Three Colours of Gold Explained

Yellow, Rose and White Gold – What are they?

                          gem-set ring


There are in fact more than three colours (another story!), but in the UK we can commonly buy yellow, rose and white gold in jewellery and all of them are alloys of gold and other metals.

What are the differences between the colours? It’s quite simple really. All the colours are alloys of the same percentage of gold and the following metals:

Yellow Gold contains gold, silver, copper and platininum
Rose Gold contains gold and copper
White gold contains gold, silver, platinum and manganese or palladium. Sometimes nickel is added to give it additional strength.

The base amount of gold determines the Karat (K), or purity of the metal:

9k gold = 37.5% gold
14k gold = 58.5% gold
18k gold = 75% gold
22k gold = 91.6% gold
24k gold = 100% gold

So whatever you choose, you will always have the same percentage of gold irrespective of colour.

What characteristics of the three colours can I expect, to help me choose what to buy:

Yellow gold is the traditional colour that has a brilliant yellow sheen. It was revered in Ancient Egypt and pre-latin Columbian America with associations with sun gods and Mother Nature. It is the softest of the three colours so more prone to scratching.

Rose Gold has a Victorian and vintage feel about it but is making a big revival in modern jewellery. It is also called “pink” or “red” or “Russian” gold (popular in Russian at the time of the last Tsar) and is the most durable and scratch resistant of all three colours due its copper content.

White Gold is the modern gold often associated with minimalist and deco-inspired designs. It is often rhodium plated to add to its whiteness but this can wear away over time, depending on usage, exposing the underlying yellowish sheen of the white gold. It can easily be re-dipped to bring it back to a whiter appearance. Often preferred as a less expensive alternative to platinum but with a similar look.

When choosing your gold colour, bear in mind your skin tone and what might or might not suit you. If you’re buying a wedding ring, you will have to live with your choice for a long time (hopefully!) yet…this is the subject of my NEXT blog!

At WMM Silver we make gold jewellery on commission and use it freely as an accent to complement sterling silver. You can find bits of gold strewn throughout  my shop by clicking HERE  .

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