What Does It Mean?
Pure gold is called 24 Karat gold. It is beautiful, but very soft. To make gold harder and more suitable for jewelry, it is mixed with other metals to make alloys. For example, 14 K means that 14 parts of the alloy are gold, and 10 parts are other metals. This karat is often used for jewelry in the United States of America, but is only slightly more than half gold. Typically, Europeans expect 18 K or higher, and Asians are seldom satisfied with anything less than 22 K gold.
Various metals can be mixed with gold, depending on how the user wants the metal to behave. For example, gold used for dental work needs to be hard, so titanium can be one of the metals mixed with the gold. To make jewelry, the gold must retain some of its malleability, so it is often mixed with silver and copper. These metals also change the color of the gold alloy, making green and red gold respectively.
When working with gold, Kristin works only with 18 K yellow gold. As an aging goldsmith, she intends to spend whatever time is left to her on this Earth working only with high quality materials.