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What Makes Gold Different Colors?

Last week we learned that 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, etc. refer to the percentage of pure gold content in jewelry ( ). We also saw that the higher karat gold (higher pure gold content) jewelry has, the richer in color a piece can be. Since color can be changed with gold content, can color be changed by adjusting the content of the other metals?

A few weeks ago, I tasted the yummiest chocolate chunk cookies I have ever had! Leigh’s Bake Shop in San Luis Obispo, Ca ( has perfected the cookie! I ordered her gluten free edition and decided that this cookie was MY cookie! Eating her cookies brought to my mind that baking and metal alloy mixes have a basic similarity, the amount and type of ingredients can change the outcome of the product in a good or not-so good way!

A 14kt gold ring will ALWAYS contain 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metals (see last week’s post to learn more . Gold is also ALWAYS yellow in color, so it’s the mix of the other metals that can change it from a rich yellow to a rosy pink. Interestingly, gold and copper are the only colored, pure metals, all others are white or grey in color. Nickel, palladium, silver, and zinc are strong ‘bleachers’ of gold, turning it white.

  • White gold has nickel, palladium, & zinc. Many people are allergic to nickel, so many alloys contain very small amounts of it or none.

  • Rose gold has a high percentage of copper with some silver mixed in as well

  • Green gold has a high percentage of silver with some copper mixed in

White gold will never be bright white on its own. It is plated with a metal called rhodium to give it a clean, white look. The plating does come off giving the metal a warmer appearance. I wear white gold primarily, and I don’t notice the warmer color unless I am comparing it to a brand-new ring. You can get your ring re-plated with rhodium, and it generally costs around $50-$75 depending the jeweler. I get my re-plated every so often. If you think that the slightly warmer appearance will drive you nuts, I recommend going with platinum as it is a naturally white metal.

Rose gold can be slightly softer than the other mixes of gold. If you have a large center diamond, I recommend using a white gold head (the head is the part that holds the diamond) to keep it secure.

Over the years, each metal color has had its time in the spotlight! I recommend trying them all on to find the color or colors you like best! Who says you have to wear only one??

If you’d like to try on rings in a clean and safe showroom, book your appointment with me!

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