Collecting Gold Charms
A jewelry collection can consist of many different types of pieces, but most like to focus their collection around a certain theme. If you don’t want to limit yourself too much (say as in only collecting gnome charms from the 50s), concentrating on a particular material gives you the freedom of assembling a huge variety of charms but still keep the collection cohesive. And while charms in some materials (like titanium for example) are not widely available, focusing on gold opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Pure gold, or 24 karat gold, like pure silver, is too soft to be used effectively in jewelry making, especially for charms which tend to be bumped against each other in bracelets and necklaces. Pure gold can be beaten into gold sheets thin enough to become translucent, and thus is very valuable for industrial uses. But for the jeweler, alloys that enhance the hardness, color, and other properties make it more able to retain the delicate shape of a master’s fine work.
The higher the karat, the higher the purity of the alloy, 18kt gold tooth gems Australia but that isn’t necessarily reflected directly in the price or the value of any single piece of jewelry, especially as part of a complete collection.
As mentioned above, in addition to providing gold with hardness, alloys affect its color, changing it from pink (when alloyed with copper), to white (mixed with nickel or palladium). Even purple gold can be produced with the addition of aluminum. This range of subtle colorations creates additional possibilities for themed collections using simple shapes and color variations.
Vintage and antique charms need to be evaluated for their condition as much as for their gold content. Like silver, modern gold is stamped to certify its gold content. 18kt gold, or 75% pure gold, for instance, will normally be stamped with either the number 750, 18kt, 18kt or 18K. On 22k, which is 91.6% gold and 8.4% other metals, you will see 916, 22k, 22kt or 22K, and so on.
Makers’ marks do not indicate gold content, but they do identify the creator of the jewelry and provide another indicator of the value of each piece.
While the material, workmanship, and age of each piece gives it most of its value, the name of the maker can be the final indicator of its price. Research into the provenance (or origin and history) of gold charms will enhance a collector’s ability to put together a unique and treasured collection.