Throughout history, man has used gold to create articles of value, including coins and jewelry. As an enduring element found naturally in a distinct yellow color, gold is resistant to tarnish, rust and corrosion. Despite it’s durable attributes, gold is also the most malleable of all precious metals.
Because gold is a very soft material in its natural state, a metal alloy is added to make it more manageable. With a slight change of its composition, gold can be molded into different designs and tones.
The color of gold is determined by the type of metal alloys included in its composition and by the percentage of each metal alloy within the mixture. The lower the numeric percentage of gold in a mixture, the lighter the color of the resulting alloy. A karat (abbreviated with K or KT) is the unit of measurement for gold. Pure gold is 24K, which means it’s 100 percent gold.
Yellow gold jewelry acquires its color from a combination of natural gold and color saturated alloys. The most commonly used alloys in yellow gold are copper with a red hue and silver with a green hue. It’s this unique combination of pure gold, silver and copper that gives yellow gold its remarkable color.
The term “white gold” actually covers a spectrum of colors that borders or overlaps pale yellow, tinted brown and even a very pale rose. The alloys commonly used in the jewelry industry are gold-palladium-silver and gold-nickel-copper-zinc. Plating of rhodium, which is part of the platinum family, is frequently used to improve the look of white gold.
Rose gold, which is also known as pink gold and red gold, has become increasingly popular in the fashion jewelry world. Its stunning combination of pure gold and copper alloy makes it very durable and gives it a romantic hue.
With the amount of alloy mixtures that can be created, you won’t have a hard time finding the perfect piece of gold jewelry for your own collection. If you’re interested in gold fashion jewelry and how to wear it, be sure to check out our 9 Ways to Rock Gold.
Which color of gold is your favorite?