As many jewelers, especially goldsmiths, may already know, May has been named “Gold Month.” Being from New Mexico, I usually prefer silver to gold, but I’ve recently become curious about gold and why it’s so timelessly sought after. The more I learn about it, the more intrigued I become. And I have to admit that when I do wear gold, I feel wonderfully confident. Yes, “confident” is the key word here. Just like they say, “Nothing feels like real gold.” But I think there’s more to it than that.
Gold has some of everything that other metals have and brings it all together like no other metal does. It is conductive, resistant to corrosion, malleable, ductile, and biocompatible; it is a catalyst; it has unique nanoscale properties, which means that it may enable some amazing new technologies. For those of you who like to geek out on stuff like this, here is a link to a PDF all about gold and nanotechnology. (Yes, I’ll be reading this as soon as I get home. Seriously, this looks fascinating. Now, back to gold jewelry…)
I’ve heard that gold represents perfection and the quest to perfect, illuminate, and refine. Because of its resistance to heat and acid, it is a symbol of power, strength and perfection. And, in ancient times, gold symbolized balance.
Pope Francis made a statement by choosing to wear a gold-plated silver ring instead of the traditional solid (sometimes heavily ornate) gold papal ring. (Pope Pius IX wore a diamond-encrusted self-portrait cameo as his not-so-modest gold ring). Pope Francis also replaced the high-end Prada shoes that popes before him have traditionally worn with locally made shoes—one of the many outward acts of modesty he has demonstrated since the white smoke rose to signal his election. Okay, I see what he’s doing; and there is something to be said about modesty for each of us when it comes to what we wear and how we present ourselves. Perhaps he is making a statement about moderation and balance in the face of the gold prices we’ve seen these past several years!
Which brings me back to gold and makes me think about how gold-filled is such an amazing alternative. The beauty of gold-filled is that you get the best benefits and characteristics of gold—such as corrosion resistance and that 14-karat luster—without the weighty price tag. It is today’s increasingly popular way to add to your jewelry collection, to enjoy more choices, to look and feel your confident best, and to do all that affordably.
One of my favorite rings is a gold-filled wire-wrapped ring that I made a couple of years ago with a little (actually a lot of) help from Dale Nichols in one of his wire-wrapping classes (Rio Grande offers some terrific instructional DVDs by Dale). For a project that doesn’t require a class, check out this gold-filled earring project recently posted on riogrande.com that’s made with gold-filled wire and findings available from Rio.
Rio Grande offers a growing array of sheet, wire, findings, components, and more in gold-filled for you to choose from. And not only in the traditional yellow, but also in rose and white. The opportunities to turn your design imagination loose with the bright warmth of gold have never been more timely or more fun than right now.
What have gold-filled materials done for your design work in the last year or two? What’s your favorite gold-filled creation? Share a photo, if you like; we’d love to see!