10K gold, it can be marketed as being “solid” gold. Gold is a pretty soft material, so items that are 24K gold tend to be a little more pliable. That’s why other alloys are mixed in with the gold for some pieces of jewelry – to make them more durable. With that being said, if someone tells you those earrings are solid gold, ask them about the karats if you don’t see it marked.

Has It Been Plated?

Some jewelry isn’t made from gold, but it is plated with gold. You might hear someone describe a ring as being “gold washed.” This means that the gold has been applied in a very thin layer. These thin plates don’t tend to last very long, although they often look rather pretty while they do last.

What Is in That Gold?

Most jewelry makers will include nickel with their gold. Nickel is a pretty common allergy, so look for at least 18K gold items to reduce allergic reactions. To save money over pure gold, 22K gold is also a viable option.