Understanding Gold Types and Colors
Gold is a complex material that is often used in jewelry, along with platinum and silver. However, different kinds of Gold are used in jewelry depending on the type of piece it is used in, the diamonds that are being set, and the taste of the person who is wearing the piece.
First, let us look at gold from a chemical standpoint, for after all, it is a chemical element. The chemical symbol of gold is Au. Gold is a ductile metal whose properties remain when exposed to air or water.
Next, let us analyze its appearance. Unlike other metals, which are mostly gray, silver, or silvery white, gold in its natural form is yellow. This factor sets gold apart from other metals, and makes its unique. While gold is considered a very strong metal, it is also impressionable, more so than any other precious metal. That makes it ideal for jewelry.
Gold is measured in karats, similar to the way in which diamonds are defined by the 4 Cs. The karats for measuring Gold are different than the carats that diamonds are measured in. Gold is defined by how pure it is, which is a ratio that is divided into 24 parts. Pure gold, which is100% natural gold, is considered 24 karats, or 24K. Though this type of gold may be the purest, it is too soft to be used for jewelry, as is 22K gold. The types of gold used most commonly for jewelry are 18K gold, comprised of 75% gold, and 14K gold, which contains 58.3% gold. Gold with a very low percentage of actual gold, such as 10K gold (41.7% gold), is also used for jewelry. Since pure gold is too soft to construct jewelry, it is combined with additional metals such as silver, copper, zinc, and nickel. These metals provide the gold with the necessary strength and sturdiness to be crafted into jewelry pieces. The percentage of genuine gold present within the gold alloy not only accounts for the level of prestige and price, but for its color as well. The amount of each metal alloy, paired with the type of alloy used, is responsible for the final color of the gold. 24K Gold can only be yellow, but other karat amounts be either white, rose, or yellow gold. There have also been other colors of gold developed, such as green gold and black gold, which are alloys that contain gold in them and other, additional elements to produce the color.
The term gold brings instant images of the color yellow to one’s mind, but in reality, gold jewelry comes in far more colors than the standard yellow. Jewelry stores around the world have their display shelves lined with yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold jewelry.
Yellow Gold – As mentioned before, natural gold is yellow. In order to maintain the yellow color when adding alloys for the gold’s strength, copper, and silver with a green tint, are used. When successfully combined, a bright and deep shade of yellow gold is created.
A yellow diamond solitaire ring in 18K Yellow Gold
White Gold – White gold is currently very popular, as it has been for decades. The advantage of white gold is that it has the clean and simple beauty of silver, but the strength and prestige of gold. Pure gold is combined with alloys such as silver and nickel, and plated in a material called rhodium, before it is transformed into white gold. Although quite durable, the rhodium coating can rub off from time to time. It can easily be restored with a quick rhodium treatment at the jewelry store.
A yellow diamond solitaire ring in 18K White Gold
Rose Gold – Rose gold is a different and really beautiful alternative to the more common colors of gold. This gold color comes about when natural yellow gold is mixed with a copper alloy. The reddish metal gives the gold a stunning pink hue, turning it into what we know as rose gold.
A brownish yellow solitaire ring in 18K Rose Gold
Like all things precious, gold can be pricey. However, prices do fluctuate depending on the market, gold purity, weight, and intricacy of the piece. Luckily, old gold can always be sold, exchanged, or melted down in order to create a new piece. Gold is a luxurious commodity that is not only valuable but can be worn and enjoyed as a jewelry piece and passed down for generations.