Native American Materials – Gold

Gold is the most malleable of precious metals and is prized for jewelry because it does not corrode, tarnish or rust. It can be found nearly everywhere, in rivers, mountains and oceans, but it is very difficult and expensive to mine and refine.

The karat is a unit of measurement for the proportion of gold an item contains.

14K Gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet by Navajo Bruce Morgan
14K Gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet by Navajo Bruce Morgan
  • 24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold. Pure gold is very soft and it is usually alloyed (combined) with other metals for increased hardness and durability. Metals typically used in gold alloys are copper, silver, nickel, zinc, tin, palladium, and/or manganese. The metal used will affect the color of the gold: yellow, rose, green or white. (People with nickel allergies should be aware that white gold contains nickel.)
  • 18 karat (18K) gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metal, making it 75% gold.
  • 14 karat (14K) gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal, making it 58.3% gold.
  • 12 karat (12K) gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts other metal, making it 50% gold.
  • 10 karat (10K) gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metal, making it 41.7% gold. 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called gold in the USA.
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14K Gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet by Apache Marc Antia

14K Gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet by Apache Marc Antia

(Carat spelled with a “c” refers to the weight of a gemstone and equals 200mg.)

Gold and Sterling Silver Navajo Money Clips and Key Rings
Gold and Sterling Silver Navajo Money Clips and Key Rings

To be called gold-filled, the FTC (U.S. Federal Trade Commission) requires that gold makes up at least 1/20th (5%) by weight of the total product. Legal markings are 14K, 12K, or 10K Gold-filled and the karat measurement of gold content MUST be part of the marking or designation.

Jewelry labeled 14/20GF denotes 1/20 14K gold-filled; 12/10 denotes 1/10 12K gold-filled.

12K Gold Filled Storyteller Link Bracelet by Navajo Alonzo Mariano
12K Gold Filled Storyteller Link Bracelet by Navajo Alonzo Mariano

Rolled Gold Plate (RGP) is made the same way as gold-filled material, but with a lower gold content. The minimum standard states that 1/40th the total weight of the item must be gold of the karat the item is marked. Thus a product marked 14K RGP is 1/40th (2.5%) 14K gold by weight.

Gold Electroplate is a process in which a very thin layer of gold is deposited onto a conductive metal item. Utilizing an electrical current, positively charged metal “ions” travel through a liquid solution known as an “electrolyte”, and are deposited onto the negatively charged metal object. Metals most commonly electroplated are silver, copper, bronze, and aluminum.

14K Gold and Sterling Silver Eternal Life Ring by Navajo Scott Skeets

14K Gold and Sterling Silver Eternal Life Ring by Navajo Scott Skeets

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Native American Jewelry – Paula’s Pawn

As you can imagine, working here at Horsekeeping could be budgetarily fatal for a girl like me who loves Native American jewelry. Every time we go on a shopping trip, I tuck too many things into a box labeled “Paula’s Stuff”. And when we get an estate lot in, I’m really in trouble – I set too many things aside for myself.

How many bracelets can a girl wear??!!   I ask you !

So……..my personal collection has outgrown my jewelry box(es)…..so much so that I had to make a rule. Maybe some of you have done this with the clothes or shoes or purses in your closet. For every new item I bring into my personal collection, I must trade out at least one item. I now have quite a box of items that I have started listing in the Pawn Shop as my own “Paula’s Collection”. When you see this logo associated with an item in the Pawn Shop, it is from my collection.

Vintage Native American Jewelry - Paula's Collection

Vintage Native American Jewelry - Paula's Collection

Have fun browsing the entire pawn shop.

Link Bracelets – Hot Weather Option

Some of my regular customers asked me to compile some of my summer weather tips for jewelry.

With the whole country in the RED, this is a perfect time to start posting those ideas.

If you are a person that normally wears cuff bracelets but find them too hot when its above 90, consider link bracelets.

Link bracelets are usually narrower than most cuffs.

Sterling Silver Navajo Bear Paw Link Bracelet

Sterling Silver Navajo Bear Paw Link Bracelet

Many of them are adjustable so that you can wear them looser than normal for air flow.

Sterling Silver Navajo Concho Link Bracelet

Sterling Silver Navajo Concho Adjustable Link Bracelet

Link bracelets move around on your wrist – in hot weather, movement is good!

And they are lightweight.

When you’re on the beach, metal bracelets can act almost like branding irons, so for that day, choose an all stone bracelet.

Navajo Kingman Turquoise Nugget Link Bracelet

Navajo Kingman Turquoise Nugget Link Bracelet

More summer jewelry tips on the way.