Last updateThu, 17 May 2018 7am

The Story Behind the Stone: Gilty Pleasure


Recently while ruminating over the current price of gold, I decided to take a peek into the history of gold prices since they have first been recorded. Some curious gold-trivia popped up.

Brumani “Looping Shine Casual” ring: white & pink gold with diamonds and crystal.
Seems like Sir Isaac Newton, as master of the UK Mint, set gold prices in 1717 and they stayed basically the same for a couple hundred years. America didn’t exist as a nation then, so it took us a while to get in the game. When historical gold prices were recorded here, beginning in 1833, it was under $19 a troy ounce. No big swing except during the Napoleonic wars which occurred from 1797 to 1821 when scarcity juggled the price a bit.

From the end of the 18th century until the 1970s, the US government set the gold prices in the states. It only incurred 4 changes during that time, going from $19.75 a troy ounce eventually heading north to $42.22 in 1973. When a two tiered pricing system went into effect in mid twentieth century, gold prices were free to fluctuate on demand.

Jewelry lovers still crave the real deal irrespective of the price. The soft luster and feel of karat gold is matchless to any other jewelry metal. What designers are aiming for these days is a big look for the amount of gold in each item. Not so hefty, but the look is impressive.

Artisan jewelers are offering more than white, yellow and rose gold. You hear descriptions like black, grey, green and blue gold to describe the subtle but sumptuous gold alloys that creative designers are using with their collections.

Hellmuth Gold Croco pattern cuff with cubic zirconia.
So when couture jewelers do get hefty with their gold weight, collectors swoon. These days, heavy gold jewelry packs a wallop. When your customers are waffling about a pricey piece of gold jewelry you are offering, tell them to feel the heft, appreciate the weight of the gold, and remind them that every time they put this piece on, the weight will verify its luxury.

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is also a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, various online outlets, and for sightholders and other industry leaders.. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website, www.dianajarrett.com, and/or follow her on FaceBook and Twitter (Loupey).