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The Gold Rush: When Our Favorite Metal Was Discovered in California

Jan 20, 2017

On January 24, 1848, gold was officially discovered in the state of California. The keen eye of James W. Marshall caught a glimpse of something shiny in Sutter Creek, forever changing the world. The discovery, and President James Polk’s official confirmation of it, officially kicked off the famous Gold Rush. Over the next several years, […]

Ben Bridge Jeweler

On January 24, 1848, gold was officially discovered in the state of California. The keen eye of James W. Marshall caught a glimpse of something shiny in Sutter Creek, forever changing the world. The discovery, and President James Polk’s official confirmation of it, officially kicked off the famous Gold Rush. Over the next several years, the Gold Rush brought people from surrounding states, South America, and Hawaii (then known as the Sandwich Islands) into California to hunt for their own gold, and hopefully the fortune that would follow their personal discoveries. More than 100,000 people flocked to California in order to find gold.

Though the discovery of gold in California was monumental for the United States, gold has been around forever. In fact, gold was the first metal known to the human species. Gold has been made into money, plates, cups, goblets, vases, and jewelry for thousands of years. Many believe that gold jewelry has been worn by men and women since approximately 3000 BCE!

Gold dates back to the dawn of humankind. It has represented everything from the sun to royalty – and in many ways still does. Today, particularly in the jewelry world, we have the ability to mold and create the finest pieces from gold. Many different finishes are used in gold jewelry to create patterns, designs, and textures. From high polish to hammered design, gold is malleable, beautiful and timeless. Most of the gold you see in jewelry today has been alloyed with other metals due to the softness of pure gold itself. White, yellow, and rose gold are typically alloyed with copper, silver, palladium, zinc, or nickel. The percentage of gold is represented in its karat percentage.

A “karat” refers to the measure of the metal’s purity. One karat equals 1/24th pure gold in an alloy. Pure gold is referred to as 24 karats.

24k = 100% pure gold
18k = 75% pure gold
14k = 58.3% pure gold
10k = 41.6% pure gold

24k gold, though the purest, is not necessarily the “best” gold. It is important to note that gold is a very soft metal, which means 100% pure gold (24k) is often considered too soft to use in jewelry. When alloyed with one or more other metals, the gold is able to produce optimum strength and color—perfect for your jewelry. The National Gold and Silver Marking act is a federal law that requires that all gold jewelry to include accurate karat marks, along with a registered US trademark, to assure customers that the gold is actually of its specified quality.

At Ben Bridge, we celebrate gold every day. We celebrate gold with our exclusive Toscano Collection, embracing the latest and finest in Italian fashion and technique. We celebrate gold with Roberto Coin, the quintessential Italian fine jeweler since 1977. We even celebrate gold in the tiniest piece of jewelry – a unique and delicate PANDORA charm.

Today, we celebrate the discovery of gold in California!

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