The wonderful thing about gold is that it is virtually indestructible. It also does not cause any known allergies or rashes so it is great to give as a gift that won’t cause the wearer to break out in a red and itchy mess. Cheaper, non precious, metals sometimes have high nickel content and a huge percentage of people have a natural allergy to this metal. If anyone has ever ended up with an itchy rash, clear fluid oozing from a piercing or a crusty feel to the pierced hole, then it is odds on that the metal contains nickel. In ancient times, gold was reserved only for the royalty.
Indeed, pharaohs were said to be the only ones allowed to wear this precious metal. Thank goodness then that these days, gold is affordable to all but the poorest people in the world. It is a fascinating metal because it can be beaten into incredibly thin gold leaf. Imagine one cubic centimeter will eventually cover 300 square feet if treated properly.
Gold leaf is used for several purposes. One such use is the religious icons so favored by the Russians. Religious icons use gold leaf to represent halos and such and these icons are extremely sought after and valuable. Gold leaf is so thin and light than when artisans are using it they often have to shade the palette is on to stop the slightest draught or waft of air from blowing it away. Today, gold is used for so many purposes; from gold fillings, to chocolates with flakes of real gold inside. The most popular, naturally is for gold jewelry and to this end there is virtually endless varieties. Many significant occasions in history would not be complete without gold playing its part. Take, for example, the beautiful gold chalices used in Catholic and other church events.
The glistening gold cups are treasured pieces that have been passed down through the generations, sometimes for centuries, and their value is much more than the mere gold content. Gold has somehow inveigled itself into human history and there seems to be no end to the uses, and the value, that man places on it. What better way then to show someone how much they are loved than to present them with a gold piece of jewelry. Gold chains are an important and popular fashionable item that almost everyone has.
Cost of these chains depends on several factors. The carat count (or the concentration of gold – the higher the carat the more gold is concentrated into it), the length of the chain, the weight of the chain and so on. Design, too, denotes how costly the piece would be.
In years past, these chains would be hand made with each link being carefully beaten into place. These days, machines make continuous lengths of chain and the manufacturer cuts them and makes them into appropriate lengths, depending on the fashion of the day. Matching bracelets or anklets are also made into the same chain designs and will add a fashionable touch to the wearer. Ankle chains are primarily worn by women, and they accentuate a well turned ankle especially when worn with heels.
Earrings also come in so many styles. Of course, today’s fashion allows men to wear a single, or even a pair, of earrings and they are particularly liked by the younger set or the hip-hop generation. Women’s earrings can be virtually any style from discreet studs to dangly and long earrings. Hoop earrings, too, are beloved of the hip-hop set and come in many sizes. For the more petite woman, slim and narrow hoops would be better because they don’t pull down the earlobes. Long earrings are normally reserved for evening wear but surely, in this day and age, anything goes. If a woman feels comfortable wearing very long earrings during the day – then that is her choice and no one would decry her for it. Fine chains or necklaces are really not meant to hold a pendant or other object. The gold is very soft will break easily if too much weight is added. Better to keep the pendant, cross or other piece for the chains specifically made to hold them. Most jewelers will warn of whether or not the chain is suitable for a pendant. Rings, always a popular choice, not only come in a variety of designs, they also hold many meanings for different people. Depending on which finger the ring is to be worn, the meaning can be very deep. Obviously, the third finger on the left hand (in most cultures) denotes an engagement or marriage. Some cultures will prefer plain gold wedding bands whereas others will not mind having precious stones, like diamonds, set into them. In other cultures, it is the third finger on the right hand which has the same connotation. Of course, fashions come and go and one of the most popular fashions of today is the belly button ring. In recent times, even pregnant ladies show off their ‘bulge’ with abandon and to top it off, they have their belly buttons pierced! Although not for everyone, this fashion has taken the modern world by storm, along with facial studs and decorations. It used to be that Indians would wear gold chains strung from earrings to nose studs on their wedding day but these days, many younger women will wear a similar fashion perhaps for shock value.