Can Morganite Get Wet? The Main Dangers & Key Precautions

Can Morganite Get Wet? The Main Dangers & Key Precautions

Your hands come in contact with water many times every day. If you want to keep your Morganite ring looking as beautiful and new as the day you got it, you’re probably wondering …

Can Morganite get wet? Water can dull or damage your Morganite ring, especially when exposure is frequent and prolonged. Morganite doesn’t discolor or fall apart as an immediate result of water contact, but regular exposure can have an impact over time. It can cause loss or damage in a variety of ways.

Different types of water can affect Morganite in different ways. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll explain how water from various sources can potentially cause damage to your ring. I’ll also share information on how you can safely use water to keep your ring looking bright and new.

Protecting your Morganite Ring

The hardness and the toughness of your stone are at the heart of durability. I won’t go into any major detail about either aspect right now, because I have other articles that address each of those areas more deeply.

To quickly summarize, hardness has to do with scratch resistance. The harder a stone is, the less likely it is to get scratched. As scratches accumulate, they can rob a stone of its ability to gather and channel light, making it look old and tired. Diamond is the hardest gem known to man. It has incredible scratch resistance. That doesn’t mean that it CAN’T be scratched, but it isn’t easy for your diamond ring to get scratched up as you go about your daily routine because it’s so hard.

Some stones, like diamonds, are extremely hard, but not equally tough. Toughness has to do with their ability to absorb impacts and pressures without breaking or shattering. Diamonds are so hard that they become brittle. If a diamond falls onto a tile floor, it’s very possible that it will crack or break. I’ve seen it happen. Whether a particular diamond beaks when it falls on a hard surface has to do with a lot of factors (how far did it fall, where was the point of impact, the nature and placement of inclusions, etc). My point is, that hardness isn’t all that matters when it comes to durability.

All rings have to be handled with care. While diamonds are hard, they certainly aren’t indestructible. Protecting your jewelry from damage DOESN’T mean that you have to leave it in your jewelry box constantly. Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect your ring from damage.

  • Keep your Morganite ring away from other rings (they can scratch each other if they make contact).
  • Be present and aware. Try not to bump or brush against things accidentally as you go about your daily routines.
  • Keep the ring away from water as much as possible (take it off first).

We’ll talk about the specific threats that water from different sources can pose in a moment. Before diving into that, I want to quickly point out that some diamond enthusiasts might argue that diamonds are worth their high cost because of their incredible hardness (durability). That has SOME validity on the surface, but there are a couple of important points that should be considered:

  1. Diamonds also aren’t indestructible.
  2. You can easily purchase multiple Morganite stones for the cost of one diamond. This means that you probably can’t save money by purchasing a diamond—based on durability logic.

Some might contend that they DON’T WANT a replacement stone (for sentimental reasons). I get that—everyone will need to make their own decisions on this issue. In my mind, a replacement stone from your spouse is just as special as the original stone they provided for your ring. Both symbolize the same commitment, and can do it equally well.

This is all just contemplation of a ‘worst case scenario,’ it’s hypothetical, but again, if your Morganite got damaged at some point, you could buy another (maybe even a stone with better coloring) and STILL save a boat-load of savings over purchasing a diamond center stone instead.

The Dangers of Treated Water: Sinks, Showers, Bathtubs, Hot Tubs & Swimming Pools

The treated water that your hands come in contact with as you shower, wash your hands, or swim, could damage your morganite over time. The biggest risk comes from chemical exposure. Chlorine is added to the water you shower and wash your hands with. It’s also added to most pools and hot tubs to help keep the water sanitary.

Can you wear Morganite in a pool? It’s really not a good idea, but the ring won’t instantly fall apart either. Even diluted Chlorine probably isn’t great for your Morganite stone, but the bigger problem is the impact that Chlorine has on some metals—like gold. Chlorine can attack and eat gold. It frequently weakens the prongs on these rings, causing them to bend or break more easily. That’s not an impact that you’re likely to see right away, it takes repeated exposure over time before any damage will likely be noticed. 

The toll that Chlorine takes on gold isn’t visible to the naked eye—it’s microscopic. Because of this, some people believe their ring isn’t being harmed. They may continue believing that until the day they finally lose their center stone because a prong bent or broke. Even then, they may have trouble connecting the loss to water exposure because the damage was so gradual.

A good friend of mine found a large diamond on the floor in an airport. There are lots of potential reasons that prongs holding that diamond may have failed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if damage from repeated water contact was a contributing factor.

In addition to the damage that’s sometimes caused by Chlorine, you can also encounter mineral deposits from hard water that form on the surface of your Morganite. These deposits are simply dissolved minerals that are in our tap water. They get left behind as the water dries. They can leave your stone looking dull and lifeless until it gets cleaned well.

A related risk that can also make your Morganite look dull and muted, is build up from the various soaps, shampoos, and conditioners that we use while showering or washing our hands. It’s a really good idea to remove your ring before bathing, showering, soaking, or washing your hands. Some people really don’t want to take their rings off. They feel like they’re breaking a commitment to continually wear their ring, they’re concerned that they might forget the ring and leave it behind somewhere…or the extra step just sounds inconvenient.

Is it Common to Remove Your Ring Before Showering?

Some feel like it’s overkill to remove their rings before doing common practices like washing their hands, washing dishes, or showering. It’s a polarizing issue. Some habitually remove them, others never do. Which camp are you in? Want to hear how others approach the issue? I published an article recently where I share findings from research that I did on this issue. Take a quick look—you may find the data interesting!

The Dangers of Untreated Water: the Ocean, Lakes, Rivers, & Streams

There’s no Chlorine in lakes, rivers, streams, or the ocean, so what’s the real danger of water in those environments? Simple contact with water won’t cause your stone to fade, crack or break. The common dangers can be quite different for these outdoor water sources in some cases.

Salt: Saltwater can be hard on some ring components. Like Chlorine, it’s especially hard on gold. Repeated exposure can damage your rings over time. Here too, the damage isn’t immediate or visibly noticeable, so it can be unnoticed and overlooked for quite some time. The impact of the damage often comes first in the form of weak or broken prongs. Fragile prongs mean that you could potentially lose your Morganite at some point in the future. Because of those risks, it’s best to remove your ring before jumping in.

Woman Swimming in Ocean as She Wonders Will Water Hurt Morganite

Shrinkage: Water can make your ring fit differently for a while. When our hands soak for long periods of time, the diameter of our fingers can change. That happens because our skin starts to shrivel with prolonged exposure, and because cold water causes some temporary shrinkage.

If your ring fits more loosely in the water, there’s a greater chance that your ring could slip off and get lost.

Motion: As you splash and play, rapid movement of water around your stone could potentially loosen the setting.

Outdoor water is also often hard to see through (it’s murky), so you sometimes run the risk of bumping or brushing against something hard, like a rock, a shell—maybe even a watch that someone near you is wearing. That contact could potentially scratch or loosen your Moissanite.

Between poor visibility, silt or sand, and the movement of water, If your stone happens to slip out of its setting while you’re in the water, chances of recovery are slim-to-none.

Spotting: The movement of water in Rivers, Streams, and the Ocean break things down and then move that debris along in a tide or current. Dissolved minerals can dry to form mineral deposits on the surface of your Morganite stone. The deposits only mute the look of your ring until it’s cleaned—but they can also leave a grit on the surface of the ring that could potentially lead to scratches.

How to Make Morganite Sparkle

Over time, the natural oils from your skin can combine with dirt and dust in your everyday environment to create a film that coats the surface of your ring, making it look dull. The film blocks light from entering and moving around inside the ring the way it normally would. Removing the grime isn’t difficult or expensive. All you really need is water, mild dish soap, a soft toothbrush, and a clean towel.

Add a few drops of dish soap to a small bowl of warm water. Dip your soft-bristled toothbrush in the water and then scrub the surface of the Morganite very gently with it. Be careful to get the brustles under the stone and around all prongs as well as possible. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse the ring well, and then dry thoroughly by dabbing carefully with the towel. If possible, it’s a good idea to use a blow dryer on a cool setting to ensure that the ring is fully dry. Without the blow dryer, It can be very difficult to dry the crevices around the prongs and the area beneath your center stone.

In Summary

Morganite can be a wonderful addition to your ring. It’s beautiful, hard enough for daily wear, and distinctive. In order to keep it looking it’s best for the long term, it’s best to avoid contact with water—except when you’re cleaning it. When it does get wet, gently dry it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Related Posts:

Are Morganite Rings Expensive? Cost Per Carat vs Diamond

Are Morganite Rings Durable? How Long Can They Last?

How Can You Tell if Morganite is Real or Fake?

 

 

Are Morganite Rings Durable? How Long Can They Last?

Are Morganite Rings Durable? How Long Can They Last?

Morganite rings are head turners! They make beautiful engagement rings, wedding rings, and promise rings, but will they stand the test of time?

Are Morganite rings durable? Morganite rings are durable, but they aren’t indestructible. Morganite is a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. That makes the stone hard enough to resist moderate wear, but not hard enough to resist abuse or carelessness. Diamonds are much harder, but they also cost at least 10 times as much.

Durability is a big deal when it comes to the rings we use to mark significant relationship milestones. In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll explore many aspects of Morganite’s durability.

How Hard is Morganite?

The hardness of stones is typically communicated in terms of the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The scale quantifies ‘relative’ hardness (or how hard one stone is in relation to another), rather than providing an ‘absolute,’ or independent, hardness measurement.

Morganite is a 7.5 to 8 on the scale, but that information only has meaning if you know the hardness score of other stones—so you can tell if Morganite is harder or softer than each of them.

Friedrich Mohs created this scale in 1812, by taking 10 rocks and doing scratch testing with them to figure out which was hardest, which was the second hardest, third hardest, etc. After making those observations, he assigned the lowest number (a ‘1’) to the softest rock in his test, and the highest score (a ‘10’) to the hardest rock. All other rocks were arranged from hardest to softest and assigned a number as well.

The following chart shows the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Notice where Morganite falls (and the stones that are harder and softer).

Stone:
Hardness:
Talc
1
Gypsum
2
Calcite
3
Fluorite
4
Apatite
5
Orthoclase
6
Quartz
7
Topaz
8
Sapphire
9
Diamond
10

Can Morganite be Worn Everyday?

Morganite IS durable enough for everyday wear, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to exercise some care and precaution in order to keep your rings safe. In fact, even though diamonds are the hardest stone on earth, they aren’t indestructible. If you aren’t careful, they can scratch.

Diamonds can also fracture or break if they’re dropped. Hard to believe right? Diamonds are incredibly hard (scratch resistant), but that also leaves them brittle. What’s the implication? Hit a diamond with a hammer, and it will likely break in two or shatter. My little sister’s engagement ring fell off a counter and hit their tile floor. The diamond broke on impact—diamonds are hard but brittle.

Morganite is less hard…but also less brittle. It likely wouldn’t crack in two if you dropped it onto a tile floor. In that particular aspect, Morganite is MORE durable than diamond.

What can Scratch Morganite?

Since Morganite rates between 7.5 and 8 on Mohs Scale of hardness, anything that rates higher (anything harder) would certainly be capable of scratching Morganite. Saphire is a 9, and diamond is a 10 on the scale, for example, so both are capable of easily scratching Morganite if the stones come in contact with each other.

Storing loose rings together where they can make contact with each other is asking for trouble! You should store your rings so they can’t possibly come in contact with other jewelry items when you aren’t wearing them. If you don’t have a jewelry box that can separate rings well, you may need to take a more creative approach.

  • Store your rings in a plastic pill sorter (the kind that has different compartments representing different days of the week). The container should be able to keep each ring in its own little space.
  • Put each ring in individual Ziploc bags.
  • Wrap them in toilet paper and then apply a little tape to hold the toilet paper in place.
  • Hollow out some space in a packing peanut (about the same size as your ring), and then shove your ring into it until the ring fits snuggly and the peanut offers good protection.

In addition to the danger posed by harder gems, other items that you come across in your everyday environment may be hard enough to scratch Morganite as well. As you grab and hold things, carry objects, or swing your arms as you walk, your ring may accidentally come in contact with objects and materials that are capable of scratching it.

This is where being cautious with your ring really pays big dividends. While Morganite is a relatively hard stone, it still can, and will, scratch with the right brush or impact.

It would be impossible to create an exhaustive list of all the things you may come in contact with that are capable of scratching Morganite. In reality, the list could never be fully accurate, because part of the equation may also relate to force.

As an example, imagine that I very lightly ran a stone over a brick without applying any pressure at all. If the stone doesn’t get scratched by that encounter, it doesn’t mean that bricks CAN’T scratch the stone. If I repeated the same experiment, but this time pushed down on the stone with as much force as I can as I pulled it across the surface of the brick, my outcome could change. This just illustrates that there are multiple factors at play when it comes to protecting your rings.

It’s best to get in the habit of removing your ring before doing things like yard work, heavy exercise, or hobbies that might endanger it.

Does Morganite Get Cloudy?

In the early days of Cubic Zirconia, the stones would often start to take on a milky-white haze with time. People often refer to that type of change as ‘clouding’.

Morganite isn’t a stone that naturally clouds with time. It is possible that contact with harsh chemicals could cause the stone to take on a cloudy appearance, so I’d definitely recommend removing your ring before cleaning with household cleaners or handling other chemicals.

A more common cause of some clouding is the combination of dirt and oils that your ring is exposed to over the course of time. Your skin produces oils that can get on your stone over time, but applying lotions, sunscreen, cooking, and other similar products and activities can sometimes coat your stone in a film that can make it less clear and vibrant than normal. The good news, is that this form of clouding typically just requires a good cleaning to remedy.

We’ll talk about some simple options for cleaning your Morganite ring in a moment.

Does Morganite Lose its Color?

Morganite is often treated to enhance the color of the stone, making it more vibrant. The treatment is referred to as irradiation or heat treatment—they’re really just two names for the same process. Some claim that their enhanced Morganite ring HAS faded with time and prolonged exposure to the sun.

It’s hard to say why that would happen because Morganite is a stable stone that shouldn’t fade. The process used for enhancing the color of Morganite is a permanent treatment. It also shouldn’t fade at all with time or intense light exposure. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) also claims that Morganite (even treated Morganite) will not fade.

While I believe that’s the experience of most Morganite owners (including my wife), it’s hard to refute the fact that some people evidently do experience some fading with their particular ring. It’s difficult to say what’s different with their stones. There’s some speculation that some of the “Morganite” stones that experience fading are imitation Morganite. An imitation stone could be made of a material like glass, or it could be another stone—like Kunzite—which is famous for fading with light exposure.

Kunzite is so well known as a fading stone, that it’s long been called the ‘evening stone.’ The nickname comes from the fact that people typically only wear Kunzite in the evening (when the sun isn’t out). When exposed to sunlight, the Kunzite’s color washes out, permanently fading the stone.

As an interesting side note, George Kunz, the same man that discovered Morganite, also discovered Kunzite in 1902. He named the stone after himself, which is perhaps one more reason that he chose to later name Morganite after his banking friend, JP Morgan.

Potential Problems with Morganite Rings

ALL stones used in rings have both benefits and drawbacks. Highlighting the potential problems with Morganite rings in this section isn’t intended to imply that the stone is problematic, or should be avoided. My wife has two Morganite rings, and loves them!

This section is simply a convenience. It frames the core issues that some might view as potential negatives, so you can be sure you’re aware.

Morganite is softer than some other stones: Again, Morganite rates between 7.5 and 8 on Mohs Scale of Hardness. That’s not bad, but it’s also not ideal either. By comparison, a colored Cubic Zirconia rates 8 to 8.5. A colored Sapphire is rated at 9.

Even though the difference between those numbers isn’t huge (numerically), the resulting difference in hardness (scratch resistance) can be significant. If a Morganite stone gets too scratched or scuffed over time, it can be re-polished to make it look like new again.

Fading may be possible for some stones, though it isn’t likely: We discussed this issue above. Review that section if you haven’t already.

The color may clash with certain metals and gemstones: The peachy-pink coloring of this stone may not pair well with a variety of metals and colored gems. Yellow gold is an example of a metal that can sometimes clash with the look of Morganite. Rose Gold, on the other hand, can be stunning! Emerald (green) is an example of a gem that also might not pair well with the coloring of Morganite.

The cost is higher than some alternatives: Morganite is far less expensive than many gems (including Sapphire and diamond), but it’s significantly more expensive than colored Cubic Zirconia for example. Because Cubic Zirconia can be more scratch-resistant AND costs less, it feels like a better fit for some.

Can Morganite Get Wet?

You should keep your Morganite ring away from water as much as you can. You can wash the stone with water when needed, however other types of contact with water could have negative consequences with repeated exposure over time.

I’ll provide more information on how to clean and care for your Morganite below.

Here are a few examples of water-related activities that you should remove your Morganite ring for:

  • Showering
  • Swimming
  • Soaking in a hot tub
  • Playing in the ocean
  • Washing your hands

Why remove your ring for all these different encounters with water? There are several reasons actually.

  1. There is Chlorine in tap water—and an even higher concentration of Chlorine in the pool and hot tub water. Chlorine is a chemical that probably wouldn’t be good for Morganite, but it also attacks gold, doing microscopic damage that progresses over time. The greatest risk is weakened prongs. When prongs bend or break, the Morganite center stone could be lost.
  2. Dissolved minerals can settle on the surface of your Morganite in the form of hard water. Those deposits could lead to scratching, but they can also just create a film that blocks light flow and dulls the appearance of your ring until the stone is cleaned.
  3. Like Chlorine, saltwater is hard on gold and could lead to weakened prongs that eventually bend or break. Ocean water also has sand, shells, and other debris that might also lead to scratching or other damage.

Again, the impact of exposure to water typically isn’t immediate. The repercussions could take years to surface, so it’s easy to look at your ring and feel like no harm is being done. As I mentioned earlier, the early damage would require a microscope, and some experience to spot.

My wife has removed her ring for very little through the years. After more than a decade, a couple of the prongs bent, and she nearly lost her center stone. It’s best to avoid contact with water outside of occasional cleanings.

How do I clean a cloudy morganite ring?

When Morganite loses its glimmer, the cause is typically temporary and fixable. I’ll show you how to make Morganite sparkle again.

Basic cleaning is simple. Start with a warm bowl of water and some mild dish soap. Dawn is a popular brand that tends to do well. A small bottle of dish soap will typically cost $2.00 or less. You’ll also need a soft toothbrush that’s made for babies. You can typically find those at a neighborhood Dollar Store. Again, make sure that it’s a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Dip the toothbrush bristles in the warm soapy water and then gently scrub the ring. Work your way along each surface, and carefully scrub around each prong. Get the bristles under the center stone too if you can.

Once you’re done scrubbing the ring, rinse it with warm clean water and then gently dab it dry with a soft, and clean, towel. It may also help to use a blow drier on a cool setting to ensure the ring is COMPLETELY dry before slipping it back on your finger.

Can Morganite Go in an Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Handwashing with the method described above is the safest and most gentle, but Morganite is typically safe to clean with an Ultrasonic cleaner too. I say ‘typically,’ simply because any inclusions or filled fractures in a particular stone could potentially give them weak points or vulnerabilities that other similar stones wouldn’t have.

How often should I clean my morganite ring?

Cleaning frequency depends entirely on where, and how, you use your Morganite ring. I would suggest visually inspecting your ring every 3 to 4 weeks to see if it’s time for a cleaning. If the ring looks more muted or dull than normal, a cleaning should restore it, making it clear and vibrant again.

How Long do Morganite Rings Last?

Exactly how long Morganite lasts, again, depends on how it is worn and cared for. Diamonds and Moissanite are both hard enough to be considered ‘forever’ stones. Their hardness makes them so durable, and scratch-resistant, that they can literally last for generations. Morganite IS NOT considered a ‘forever stone.’ This doesn’t mean that Morganite is a disposable stone, or that it will typically only last a few years. As a matter of fact, Morganite is considered a relatively hard stone, and could last you for decades with proper care and attention.

Morganite won’t just disintegrate over time, but it can collect scratches over time that detract from its beauty and affect the flow of light in the stone. In the next section, I’ll mention how to take care of scratches once you’ve gotten to the point where you want to address them.

Removing Scratches and Scuffs From Morganite

Once scratches have accumulated on the surface of your Morganite ring to the point that they’re really interfering with the look and feel of your ring, you can have your Morganite stone re-polished. The polishing process will completely renew the look of your ring, giving you a fresh and clean surface again.

In Summary

Morganite is a gorgeous choice for engagement rings and rings that mark other special occasions. While it isn’t the hardest stone available, it still is relatively hard and is capable of being used for everyday wear.

If scratches pile up and start to really affect the look and feel of the stone, you can also ways have a jeweler repolish the stone to remove scratches and make it look like a brand new stone again!

Related Posts:

How Can You Tell if Morganite is Real or Fake?

Can Morganite be an Engagement Ring? | The Pros and Cons

How is Morganite Graded for Gem Quality?

Are Morganite Rings Expensive? Cost Per Carat vs Diamond

Are Morganite Rings Expensive? Cost Per Carat vs Diamond

Thinking of buying a Morganite ring? Morganite is gorgeous and distinctive, but can you afford it?

Are Morganite rings expensive? Morganite costs roughly $300 for a one-carat stone, however quality characteristics regarding color, cut, and clarity will influence the cost of individual stones. Size will also influence the cost of a given stone, but not to the same degree you would find with diamonds or other gems.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the cost of Morganite rings. I’ll address the key influencers of cost below.

What is Morganite?

Before diving into cost drivers, it might be useful to quickly explain what Morganite is, and where it came from. Morganite comes from the Beryl family. Emerald and Aquamarine are two other well-known Beryls. Morganite gets its beautiful range of pink tones from traces amounts of manganese.

In 1902, George Kunz discovered a stone that had color shades ranging from pink to purple, which he called Kunzite. In 1910, he discovered a new stone in Madagascar, with hues ranging from pink to peach, he decided to name it after someone else. George was good friends with J.P. Morgan, the banking tycoon, and enthusiastic gem collector. He delighted Mr. Morgan by naming his new discovery Morganite.

Morganite Supply and Demand

Stones can get quite expensive when there is strong demand for a particular type, but very limited supply. Diamonds are a good example of this. If they could easily find them in your yard, for example, they wouldn’t be coveted or valuable. It’s scarcity that makes us willing to shell out large sums of money for them.

In the case of diamonds, that scarcity is carefully orchestrated and controlled by dominant players in the diamond industry. It’s the sense of rarity and exclusivity, coupled with persuasive marketing messages, that fuels the sale of diamonds at incredibly high prices!

If the market were suddenly flooded with a supply of diamonds that far outpaced demand, prices would plummet and demand would begin to dry up. We would no longer crave diamonds if they didn’t provide us with a sense of exclusivity, and we certainly wouldn’t be willing to pay much for them if they were common.

Recognizing all that, diamond cartels carefully regulate the diamond supply to give the false appearance of scarcity. It works—even small stones can cost thousands of dollars!

Morganite isn’t controlled by a cartel of any kind. It’s essentially provided to the market as it’s mined, cut, and polished.

Morganite demand is strong, and seems to be getting stronger! One popular wedding site conducted a huge survey a couple of years ago. They found that Morganite was one of the most popular non-diamond center stones for engagement rings. Moissanite and Sapphire were also at the top of the list.

Morganite is only mined in a handful of countries. It’s primarily mined in Brazil and Madagascar. Less significant discoveries have also been made in places like China, Russia, Afghanistan, a couple of spots in the US, and few places on the African continent.

The price of Morganite could easily climb much higher in future years as demand continues to increase and some of the limited mines that exist get tapped out. If those scenarios play out, the GENUINE supply and demand imbalance could make Morganite MUCH more expensive.

Be careful when buying Morganite jewelry—especially as prices climb in the future due to the rarity of Morganite. There are always fake stones floating around that are made of glass or other materials. It’s a good idea to verify the authenticity of what you’re buying with a certificate from a trusted gemological institute where possible.

Morganite Price Per Carat

Morganite is one of those stones that you may want to consider if you want something a little different than what others are wearing. It’s also a stone that some turn to when they want a colored gemstone for their ring but can’t afford to go with a colored diamond.

Morganite price per ct. is approximately $300, however, there are a couple of caveats

  1. Value doesn’t always scale with size. Morganite is frequently found in larger fragments, so unlike diamonds and other similar gems, the value of Morganite doesn’t climb exponentially as stones get larger. In other words, a two carat stone will cost you more than a one-carat stone, but not MUCH more—and certainly not twice as much!
  2. Color is king. As mentioned earlier, the price of a particular stone is closely associated with the aesthetic characteristics of the stone (things like color, clarity, and cut). Of those visual elements, color is the most important cost driver! A small Morganite stone with vibrant pink color on a small Morganite stone, could be many times as much as a three-carat stone with pail (weak) coloring for example.
  3. Natural coloring adds value. Untreated stones are much more valuable than treated, or ‘enhanced’ stones. Here again, a small untreated stone with great coloring will be far more valuable than a much larger stone (with even more vibrant color) that has had its coloring enhanced.

In light of all that, you’ll sometimes find a one-carat Morganite stone for far less than $300. That sometimes happens when the stone has less desirable coloring or visible inclusions. Those stones may still work well for some rings.

On the flip-side, you can also find one carat Morganite stones that cost thousands of dollars, because they have unusual characteristics that make them far more rare.

A comparison is often helpful. If you look at Morganite price vs diamond pricing for a similar one-carat stone, white (or colorless) diamonds cost about 10 times as much. Colored diamonds (which are a better side-by-side comparison in some respects) cost a great deal MORE. While a one-carat Morganite stone costs approximately $300, a reasonably colorless diamond of similar size will typically run $3,000 to $5,000.

Morganite Value vs Diamond

We’ve already compared the cost of Morganite and Diamond, but what about the value comparison between the two?

We know that Morganite is much less expensive, but can the higher cost of Diamonds be justified? It’s a polarizing question. You can easily find people that will passionately argue their perspective on both sides. Your opinion matters most when it comes to your ring, but I’ll give you a few issues to consider.

We all use different factors to measure value. Value isn’t ONLY related to what you pay—it’s about what you get for what you pay. Based on that, the cheapest option ISN’T always the one that offers the best value.

To illustrate, think about buying jeans. Imagine buying the 3 pairs described below.

  1. You find a pair of jeans on a clearance rack for $5. They don’t fit quite right, but hey, they’re 5 bucks…and you can’t pass that up! You figure that once the material relaxes a bit, they should work fine. You never wore these jeans out of the house. After putting them on once or twice, you decided that you don’t like them at all. The fit just isn’t right, and you don’t really love the look either. You eventually donate the jeans to Goodwill.
  1. A month later, you come across another pair of jeans that you like. You flip the tag and find that they cost $35. The material seems durable, they fit well, and you really like the look of them. You make the purchase, and are glad you did. They’re one of your favorite pairs—very comfortable. The jeans last you for 9years, before you have to replace them.
  1. After a movie at the mall, you walk through a store and find a pair of name brand jeans that look really nice. The cost of the jean seems like a misprint. Who would drop $300 on a pair of jeans? They look nice, fit well, and you’d love to be seen wearing that name brand. You swallow hard, buy them, wear them frequently. You continue to love the look and feel of the jeans. They last for 10 years.

It’s obvious which pair of jeans was cheapest—but which one represented the best VALUE? Most people would agree it’s NOT the first pair. Both the 2nd and 3rd pair were worn regularly and lasted a long time.

From my own perspective, the second pair was the best value, because of the combination of price and utility (usefulness). Those jeans lasted NINE YEARS! When you do the simple math, you find that she essentially paid $3.89 per year to own and wear those jeans.

The third pair lasted 10 years, so she ended up paying $30 per year for the life she got out of them. They were more durable, but from a dollars and cents perspective, the little bit of extra life they provided wasn’t worth their substantially higher price. The one unique value they did bring is a boost of self-esteem that came from wearing the popular label. Was that worth the added cost? That’s one of those questions people will have different opinions on.

Ok, so what does the example have to do with diamonds and Morganite? I’m sure you already get it, but Morganite probably most closely resembles the second set of jeans. It’s more reasonably priced, and provides lots of beauty and utility! We aren’t talking drab by any means! You’ll likely draw lots of compliments when you wear your Morganite ring.

Diamonds are very much like the 3rd pair of jeans. Some people choose this option because they feel a sense of social pressure, and feel a strong desire to conform—others may just love the look of the stone. Regardless, diamonds carry a message about social status. It’s very important to some people that their center stone be big enough to send the silent message that they’re successful. Diamonds are beautiful and will last a long time, but are they worth the added cost? Here again, different people will have differing opinions.

Why is Morganite so Inexpensive?

Rarity combined with popularity is a recipe for high prices. Diamonds are thought of as rare, but in reality, their rarity is an orchestrated illusion. Oil cartels drive the price of oil up by restricting supply. The diamond industry regulates supply in a similar way. They don’t release all that they mine—they very carefully restrict supply to prop up the high prices that give diamonds the feeling of exclusivity that makes people want them.

Morganite is a rare stone that’s found in very few places, but it isn’t consolidated, controlled and manipulated the way that diamonds have been for many decades now. That’s a huge aspect of why Morganite is so much less expensive than diamonds today.

Another key distinction: Morganite doesn’t have the well organized, and heavily funded, marketing messages that diamonds have long enjoyed, to provide awareness, shape our opinions, and fuel demand.

It’s hard to organize, and fund, a consistent and effective advertising blitz unless you have a monopoly in the market (like we’ve seen in the diamond industry for so long).

Key Drivers of Morganite Value

I mentioned earlier that for Morganite, as with most gems, color is king—it’s the most important criteria. The most sought after color for Morganite is pink. Pinks that have a darker, almost reddish hue to them are also desirable. Morganite that has more of a peach or orange hue is much less valuable.

Another important consideration of value is clarity. Morganite is generally ‘eye clean,’ meaning that you can’t see obvious inclusions with the unassisted eye (without magnification) in most cases. What’s even better is a ‘Clean’ stone, where inclusions are present in the stone at all. The more visible and obstructive inclusions are in a particular stone, the less it’s worth.

‘Treated’ or ‘enhanced’ stones undergo a heating process that reduces the orange and peach tones in the stone, making the pink tones more dominant.

Most Morganite on the market today HAS been heat treated to improve color. That’s nothing to be concerned about, but it’s something you should be aware of. The resulting color change is considered permanent. Treated stones sell better than non-treated stones with undesirable color qualities.

“Heat treatment is not detectable, does not fade, and does not hurt the beauty or value of the gem.” -Laurie Sarah

While heat treading doesn’t decrease a stone’s value, untreated stones with good color qualities are often MUCH MORE valuable because they’re far more rare.

Does Morganite Increase in Value?

It’s unlikely that Morganite will increase in value for years. You’ll lose money on nearly all rings if you resell them shortly after buying them. You’ll still typically lose money if you wait decades before selling most rings (once you adjust for inflation).

Because of growing demand, and the prospect of falling supply in the years to come, it’s possible that the value of Morganite may start to climb (possibly substantially). It’s hard to know just how much the price may go up, or how soon, because of all the variables involved.

Morganite Resale Value

Many people buy diamonds with the false belief that they’re some sort of investment vehicle that appreciates with time. This misguided notion is something that the diamond industry benefits from and even fosters through some of their advertising over time that doesn’t offer full disclosure.

Here’s the fact, diamonds are a TERRIBLE ‘investment.’ In fact, diamonds AREN’T investments—they’re consumables. 

Consider this, what happens if you buy a big-screen television and then try to sell it used three months later? Can you sell it? Absolutely, if it’s in good condition and the price is right. Is anyone going to give you what you paid for it? Nope! The same is absolutely true of diamond rings.

Those that don’t believe me may have to learn the hard way, but I promise this is true. If you buy a diamond engagement ring and then try to resell it (even years later), you’re likely to be ‘taken to the cleaners.’ I’m not exaggerating!

In fact, I wrote another article where I summarized research I did around the resale value, and average losses, for used diamond rings. I was careful about the listings that I evaluated. They had to reference the original purchase pricemost had pictures of their original receipts to show as evidence. You may find the article interesting.

Here’s the scoop, you’re going to lose 30% to 70% of what you paid for your diamond ring when you resell it. Are there people that would be interested in a used Morganite ring? Absolutely, but you’re also going to have to resell that ring at a discount. The question, when you compare the resale value for Morganite and Diamonds, is which one will you lose more money on?

The math is EASY, you’ll lose more reselling the diamond. That’s true because you paid a lot more for it. The article that I mentioned above will break down the math for you so you can see how things shake out when you compare the resale of a diamond and more frugal ring choice.

In Summary

The term ‘expensive’ is relative. Morganite certainly brings strong value, and is much less expensive than many alternative gems. Since it’s a fairly hard stone, and has an interesting look, it’s a ring that’s growing in popularity. It’s also a stone with actual rarity, that is likely to get more rare and expensive in the future.

Related Posts:

How Can You Tell if Morganite is Real or Fake?

Can Morganite be an Engagement Ring? | The Pros and Cons

Which is Better Moissanite or Morganite?

 

Can Morganite be an Engagement Ring? | The Pros and Cons

Can Morganite be an Engagement Ring? | The Pros and Cons

Morganite is a gorgeous stone, but can you really drop to one knee and propose marriage with something other than a diamond in your ring box? Many couples are now choosing Morganite for their special rings—including engagement rings!

Can Morganite be an engagement ring? Morganite can be used for engagement rings. Colored diamonds are incredibly expensive. Morganite is a much affordable alternative. Morganite engagement rings tend to feel warm, feminine, and distinctive. Their tone complements many skin tones and pairs well with a variety of metals.

There’s a lot to consider before settling on Morganite for your engagement ring. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll tell you about the look, durability, and maintenance needs of this stone, so you can make sure it’s a good fit—and buy with confidence!

Wanting Something Distinctive

It’s always nice when someone notices your engagement ring and complements you on it! It’s common to want something that’s somewhat unique and distinctive—something that stands out and grabs attention. A head-turning diamond is something that most can’t afford. It would often consist of either a large diamond or a fancy colored diamond. The cost of BOTH of those alternatives can be STAGGERING!

If you want a ring that your partner can’t take their eyes off of, it helps to get away from the ‘cookie-cutter’ rings that are traditional in every way. There’s nothing wrong with cookie-cutter, or traditional…if those are the designs fit your sweetheart’s style preferences well, or it’s all you can afford.

You don’t have to go into serious debt to find something that stands out. Colored gemstones, like Morganite, can be a great option! They’re eye-catching, but can also cost a lot less than traditional diamond rings.

The warm tones of Morganite are different than what you usually see on engagement rings. It stands out, turns heads, and collects lots of second looks and compliments!

Color is part of the uniqueness that Morganite offers because its tone can fall anywhere along a spectrum ranging from pink to peach. A morganite color chart can help you to identify the shade that might suit you best. While Morganite engagement rings are growing in popularity, they aren’t yet so common that you’re likely to bump into others with the exact same ring, let alone the same stone color and metal pairing.

The Cost of a Morganite Engagement Ring

A morganite solitaire ring will save you a great deal of money over the cost of a comparable diamond ring! While a one-carat diamond solitaire might cost $3,000 to $5,000, a one-carat Morganite stone might cost just $300. The price will vary to some degree depending on the characteristics of each individual stone and retailer considerations.

The precise cost of a Morganite stone will be dependant on three primary variables:

  1. The size of the stone. All else equal, a larger stone will sell for more than a smaller stone.
  2. The vividness of the stone’s color.
  3. The pricing strategy of a given retailer.

Naturally, rich and vivid stones are always rarer, and therefore, more valuable. Because vivid coloring is more desirable and valuable, many stones are ‘enhanced’. The stones get heat-treated to bring out richer color qualities. Enhancements should always be disclosed to the buyer. Enhancements provide the opportunity to have a look you love…and a price you can actually afford.

How Long Will Morganite Last?

The durability of Morganite (or any stone for that matter) has to do with a few key factors.

  1. Hardness
  2. Toughness
  3. Usage

Hardness means scratch resistance. The harder a particular stone is, the less likely it is to come in contact with harder items in your everyday environment that are capable of scratching it. Diamonds are the hardest stone known to man.

Toughness has to do with how brittle an item is. Hardness has a converse relationship with toughness. Extremely hard items often aren’t tough—they’re brittle and would shatter before they give or bend.

My sister had a diamond solitaire engagement ring that fell off a counter, striking her tile floor. It broke on impact. It was hard (scratch resistant), but NOT tough (It was brittle)!

Morganite is not nearly as hard as diamonds, but it’s also not nearly as brittle. Morganite is ‘tougher’ (less brittle) than diamonds.

Usage relates to how your Morganite ring is worn (how often, how long, and during which activities).

How Hard is Morganite?

Morganite comes in somewhere between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The scale is a comparative tool that shows the relative hardness of stones (which stones are harder, or softer, than other stones).

The scale was originally created by taking ten stones of various kinds and testing to see which were the most scratch resistant. The stones were then ordered bases on hardness. The least scratch-resistant was assigned a grade of ‘1’, while the most scratch-resistant got a ‘10’. All other stones were arranged similarly, based on their relative hardness. An example of the scale follows.

Stone:
Hardness:
Talc
1
Gypsum
2
Calcite
3
Fluorite
4
Apatite
5
Orthoclase
6
Quartz
7
Topaz
8
Sapphire
9
Diamond
10

A rating of 8 doesn’t tell you precisely how hard a particular stone is (because this isn’t an absolute measurement). The scale really just tells us that Morganite is harder than Quartz, but softer than Sapphire, for example. That means that Morganite could scratch quartz, but it couldn’t scratch Sapphire (Sapphire would actually scratch Morganite if the two came in contact).

This is why you never want to mix your rings together when you aren’t wearing them—the stones on your harder stones will scratch your softer stones and metals.

Information on hardness is helpful to know, because the harder the stone in your engagement ring is, the less likely it is to get scratched as you wear it in everyday life. Your hands bump into all kinds of things as you move around your home, school, or office daily. The harder your center stone is, the less likely it is to get scratched when it comes in contact with hard objects in your everyday environment.

While diamonds are harder than Morganite, they are also MUCH more expensive (and still aren’t indestructible). Morganite is considered a hard stone. It’s capable of lasting for decades with proper care.

Matching Metals

The color range of Morganite often complements Rose Gold beautifully. It also looks nice against neutral-colored metals like silver, white gold, or platinum. Morganite doesn’t look as tied in, or coordinated, when it’s paired with yellow gold. The colors aren’t complimentary.

Some sites allow you to digitally pair your Morganite stone with various ring designs and metal colors to provide a visual of how different combinations of Morganite and metals might look once they’re put together. When rings get to pick all the components of your ring, the ability to preview provides assurance that you’ll like the final look your ring before it’s assembled and shipped.

Morganite Value

Genuine morganite rings can be purchased at surprisingly affordable prices. A one-carat Morganite stone, with good color, can be purchased for about $300. Smaller stones, or those with less attractive coloring, would be even less expensive. By comparison, a one-carat diamond would start at about 10 times the price of Morganite (roughly $3,000).

Morganite rings are quickly growing in awareness and popularity. Just as people sometimes sell used diamond rings when relationships end or they decide to upgrade their jewelry, you can also sell used Morganite rings.

While you’ll still have to resell a used Morganite ring at a loss, the same is true for used diamond rings.

Buying Morganite with Confidence

You want your fianceé to LOVE everything about their engagement ring! Guessing the ring design that your partner likes, and getting it RIGHT, can be difficult. Getting that wrong can be expensive and painful. Because of this, I suggest that you check to make sure that a Morganite engagement ring is something they would like. I would have the exact same advice regardless of the type of ring your thinking about buying.

Even traditional diamond rings may not hit the mark for your sweetheart if they have something different (like a colored gemstone) in mind.

If you’re openly exploring ring options, you can spend a little time together, looking at pictures of Morganite rings online. This could help you to have a greater level of certainty about the ring that you ultimately end up buying.

If you’re hoping to surprise your partner with the proposal, you can try to find a more subtle way to gather their opinion about Morganite engagement rings.

For example, you could talk about seeing an interesting ring on someone recently. You might say that you’ve never really seen anyone wearing that kind of stone before, and you’re not sure you like it. You could then look up an image of a morganite ring online and ask what they think.

There are lots of other ways to gather an opinion without showing your cards—get creative!

Here’s another approach—go ahead and guess. Take a chance on the fact that they’ll love a Morganite engagement ring (they probably will)—but hedge your bets by ensuring that the retailer has a solid return policy. Make sure that you understand the limitations of the return policy, so you don’t have any surprises. If you propose, and your fianceé decides that they would prefer something a little different, you can return, or exchange, the ring.

Pros and Cons of Morganite

All gems used for engagement rings have both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are helpful to be aware of—but they aren’t necessarily a problem in many cases.

By the same token, many of the advantages of a given stone may be nice to be aware of—but aren’t especially important to you. You’ll have to weigh the pros against the cons to determine if Moganite (or any other stone, for that matter) is going to be a good fit for your e-ring.

The Pros of Morganite for Engagement Rings:

  • It’s an inexpensive colored gemstone
  • It’s Durable. The stone is relatively hard and is capable of enduring daily wear
  • It’s a more unique looking ring than your typical diamond allows
  • It compliments most skin tones
  • It’ pairs beautifully with Rose Gold
  • The stone is quite rare

The Cons of Morganite for Engagement Rings:

  • It’s less scratch-resistant than Sapphire and diamond
  • The peachy-pink tone can clash with some metals and other colored gemstones
  • Some brides may want a more traditional looking stone

In Summary

Morganite makes a beautiful engagement ring! It’s a durable stone that can stand up to everyday wear as long as you care for it. Morganite is a rare stone that can help you to create a distinctive looking ring that grabs lots of attention. Fortunately, all those benefits don’t come with an unreachable pricetag. You’ll actually SAVE money when you choose Morganite over many other gem options.

Related Posts:

How Can You Tell if Morganite is Real or Fake?

How is Morganite Graded for Gem Quality?

Which is Better Moissanite or Morganite?

 

What Is 18K Gold? | The Look, Cost, & Durability of 18 Karat

What Is 18K Gold? | The Look, Cost, & Durability of 18 Karat

Gold is beautiful, and often symbolic, but it can also be expensive. Understanding the unique value of 18k, along with its limitations, will help you make sure you use this form of gold for the right jewelry pieces.

What is 18k gold? 18k Gold is an alloy that consists of 75% 24 karat gold and 25% from other metals that increase the hardness of the mixture and influence color. Metals like copper add both hardness and a pink overtone to 18k Rose Gold. 18 karat gold offers a great blend of enhanced durability and high purity.

In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll give you more detail on how 18 karat gold is made. I’ll also share information on how the look, and durability, of 18k gold compares with the look and durability of other common options, like 10k, 14k, and 24k.

Where is 18k Gold From?

Yellow gold is mined from the earth and refined to remove impurities. Pure gold is much too soft to wear as an engagement ring, or some other jewelry item that will be worn regularly. It’s easily scratched and marred by the accidental bumps that happen in everyday life.

In order to add hardness, other metals are added to a gold alloy, but which metals and what ratio depends on the objectives of the gold mixture. Carefully selected non-gold metals can add durability (scratch resistance) to the final metal mixture. It can also influence color, making the mixture lighter or darker.

Again, the MAIN ingredient in 18k gold is yellow gold, but the second-largest ingredient is Copper. From there, a number of other metals like Zinc, Silver, or Nickel could be added, as needed, to influence hardness and color.

Is 18k Gold Real?

While 18 karat gold isn’t completely pure, it still has very high purity, compared to other options like 10k and 14k. The fact that non-gold metals have been added doesn’t make 18k gold ‘fake’.

Again, these metals are intentionally added to improve the practicality of gold for many purposes that it couldn’t serve well in a pure form.

The 18k mark clearly discloses the fact that the piece isn’t made of pure gold. This helps consumers to be well informed before purchasing jewelry.

What is 18 Karat Gold Worth?

As we look at 18 karat gold price (or value) remember, that this metal is 75% gold (18 parts yellow gold and 6 parts non-gold metals like Copper, Zinc, or Nickel). If you want to calculate 18k gold price, at any given point, all you need to do it obtain the current spot value of 24k gold and then multiply it by .75. If 24 karat gold is valued at $49.89 per gram, for example, 75% of that value will be $37.42. 18k gold would be valued at $37.42 per gram in that instance.

Why is this information useful? If you’re selling used 18k jewelry to a refiner, it would certainly be helpful to be able to calculate the value of the gold you’ll be selling. It’s less valuable when you’re simply shopping for an engagement ring, for example, because the cost of gold isn’t the only factor involved in pricing.

Other factors influencing the cost of an 18k gold engagement ring could include:

  • The design of the ring (both how thick and heavy, and also how intricate)
  • The size of the ring (a size 14 will be heavier and require more gold to produce than a size 5 ring of the same style.
  • Any stones that are also mounted
  • The markup of a particular retailer (this might include a premium that you’re willing to pay for a shop with a stellar reputation for quality).
  • The warranties, cleanings, resizing, and other non-tangible value included by a retailer
  • Taxes paid on the item

If you want to purchase gold at a discount (less than retail prices), purchasing used rings private-party may be your best bet. There are often people getting out of relationships that may be willing to sell an engagement ring or wedding ring, for example, at a real discount. Why? Because they may need the cash quickly, because pawn shops are offering so little, or because they want to unload the jewelry right away for emotional reasons.

If you buy this way, please exercise extreme caution by testing the pieces. We’ll briefly explain the process below.

18k Gold vs 24k Gold

24 karat gold is the purest form of gold. That certainly comes with pros AND cons. Some quick reference information follows.

Issue
18K Gold
24K Gold
Purity:18 Parts Gold + 6 Parts Non-Gold (75% Pure)24 Parts Gold + 0 Parts Non-Gold (100% Pure)
Hardness:Significantly harderSoft/easily scratched.
Cost:LowerHigher

18k Gold vs 14k Gold

How will an 18 karat gold ring be different than a similar ring made out of 14k gold? Here again, the 18k gold ring will have some pros and cons when compared with the other. The same would obviously also be true of an 18 karat gold necklace and other types of jewelry.

Issue
18K Gold
14K Gold
Purity:18 Parts Gold + 6 Parts Non-Gold (75% Pure)14 Parts Gold + 10 Parts Non-Gold (58.3% Pure)
Hardness:Softer (more likely to scratch)Harder (less likely to scratch)
Cost:HigherLower

Does 18k Gold Tarnish?

Gold isn’t a reactive metal. Pure gold won’t tarnish. 18k gold does have some non-gold metals mixed in. The non-gold metals could open the door to a little tarnish over time—but it isn’t likely or common. If tarnish does appear at some point, you can remove it with a good cleaning.

Will 18k Gold Turn Your Finger Green?

The same way that it’s possible, but unlikely, for 18k gold to tarnish, it’s also possible, but unlikely, that it will leave a green mark on your finger. Why will 18k gold turn skin green for some but not others?

All gold other than 24k will have non-gold metals mixed in to add hardness. The most common metal additive is Copper. Copper is known to tarnish. Jewelry items with lower purity have high Copper contributions, and a much greater chance of oxidation and tarnish.

Because of that, 18 karat gold is far less likely to oxidize or leave a mark on your finger than 10k or 14k gold for example. Despite the high level of purity, some people still get green or black marks on their skin when they wear 18k jewelry. The cause often comes down to one of the following issues.

  • Hormone levels
  • How sweaty your hands are
  • Skin composition. The PH of your skin and sweat can influence marking
  • Medications that you’re taking and the way they impact your body
  • Lotions and hand creams that you use

If you notice marks being left on your fingers, you may want to try changing any lotions or skin creams that you might be using to see if things change. You can also create a clear barrier on the inside of your ring with clear fingernail polish. That coating should help to stop the marks on your skin until the barrier wears through. You’ll need to reapply the clear nail polish every few weeks to keep the coating intact.

Will 18k Gold Fade?

Solid 18k gold will not fade. The color remains consistent over time. It’s possible, however, for some fading to occur when gold is plated over some non-gold base metal. Fading doesn’t always happen with plated metals, and the fading process would take time and may not even be noticeable in many cases.

Will 18k Gold Rust?

Gold is incredibly non-reactive. It’s not prone to corrosion. The type and quantity of non-gold metals added to 18k gold don’t make the mixture susceptible to rust. Because of this, rust isn’t a form of metal corrosion that you’ll have to worry about with 18k gold jewelry.

Can You Wear 18k Gold in the Shower?

It’s not a good idea to wear gold jewelry of any kind in the shower. Your jewelry won’t immediately fall apart if you do. The damage takes time and won’t be immediately apparent. Chlorine and gold aren’t friendly with each other. It can do microscopic damage to gold (especially the prongs that hold center stones in place) that can eventually lead to bending or breakage.

Beyond those risks, hard water and soaps can build up and dull the appearance of your gold jewelry. My wife has worn her gold ring in the shower for years. On the surface, the ring looked undamaged, but it was weakened over time by chemical reactions, and the prongs eventually bent. We, fortunately, noticed the issue before the diamond fell out and got lost, but that’s a very real risk with this type of damage.

What’s 18k Gold Plated?

Gold plating is simply a layer of gold over a base metal that consists of something other than gold. Brass, for example, could be covered (or plated) with gold for example. The finished product would look identical to a solid gold piece from the outside. The main difference is durability. A solid gold piece could last a lifetime, while a plated piece might last weeks, months, or years.

The term plated is short for ‘Electroplated.’ Electroplating is the process that’s used to apply the gold over the base metal. Jewelry made from a non-gold base metal is submerged in a tank of special solution. A chunk of 18k gold is submerged in the same tank and solution. An electric current is then run through the solution in the tank.

The current causes gold atoms to separate from the gold chunk and settle on the base metal, creating a gold coating. The thickness of the layer will depend on the amount of time that the base metal is left in the tank.

Sometimes plated pieces only contain the thinnest of coatings. They look nice when they’re brand new, but can wear through and look terrible within days. Other pieces have thick coatings that may last for years before needing to be replated.

The main benefit of 18k gold plated jewelry, is that it allows you access to jewelry designs you wouldn’t normally be able to afford—if they were made of solid gold.

What is 18k Gold Vermeil?

Gold Vermeil (pronounced ver-MAY) is a thicker coating of 18k gold over a Sterling Silver base metal. In order to legally use the term Gold Vermeil, jewelry MUST have a layer of gold that’s AT LEAST 2.5 microns thick. The base metal also HAS TO BE Sterling Silver.

If any of those requirements aren’t met, the piece can’t be marketed at Gold Vermeil. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the government agency that polices and enforces the proper use of these terms.

Gold Vermeil essentially allows you to get the look of 18 karat gold on a Sterling Silver budget! While Gold Vermeil jewelry will likely cost more than a similar piece of Sterling Silver jewelry, the cost often isn’t much higher.

What is 18k Gold Filled?

The name ‘Gold Filled’ can be misleading at first glance. It sounds like gold would occupy the inside of a Gold Filled piece of jewelry, right? In reality, Gold Filled jewelry consists of a thick layer of gold on top of a non-gold base metal. The generous application of gold is probably the biggest distinguishing characteristic of Gold Filled jewelry.

For Gold filled items, at least 5% of the total weight of the piece MUST consist of gold. That means that if you have a gold chain that weighs 40 grams, it has to contain at least 2 grams of gold. The gold applied to Gold-Filled jewelry also has to be permanently bonded to the base metal (not just plated on top).

18k Gold filled jewelry can be super durable, but still significantly less expensive than solid 18k gold jewelry. It’s very common for the layer on Gold Filled jewelry to last for decades. It’s even possible for the layer to last through multiple generations if it’s not mistreated.

Spotting Fake 18k Gold Jewelry

There’s nothing wrong with buying 18k Gold Vermeil or 18k Gold Filled jewelry if that’s all your budget will allow for, or it meets your need. There IS a problem with paying for solid gold but getting gold plated jewelry though. It happens!

I just came across an article tonight about a man in my community that was just arrested for selling fake 1 ounce gold bars. One many bought at least 10 at $1,000 each before discovering that they weren’t real when he tried to resell them. When the guy was arrested, they searched his car and found more “gold” bars, “gold” rings, and diamond (which were also fake, I’m sure).

The story is a good reminder of how important it is to stay vigilant and verify that you got what you paid for (real gold). There are several easy ways to test your gold.

  • The ‘Sniff Test’: If an item is being sold too inexpensively, it should be a warning sign. The con man that I mentioned above was selling his ‘gold’ bars for $1000, when they’re easily worth $1,500 for example.
  • The Law of Attraction: Many metals are attracted to magnets, but gold isn’t one of them. If you hold a piece of jewelry up to a magnet and it clings to the magnet, it likely has another base metal beneath its surface.
  • The Acid Test: You can purchase special 18 karat gold acid (a Nitric Acid) that’s intended for testing purposes. If you place a drop of the acid on the surface of gold that isn’t 18k, or on a non-gold metal, it will begin bubbling and changing color. If it sits and does nothing at all, it indicates that you’re dealing with real 18k gold.

**Important Disclaimer** If you place 18k acid on the surface of something like an 18k Gold Filled ring, it may falsely lead you to believe the pieces consist of solid 18k gold. That’s because the gold layer is so thick. You may need to find a worn area on the jewelry, or file it down a bit to get the acid deeper in the item (closer to a possible base metal.

In Summary:

18k gold is a wonderful choice for those that want high-purity gold that’s also more durable than absolutely pure gold would be. This gold is typically a good option for people with sensitive skin that reacts when it comes in contact with less pure gold mixtures like 10k.

When you’re looking at Rose Gold, 18k Rose Gold has lighter coloring than 10k or 14k. Because 18k has more yellow gold and less copper, it takes on a light pink hue. 10k gold has less yellow gold and more copper, so it generally has a much redder, Copper-like, appearance.

18k strikes the perfect balance between cost, purity, durability, and appearance for many jewelry shoppers.

Related Posts:

What is 14K Gold Jewelry? 4 Reasons it’s BETTER Than 24K!

What Is the Difference Between Gold Vermeil & Gold Plating?

What Is Rose Gold? The Ultimate Guide for This Amazing Metal