Gold is the one metal that has stood the test of time, and is still the most valuable and sought after, of all the metals today. That soft, dense and shiny metal will hardly lose its character regardless of the environmental circumstances it's exposed to. However, when most people think about gold, they first think about it in shades of yellow and white. In reality, gold comes in many hues - some so uncommon, you could even toss them out, mistakenly believing you're holding a worthless piece of rock. So, how many different colors of gold are there? Before you go shopping for jewelry, it's worth understanding the different colors of gold - why they're colored differently and what colors are more valuable and durable.
Colors Of Gold
Gold in its purest form is actually very bright yellow. All the variations you see are from mixing this pure gold with other metals. One of the reasons pure gold is mixed with other metals is because, gold in its purest form is extremely soft - so it won't be able to take the form of jewelry permanently.
Some of the most popular colors are yellow, rose, white and green. Aside from these colors, you'll also find gold in blue, purple and black shades. Here's how they get their various shades:
- Yellow Gold - is the closest to its natural shade. How yellow a piece of jewelry is will depend on the actual gold content, which can be ascertained by the number of karats (more on this later).
- White Gold - is very similar to yellow gold, in terms of its properties. Just that different alloys are added to pure gold to give it its color. Metals like palladium alloy, copper and zinc can be added. More expensive white gold are usually plated with even whiter metals, like rhodium to increase its shine.
- Rose Gold - the rose color is gotten from mixing silver and copper together. It's the copper that gives the pinkish hue. Unadorned (with diamonds or other stones), rose gold tends to be the least expensive - because the copper added into it is one of the least costly metals.
- Green Gold - is gotten by adding copper, silver and zinc to pure gold. The greener the jewelry, the more concentrated the pure gold is, ergo the more expensive it will be.
Measuring Gold Content - Karats
As said earlier, gold in its pure form is too soft to be used in making jewelry. So what you'd mostly find alloys made up of gold and other metals. The value of a jewelry is in its gold content, which is usually measured in karats - with pure gold having a 24k designation. This is the concentration for the most common designations.
- 24 karats is the purest form of gold. It could literally melt under intense heat - even the sun, so it's very rare to find jewelry made of 100% gold.
- 21 karat gold is 21/24th or 87% pure gold, with about 13% alloy.
- 18 karat jewelry are some of the most popular high end jewelry you'll find. They contain 75% pure gold, and are stronger than both 21k and 24k jewelry.
- On the lower end of the scale, you'll find 14k (58% gold), and 10k (42% gold). They're incredibly strong, but aren't worth much.