Gold Beads

Written by Sarah Provost
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Gold beads commonly come in two varieties, gold filled and gold plated. Gold-plated beads have a very thin surface layer of gold on a base metal bead. This layer is only seven millionths of an inch, so obviously it can be scratched or rubbed away easily. Gold-filled beads are usually 14K/20, which means that at least one-twentieth of its total weight is 14 karat gold. These will last a lifetime with good care.

A karat is a measure of gold's purity. Pure gold is 24 karats, but it is usually considered too soft for jewelry making. 18 and 14 karats are standard for gold beads, as opposed to gold-filled beads, which have only a percentage of gold of whatever karats.

The best gold beads are seamless. Those that are made by soldering two hemispheres together will often show a silver line at the seam. The price range of seamless round beads varies widely, from a few dollars for gold plate to a few hundred for 18-karat beads. Care for your gold beads by wiping them with a soft cloth after each wearing, and avoiding contact with perfumes, cosmetics, and hair spray.

Many Designs of Gold Beads Are Available

While shiny round beads are classic, there are many other shapes of gold beads to be found. Ovals, tubes, disks, cubes, twists and heart shapes are readily available. Some of the most common finishes are matte, stardust, corrugated, and moonscape. Stardust finishes coat the bead with a fine powder of gold, while moonscape beads are finished with a laser, which gives them an irregular surface.

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