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The Difference Between Gold Types

The Difference Between Gold Types

Gold is an extremely popular precious metal. Pure gold today and that discovered from centuries past are essentially one and the same. Variations come into play when things are added to the gold to create subtle differences in color and density. Gold in its purest forms is yellow in color and malleable and soft. It can be formed and molded to create almost any shape or design. There are other types of gold also used in the making of fine jewelry. Each has its own special qualities and comes in a variety of karats.

Yellow Gold

Cartier yellow gold love bangle with box

Yellow gold is one of the most common types of metal used in the making of jewelry. It is extremely soft and requires stronger metals to be blended with it to stabilize it and prevent it from losing form and shape. While most metals are a combination of alloys, yellow gold is the truest of all of the golden metals. 24k gold is normally 99 to 100 percent pure gold. As the karat gets smaller, so does the percentage of real gold. Because true gold is so soft, it is rarely used alone in gold jewelry. Retailers who sell gold in Boca Raton can explain the differences between yellow, silver, rose and other colors of gold.

White Gold

VCA Alhambra bracelet turquoise and white gold

To attain a light or white gold, a white metal must be added to the gold to dilute it down and sufficiently lighten the color. White gold normally consists of 58.5 percent or 14k yellow gold mixed with varying amounts of palladium, manganese or nickel. In some cases, a combination of all the light metals may be used. Zinc and copper may also be used. Once the right blend of other metals is achieved, a thin coating of rhodium is often applied to the surface of white gold to enhance its shine and give it an even whiter appearance.

Rose Gold

FP Journe Octa Reserve de Marche 18kt Rose Gold

Rose gold is the result of mixing copper with yellow gold. Copper can be added in varying amounts to produce a spectrum of colors ranging from pink to rose to red gold. With 75 percent 18k yellow gold and 25 percent copper, a medium rose color is produced. If a deeper red is desired, the ratio of gold to copper is 50/50. If a lighter pink is desired, a minimal amount of copper is added to a higher karat of gold.

Rose and pink gold are commonly found in Black Hills gold. They are also used when something other than the normal yellow or white (silver) metals most jewelry is made of. Custom made jewelry may often times include variations of rose or pink gold to set it apart from others in the same line. Individuals who want a one of a kind piece may request rose or pink gold due to its unique color and ability to show detail. When formulated to be used in Black Hills gold it must be manufactured and used in South Dakota for the jewelry to be labeled accordingly.

Black Hills Gold

Black Hills gold is a mixture of different shades of gold. Most pieces contain yellow gold, rose or pink gold and green gold. The green gold is the result of mixing yellow gold with silver (73 percent gold to 27 percent silver). Black Hills gold was created by Henri LeBeau in the 1870’s. Because of the unique nature of the gold and where it originated from, the 8th Circuit Court (District of South Dakota) declared that for any mixture that contained these three particular shades of gold to be called Black Hills gold, the metal must be manufactured in South Dakota. The three metals can be made separately and are often used independent of one another. The popularity of the tri-color, grapes and vine pattern, however, sparked an interest in the combination leading to the ruling made by the court.


Cartier Trinity Earrings

The term karat (or carat) is used to denote the quality or purity of gold or diamonds. In essence, the letter “k” tells the consumer just how much gold a piece of jewelry is made with. The higher the karat, the more gold it contains. A 24k piece of jewelry is the most expensive and the highest quality because the metal it is made with is 99 to 100 percent pure gold. Jewelry that is made with 24k gold is often very delicate due to the softness of the metal. Most pieces of jewelry are 10k, 14k or 18k. By including alloys, jewelers can create pieces of jewelry that will hold their form and shape without becoming distorted or bent.

As the numbers decrease, the amount of pure gold also decreases. For example, 12k gold is made with approximately 50 percent pure gold. The other 50 percent is a blend of alloys and other metals that help to strengthen and support the gold making it stronger and less prone to bending or losing its shape.

Silver, copper, nickel, manganese and palladium are all used to blend with gold to increase its stability. The amount of pure gold and the amount of each of the other alloys will determine both the color and karat of the gold. Gold jewelry is held to an extremely high standard of quality and many jewelers are quite particular in the karat and style of jewelry they choose to carry in their stores. Jewelers who sell gold in Boca Raton are required to meet or exceed the standards put in place by their industry as well as those set by the United States Federal Reserve when dealing with gold and silver.

In order for jewelry to be labeled “gold”, it must be at least 10k. Karat value determines the value of the jewelry by allowing customers to know just how much gold each piece contains. By dividing the karat value by 24 and multiplying it by 100, a customer will be able to determine just what percentage of their gold jewelry is true gold. The higher the percentage, the more gold it contains and the more valuable it is.


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