You know of the three main colors: gold, yellow, white, and rose gold, but did you know that gold exists in other colors?
There are 9 colors of gold, or rather, 9 gold alloys, and we’ll talk about all these alloys here. But first, a look at the basics of the gold alloys and how they’ve all come to be.
What makes gold different colors?
In its pure state, gold is one of the most malleable metals. And so, to come up with a different version of gold jewelry, pure gold is alloyed with other metals, which harden it, hence the creation of versatile designs of gold jewelry.
In addition to hardening the pure gold, combining it with different metals in varying proportions changes the color of gold. Combining these different metals results in the formation of gold in different colors.
So, the different colors of the gold alloys exist depending on the metal(s) pure gold is mixed with and the proportions. The specialists consider these mix and blend of metal proportions that create great gold alloys and recipes for coloring gold, which makes sense because the outcome from these metal blends varies depending on the ingredients incorporated and how much of each metal goes in.
So, whether the gold is alloyed with copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, or other metals, the gold coloring will differ. And so, like many secret recipes, the major jewelry retailers and jewelers that often come up with different variations of the gold alloys will keep the specifics of their recipes a secret.
Along with the color changes, the alloying process of the gold jewelry is also what will ensure and facilitate the processing of the gold, whether through casting, rolling, or polishing.
The alloying also gives the gold additional desirable features like improved friction resistance and overall durability. And then you have the unique and innovative gold alloys whose colors and perhaps their mechanical properties are so unique and have been protected through patent registration.
So, think of the different colors that come from alloying of gold as the result of careful blending of gold and other metals in specific proportions, depending on the desired gold color.
10 types different colors of gold jewelry
1. Yellow Gold
Yellow gold has a naturally bright yellow hue, but yellow gold is a slightly toned-down version of pure gold, and it gets to retain its yellow color when you add copper and silver to it.
Experts note that the added copper and silver have to be in a good or generous dosage to create yellow gold, but the legal titles, color, and feel of gold must be respected.
With this in mind, yellow gold has been created in different carats, and it’s interesting to see how the color of yellow gold changes to adapt to the changes made and the metals added in.
Here are the main versions of yellow gold:
22K Yellow gold is made of 91.7% pure gold, 5% silver, 2% copper, and 1.3% zinc.
18K Yellow Gold – this contains 75% pure gold, 12.5% copper, and 12.5% silver
14K Yellow Gold – this contains 58.3% pure gold, 11.5%-25% silver, 11.5%-23% copper, and 2%-7% zinc
2. White Gold and Gray Gold
These two are the other standard colors of gold. White gold is much more popular as it is used in jewelry more often, where the solid gold that is technically off-white is covered with or plated with rhodium, hence its final bright white, lustrous finish.
Note that most of the white gold alloys get their name from the gold-whitening metals group, which gives the final hue of the mass of gold, which is essentially light gray.
Note that to create this variation of light gray, only metals like palladium and nickel are used – the former is quite expensive, though, and the latter, an allergen, was banned in France in 2000. Cadmium was also used in the past, but it is unsafe.
3. White Gold
There are 4 main variations of white gold –20K, 18K, 14K, and 9K.
20K White Gold is made of 83.3% pure gold and 16.7% palladium
18K white gold is made of 75% pure gold, 18.5% silver, 1% copper, and 5.5% zinc
14K white gold contains 58.3% pure gold, 17% silver, 17% copper, and 7.7% zinc
9K White gold contains 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% silver
4. Gray Gold
Gray gold is available mainly in 18k, and it is ideally a form of white gold with 75% pure gold, 17% iron, and 8% copper.
5. Rose Gold
Rose gold is the most versatile, elegant, stylish, and trendiest gold alloy today. It gets its shade of pink and sometimes red from the copper alloyed with pure gold.
Copper added to gold gives it a lighter or darker hue of pink, depending on how much copper is added. Rose gold is not a new color for gold; in fact, it was pretty common with the Russians early in the 20th century, which is where this gold gets its name, Russian Gold.
In addition to its interesting history, the other thing that makes rose gold stand out is that this gold color is available in many hues. 18k pink gold, for example, can be created in 3 ways, and the results are not exactly uniform. Below is a breakdown of the types of rose gold and their respective alloy compositions.
18K Rose/Pink Gold
18K Pink Gold – 75% Pure gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver
18K Pink Gold – 75% Pure Gold, 20% copper, 5% Silver
14K Rose/ Pink Gold
14K Pink Gold –58.3% pure gold, 24.5% copper, and 17.2% silver
9K Rose/ Red/ Pink Gold
9K Pink Gold – 37.5% pure gold, 42.5 fine gold, and 20% silver
6. Red Gold
This version of gold has a higher concentration of copper than pink or rose gold.
18K Red Gold – 75% Pure gold and 25% copper
14k Red Gold – 58.3% pure gold, 32.5% copper, and 9.2% silver
9K Red Gold – 37.5% pure gold, 55% copper, and 7.5% silver
7. Green Gold
Green gold is not the most common type of gold, and you may never see someone wearing green gold jewelry, or you may not wear one, but it is one of the most interesting alloys of gold.
Green gold occurs naturally, and it is not made in the lab. It occurs naturally as an alloy of gold and silver known as Electrum. It is also found in different colors, with reflections ranging from yellow to a light green and an even more pronounced green.
18k green gold is made of 75% pure/ fine gold and 25% silver, while 14k green gold contain 58.3% pure gold, 32.5% silver, 9% copper, and 0.2% zinc.
The other colors of gold are regarded as exotic colors, and they include:
8. Black gold– this is very rare and is often treated by alloying with cobalt. It is also heat-treated. It is made of gray gold, and the surface treatment is black rhodium.
9. Blue Gold– this is the other rare gold alloy. 18K blue gold contains 75% pure gold, alloyed with 24.4% iron and 0.6% nickel. And for the blue finish, the alloy is heat-treated, allowing for the oxidization of the iron and the creation of the superficial blue color. Nickel jewelry is prohibited in Europe, though, and alternative metals like indium are usually added.
10. Purple Gold– this is the other stunning version of gold. Its only downside is that it is quite brittle, hence its use to incrust gold jewelry. A common variation is 19k gold with 79% pure gold and 21% aluminum.
How to choose the gold color jewelry for your skin tone
- Generally, you want to choose white gold or gray gold if you have a cool skin tone/ undertone. The white metals will look good in the light when you’re pale or cool-toned but not so good for warm-toned individuals.
- So, rose and yellow gold will be great for persons with a warm skin tone.
- On the other hand, if you have a neutral skin tone, you can pull off the white and yellow metals and look effortlessly.
If you have been looking for gold jewelry in an unconventional color, or just maybe a bold color that matches your uniquely bold personality, we hope that the information above guides you to make the right choices for unique gold jewelry.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.