Wearing Gold is Timeless Fashion
Wearing gold has been a sign of decadence, class, and wealth for many centuries, while still holding true against the test of time. The oldest pieces of jewelry found during excavations are believed to be over 75,000 years old.
Different cultures have attached different significance to gold, but almost every culture has always recognized it as a metal of deep value. In Hinduism, gold and silver are considered sacred metals. Gold is associated with the sun and with immortality. As many Hindus believe that the origin of life came from a golden egg (the sun), wearing gold is highly favored and many women through India do this down to this day, in recognition of these beliefs.
In ancient Egypt, gold jewelry was used as a way to guarantee free passage to the other side after death, and ancient pharaohs would be buried with their gold jewelry in order for it to protect them as they journeyed beyond death.
As well, across different centuries when women could not own property, gold jewelry was a way for these women to protect themselves in case their husbands were lost. They would wear this jewelry as a means of not only displaying their status but also as a way of protecting their future, similar to life insurance.
Of course, there are much more ways to wear gold than just jewelry, with gold teeth, gold accessories, gold clothing, shoes and even gold smartphones becoming commonplace in this day and age. Gold is still a timeless way of creating elegance and adding a sense of status and style to your person, so finding a way to embrace gold that works with your own style is a great asset.
Types of Gold - Gold Jewelry
Too often, when people hear ‘gold’, they think of traditional yellow gold, often in the simple wedding bands worn by so many. However, the world of gold is varied and multifaceted, with many different styles of gold which offer a wide range of options when it comes to choosing what suits your own style best.
Here’s a rundown of the types of gold available on the market…
Yellow Gold - yellow gold is created by mixing pure gold with silver, copper, and zinc. It’s the purest color out of the golds and is also the most hypoallergenic. It also requires the least maintenance.
White Gold - white gold is made from a mix of gold and platinum, or palladium. White gold is a more durable gold than yellow gold, and also is more scratch-resistant. It can also be more affordable than both yellow gold and platinum when they're on their own.
Rose Gold - this is a gold that has been rising in popularity, especially when it comes to jewelry for women. It’s a gold which is alloyed with gold, copper, and silver and is also known as pink gold. It’s more affordable than other golds as it uses inexpensive copper to get its rose color.
Green Gold - this is a gold which isn’t seen too commonly and is mixed with gold, silver, and sometimes also copper. Silver is what gives the gold the green nuance.
When buying gold jewelry, the first thing to look for is the karat mark, ‘k’. This karat mark is how you can be sure of the gold content each piece of jewelry possesses.
100% pure gold is always marked as 24k, but it’s unusual to find this, as pure gold is such a soft metal that it’s almost always mixed with other metals in order to keep it from scratching and bending. The most common type of gold which is sold throughout the US is 14k. The purer the gold content, the more expensive the piece of jewelry.
Another area which is important to understand when shopping for gold jewelry is the variety of plating options. This is found by looking for the quality stamp on the metal. Without this quality stamp, it’s impossible to know for sure which type of gold was used. There’s a variety of gold plating options which you may see when buying gold jewelry.
Here’s a description of each…
Gold layered - there is no standard across the board for what it means to be ‘gold layered’, so gold layered jewelry can actually have a very thin gold layer. Often gold in this category will be cheaper because of this.
Gold leaf - this is gold which has been hammered by hand until it’s in extremely thin layers before being wrapped around the metal. Often, 22k or 24k gold is used as thin gold layers to decorate various kinds of jewelry and artwork. It’s easily recognizable by its irregular foil patterns and has quite a beautiful, elegant effect.
Gold plated - Gold plated, or gold electroplated, is jewelry which has a very thin layer of gold on the surface of the metal. The base metal is often stainless steel or brass which is dipped into gold. This is a process which gives jewelry a gold-like appearance. As this gold layer is often very thin, it can wear off over time, so this is a less durable and reliable option when choosing gold jewelry.
Gold overlay - A gold overlay piece of jewelry has a thicker coat of gold coating, therefore becoming more durable over time than a gold layered or gold plated alternative. This process uses heat and pressure to mix and bond the metals, creating a very firm and reliable finished product.
Gold filled - the irony of gold filled jewelry is it’s not actually filled with gold. Its base metals are usually brass or copper which is then covered by sheets of gold. A heat and pressure process is used to mix and bond metals together. When cared for well, the gold layer will not flake or peel off. This is also a jewelry which is safe for people with sensitive skin.
Vermeil - Vermeil, which is pronounced ‘ver-may’, is a gold-plated sterling silver. The difference between vermeil and gold plated is that gold vermeil has a thicker gold layer, and uses sterling silver as its base metal. Vermeil is a better choice than the alternatives for those with skin allergies. Although vermeil is not usually marked, it is often marked with a ‘925’ stamp, which means it is gold vermeil.
When shopping for gold jewelry, it’s wise to arm yourself with valuable information which can make the process easier and bring about the best end result for your budget, your needs and your desires.
Gold in Fashion
Of course, gold jewelry isn’t the only place you can get the sparkle of wearing gold. Gold in fashion is a look that continues to emerge as the seasons change, showing itself in dresses, clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories.
The 2014 Oscars saw many a celebrity walk the red carpet in a gold dress, mimicking the famous awards statue handed out on the night. Taylor Swift’s glittering gold Gucci dress saw her adorned from head to toe in a delicate gold dress which caught the light and saw many heads turned. At the 2013 Billboard Awards, Jennifer Lopez walked for the paparazzi in an eye-catching golden Zuhair Murad dress, with gold foil detail drawing eyes to her silhouette. Chrissy Teigen arrived at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in a Johanna Johnson gold sequin gown with a beautiful trailing train, ensuring the paparazzi had plenty of material when it came to conveying the glamor and reality of the evening. In short, the celebrities are well aware that donning a golden gown on their trip down the red carpet will bring the kind of attention they’re looking for, but you don’t need a celebrity budget in order to rock the gold glamor look for yourself. Currently, in the 2017 fashion scene, there’s a metallic trend seeing the introduction of silver and gold hues in different forms. Whether it’s a gold and silver jacket, gold shoes or a gold dress, there’s a myriad of ways for you to introduce this eye-catching and beautiful hue into your everyday wardrobe.
Gold heels are also a great way to add some fun and style to your outfit in a minimal way. Open toed or closed, gold shoes can be worn in either a formal or classy environment or can be thrown on with a pair of jeans and a partially gold shirt in order to obtain a fun but casual look - especially great for drinks on the weekend!
There are some fashion rules which apply to wearing gold, whether a gold dress, gold shirt, or on your feet…
Let each piece shine!... As you’re wearing an eye-catching color, which will definitely make a statement, make sure not to over-accessorize your outfit. There’s an old adage about taking off one accessory before leaving the house, and this is especially important when embracing a metallic hue. Be careful not to overdo it, or it’ll be hard to know just what kind of look you're going for, and a "statement" will be the last thing you end up making.
Don’t be afraid to mix metals... Do you believe that just because you’re wearing a gold piece in your outfit, you’re not able to wear silver, bronze or copper jewelry? Wrong! Old-fashioned individuals might feel otherwise, but in this modern day and age, it’s no longer a fashion faux pas to mix metals. In fact, it’s actually a fashion statement. Try shaking things up by pairing your gold clothing with some sterling silver or platinum jewelry and enjoy the effect.
Think high necklines for sparkly dresses... Often gold dresses will come in a shimmering or sequin form. In order to stay on the sophisticated side of sexy, watch where your neckline falls so that the overall effect isn’t overwhelming. Try finishing your outfit off with simple black accessories to complement the sparkly gold.
Glittery, metallic jackets can be worn around the shoulders rather than fully covering the shoulders which will create a stylish and edgy effect. This is a great option for those looking to add some sparkle to their outfits without looking too over the top with full on sequined outerwear.
Gold accents can direct the eye where you’d like it to go... Got a particular curve you’d love to highlight, or perhaps an area of your body you want to draw attention away from? A shiny, beaded gold waistband or belt is a powerful way to accentuate your waist and add some points of interest to your outfit. This is a versatile way to embrace what works for you and for your body.
Embrace your love of black: Are you the kind of girl whose wardrobe is full of black tees, skirts, and dresses, because you just can’t help yourself? You’re able to pair a sleek, all-black outfit with shiny gold shoes or a gold clutch in order to put some color and sparkle into your look without abandoning the good old black you’re so comfortable in.
On that note, black leather is gold’s best friend: want to add an edge to your outfit? Try combining a sequin gold statement piece with a black leather item to offset it, such as a gold sequin singlet and a black leather skirt. These two colours and styles look great together and create a classy but edgy tone.
The other area that’s important to pay attention to is the tone of the gold in your outfit items. Certain gold fabrics have more yellow or orange tinge than others, which may be cooler and potentially beige-like. As well, some golds have a more antique feel to them, while others are brighter. It’s far too easy to limit gold as one particular color or tone when in fact, the world of gold is wide and varied, with plenty of space for exploration to find what suits you!
Some simple outfit combinations to remember and play with are…
Gold dress, black shoes: This is the easiest, most simple and most classic way to wear a gold dress. not only do black shoes go with just about every outfit, but a pair of strappy black heels can go a long way in adding a dramatic accent against the lighter and more flamboyant gold dress. The stark contrast between the bright metal and dark shoe is a great way for both the black and the gold to make contrasting and complementing statements.
Gold dress, gold shoes: Although this doesn’t seem like the most logical combination, gold shoes can look wonderful when paired with gold dresses, particularly when it’s a fancier dress. However, if you decide to go down this route, make sure to match the tone of the gold in the dress with the tone of the shoes, otherwise you’ll look a little out of place!
Gold dress, off-white shoes: This is a classy look that’s great for weddings, fancy events or more formal occasions. This is a less contrasting look than pairing a black heel with a gold dress, but this is a style option that really allows your gold dress to shine without the distraction of the heavy black heel.
Another great area of gold accessories is the world of earrings. Gold earrings are a fun and sexy way to add some sparkle to an outfit, and they are highly versatile. Dangling, stud or hoop earrings all have different effects on your outfit's style and can either formalize an outfit, add something sweet or cute, or seriously contrast against a more serious ensemble.
It is important to check whether your ears can accept certain types of gold earrings, as some are of a lower quality than others. Cheap earrings have the potential to cause infections and require care when being worn. Earrings which are made out of real gold will be better for sensitive ears as they’ll have fewer side effects than their cheaper counterparts. However, everyone’s ears are different, so play around with a few different styles and both the cheaper and more expensive end of the gold earring market.
No woman can go wrong having a pair of gold earrings on standby. Gold is also a beautiful metal to set diamonds against, and gold and white diamond earrings are a classic and beautiful look, instantly elevating an outfit from simple to stunning. Many women choose to wear gold earrings instead of gold necklaces when dressing for weddings or fancy events, as their dresses may already be too layered with color or texture to withstand a necklace as well. Earrings are an easy way to add that necessary last accessory without going too far over the top.
Gold for Men
Were you under the impression that the realm of gold jewelry and clothing was off-limits to men, designed solely for women? Wrong! Gold’s versatility opens it up to the entire world of men’s fashion and is a great hue for men looking to add some class and style into their wardrobes and their weekly outfit rotations.
Of course, the most obvious place to start is the most classic choice men will make: a gold watch. A classic, solid gold watch is an instant way to add a rich statement to every outfit. Not only does it give off a certain level of class and style, but a gold watch also signifies a maturity that can definitely add value to those first impressions people are so quick to make. What men wear on their wrists does not shift as seasonally as the clothes which change so quickly, so investing in a reliable, stylish gold watch is a great way to begin to build a statement.
An emerging watch trend in 2017 is the white gold watch. 2015 first saw a resurgence in white gold which has continued through 2016 and is still remaining strong. Rose gold had enjoyed a few years as the ruling gold of choice for men’s wrist wear before white gold but has now been unseated in preference for the white. This is a more traditionally masculine metal and looks very handsome as a watch face set against a leather wristband, with many different choices in combinations.
The great thing about gold watches is their versatility - in gold tone, in wristband material and color, in watch face size and style, and in functionality. As this is an investment purchase, spend some time researching the varieties available and trying some on for size to see what you’re most comfortable with and which gold watch best reflects your personal brand and style. There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered!
The next men’s accessories enjoying a wealth of gold options is in the area of suits and ties. While a gold suit might be a little out there for the average male, incorporating a gold tie against a grey or black suit is a nice way to add a stylish flair without going too far, or a gold and black striped bow tie makes a classy, mature statement.
Gold ties are particularly popular for race days when outfits are required which fulfill both class, style, function and fun. A gold tie, either patterned or plain, is a fun way to embrace the spirit of the day and bring that classy touch to your suit combination. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and styles - gold ties come in a range of patterns and textures, and can be played with to create a statement against both plain and patterned suits.
The other area where men’s accessories benefit from the metallic gold hues are in sunglasses. Gold frames are a classy way to embrace the vintage sunglass style. This is a subtle way to incorporate some gold into your outfit and is also a versatile option, as sunglasses can be worn across the full spectrum of clothing styles and in many different scenarios.
A sunglass style making a comeback is the tinted lens, which happens to look fantastic when set against a gold frame. The classic aviators benefit from the variety of gold metals available to choose from.
Gold tie clips and tie bars are a simple accessory that can add a lot of style. Tie clips are used to keep your tie looking sharp and secure, keeping it from blowing in the wind or dipping into your soup bowl. A gold tie clip against a solid color tie will be eye-catching and add a touch of elegance to any outfit, even when the tie is being worn against a smart-casual shirt.
Taking it up a notch, many men also choose to wear a simple, gold chain as a neck piece. This is another area that is often thought of as a female-only domain, and it is often difficult for men to get over the mindset that jewelry is only for women, but many men embrace the incorporation of simple pieces of jewelry into their everyday style. Men can look great when wearing the right gold chain, and there are a number of brands out there which are making items of superb quality and also designed for the man's style and functionality. ‘Costume jewelry’, or jewelry which is larger, chunky and more full of bling (rows of jewels and noticeable sparkle) is reserved for women’s fashion.
Once this is understood, it’s easy to find necklaces which will achieve the look men are after - to complement, not to make a statement as the centerpiece. Necklaces for men need to be a bit rough and rugged, a little less perfect around the edges. It should look natural and like it’s been worn for years rather than shiny, fresh from the jewelry store.
The five most popular styles of gold necklaces for men are…
Dog tags: military-style dog tags have been embraced by a huge range of jewelers, with high-class jewelers now making upscale versions of their own. Basic dog tags are essentially a pair of tabs on a ball chain with text. They’re used practically in the army and military forces, so their use in everyday wear harkens back to a ‘rough and rugged’ sentiment many men love to evoke.
Chains: plain, unornamented chains are a very classic male piece of jewelry. By combining a number of them, you can create a wide range of looks and styles, depending on the color of the gold metal used, the length of the chain, the style of the links and the way in which you fasten them. The most classic look which everyone is familiar with is the style with relatively flat loops which are spaced close together so that the chain appears as almost a solid ribbon of metal. Men have been wearing these for the better part of a century, and these are a statement on their own. They look great both with a simple white t-shirt or with a tailored suit. Depending on your personal style, the key to wearing a chain like this is to begin slowly. Go for understated rather than overstated and keep the chain beneath your shirt. The small amount which will be visible will make the statement on its own, without the ‘bling’ which is most likely unintended.
Religious emblems: many male necklaces have a religious affiliation and are tied to religious relics and faiths. Some are required by different faiths, while others are personal displays of belief. Items which are popular in this category include the Christian cross, Stars of David, scapulars, and other symbols of varying religion. These are often also worn under the shirt and against the body, on a chain which is long enough so that the ornaments full below the neckline. Again, these are best when they’re understated and simple. As this is quite a personal statement to make, it’s nice to have the flexibility to wear the necklace under your shirt, pulling it out when you choose.
Pendants: A pendant-style necklace is a single small ornament on a relatively long chain or cord. These are common and versatile, with the ornament taking the form of anything from a shaped jewel to a clay tablet with a character etched on it, or even a tiny vial or scroll case. There’s a wide and varied range of these pendants available. These necklaces can be worn either beneath the shirt or on top, and are often worn tucked underneath anything with a turn down collar.
The world of gold jewelry for men is larger than solely necklaces. Watches, rings, cufflinks, and bracelets also make up the selection men have to choose from. Gold wedding bands for men are extremely popular, with the range of gold available making for a versatile and varied pool from which to choose. As well, gold cufflinks are a great way to add that final touch of style and sophistication to your complete suit. Many men in 2017 are also choosing to wear collar and lapel pins or a simple gold chain link bracelet, either with suits or with more casual ensembles. This is an area to explore until you find what’s right for you, but remember, the world of gold is wide, surprising and full of fun opportunities to glam up your everyday appearance. Go for a dive and explore it!