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Latest Articles - Luxury

How To Wear A Wrist Watch Properly – The Lesson of Style

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Crystal Glass Tableware – A Song of Crystal

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Purple Gold: the Privilege of Pharaohs

Thursday, 03 March 2011

purple goldPurple gold is a relatively new word in the jewelry lexicon, and we owe its existence to the ingenuity of the restless inquisitive minds of the experts in the domain of precious materials. The world has been crazy about yellow gold, gold coins, gold ornaments, white gold and more. Now it's time for everyone to take notice once again, as the purple gold is here.

Many will agree that the jewelry industry primarily focused on women's need to have a dazzling brilliance of diamonds and stability of gold in their possession. Nevertheless, the dull regularity of color and texture of the jewelry can be boring even to the fair sex. In an effort to surprise their ladies and keep them happy, men seek the help of the wizards of jewelry craft. A necklace or a bracelet of incredible purple gold will delight even the most hard-to-please gal.

Purple Gold: History and Application

Strange as it may seem, the rare art of making purple gold jewelry was known to the Egyptian jewelers at the time of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. In 1931, during archeological research near Lisht, Egypt, many ancient jewelry pieces were excavated; the analysis proved that they dated back to the third millennium BC. The jewelry included all sorts of pendants, metal ornamental clothing detail, pharaoh's foot and headwear. The most interesting thing about these findings was that they were purple, and the color could not be attributed to corrosive film or other effects of metal exposure to chemicals. As it turned out, the pieces were made of purple gold. The secret of making purple gold alloy has long been known, but was considered to be lost forever. However, early in the XX century American physicist Robert Wood solved this problem and even crafted an imitation of the Egyptian purple gold pieces. Some of these items, including Wood imitations, are now exhibited at the Cairo Museum.

Theoretically, purple gold is an alloy which is about 75 percent gold and rest is an alloy of palladium and aluminum. However, the authentic purple color has a different "percentage" - 78.5% to 21.5%, respectively, and this metallide (colored alloy of gold) corresponds to .750 gold purity standard. The properties of the alloy were studied by Roberts-Austen, a metallurgist from England, who discovered the compound of gold and aluminum in 1892. He obtained an alloy of the beautiful purple color with a transparency, which was more characteristic of a gemstone than a metal. These remarkable properties were exploited by South African jewelers who started to produce "jewels" based on the gold-aluminum compound, cut to a beautiful and exquisite shape. However, it is the method of forming an alloy rather than conventional cutting techniques that gives purple "diamond" its unusual exterior. Mintek, South Africa's national mineral research organization and a global leader in metallurgical innovations, is engaged in production of jewelry with purple gold ornamentation, as purple gold is not yet sold in ounces but is still limited to ornamental form only. It is more like a gem that adorns the jewelry rather than being kept as a treasure.

However, purple gold applications are not limited to jewelry and ornamental purposes. Early in the XX century, chemists obtained a colloidal solution by the exposure of gold chloride to alcohol. This preparation was named "the Purple of Cassius" after the XVII century German physician and chemist Cassius. Aside from its use as a sensitive test for gold the Purple of Cassius has found extensive use as an artist's pigment. It is also used to color glass red. This is also used as a paint for decorating glass before firing the glass object to set the paint. This chemical was not the only way of coloring glass using gold as the colorant.

In prospecting for gold especially in hard rock the Purple of Cassius can prove valuable in the field because the various chemicals can be carried in a small space. It also has the advantage of being sensitive enough so that the user can get an idea of how rich the deposit is apt to be. This is because the amount of gold present in a sample will cause the Purple of Cassius to develop into various shades of color ranging from pink through scarlet to purple depending on the concentration of gold present in the ore. It is obvious that the more gold there is, the more purple is generated. A high portion of gold will produce a dark purple shade, whereas a light concentration of gold will produce a pink shade.

Purple Gold and Jewelry

Despite its long history, purple gold is still a new material in the jewelry world, probably, because the technology for purple gold production is developed by scientists and metallurgists, and then adopted by jewelers. For example, Singapore's largest jewelers, Aspial-Lee Hwa Jewellery, was the first company to market purple gold jewelry and its marketing manager, Kean Ng, declared: "We are confident it will not be too long before every woman in Singapore desires purple gold jewelry." The company has developed purple gold that can withstand the processes needed to turn it into jewelry. Aspial-Lee Hwa Jewellery presented a V-shaped necklace in the form of fine leaves joined together, glimmering with purple shades of gold. Purple gold jewelry piece weighing 19 carats in combination with white and yellow gold accents is worth about $55.000.

Today's jewelry trends stipulate the demand for pieces combining several types of gold, purple being the most popular. "Les Symboliques" jewelry collection from Boucheron includes costume jewelry pieces made with purple gold; and Jarretier also creates jewelry using colored gold. Take, for example, a yellow gold ring with purple gold accents, weighing 18 carats. The ring features 0.55 carat tanzanite, lined with five white diamonds weighing 0.21 carats, and costs no less than $1800. Another notable item is a handmade gold pendant shaped as a leaf, a butterfly wing or a shell with a pink pearl inside. The pendant features two semi-precious stones - a bright green chalcedony and lapis lazuli, offset by a tear-shaped "pearl" which is a purple gold ornament, weighing 18 carats. The price starts $4500.

Modern women, or anyone who admires genuine beauty, prefer exclusive jewelry, made with safe materials that do not cause allergic reactions or similar trouble. In order to meet high quality standards, jewelry artisans use advanced technologies and latest achievements in science to create unique jewelry rich in color and texture. Purple gold is one of the precious materials that are produced using the innovative technologies that make it not only safe to wear close to the gentle woman's skin, but also give it an exquisite and luxurious look.

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