What is the commonality between the coins South African Krugerrand and the American Eagle? These are gold coins made up of minted one-ounce 22k gold alloy typical of the 1930 conventional gold coins minted of “crown gold”. What is intriguing is the preference for 22k gold in minting gold coins and in the manufacturing of 22k gold jewelry instead of the pure 24k gold.
The composition of the 22k gold alloy is: Gold 91.67%; Silver 5%; Copper 2%; and Zinc 1.33% and these metals account for the extra hardness, durability and scratch-resistance compared to 24k solid gold. These features of the 22k gold jewelry critically justifies its preference over 24k gold. 24k is not a logical choice for fabricating jewelry because of its softness and malleability that makes it more easily breaks and scratches. This is a gold alloy which is used in jewelry-making especially in Middle East, Southeast Asia and In India where gold and gold jewelry closely intertwined with social and cultural traditions.
The fact is, using 22k alloy can’t still make a sturdy jewelry. In spite the softness, the only alloyed gold closest to the solid gold and the elemental gold in terms of the gold content is the 22k gold alloy with the least amount of metals fused with it. This simply implies that 22k gold alloy has the highest value in the gold market next to 24k gold. This is why it can be sold or exchanged at the prevailing gold rate in the market without depreciation or wastage compared to the lower gold alloys namely, 18K and 14K. Thus, 22k still maintains a good value for one’s money as well as an ideal choice of investment at any time.
What is it about the 22k gold jewelry that makes it preferable than the other gold form? Besides 24k, there is really no such thing as 100 percent “pure” gold. Being too soft, the final product easily breaks, scratches and deforms so that makes elemental gold and 24 k useless where jewelry are concerned. Still, 22k gold is the most sensible gold for jewelry being alloyed with stronger metals.