If you like looking through pawn shops for gold jewelry, you've probably noticed that there are some unique items showing up in the cases: gold that isn't actually gold colored. While yellow gold has been a mainstay for years, it's now possible to find gold jewelry readily available that's yellow, white, rose and even shades of greens. What's the difference?
It's All About The Base Metal
The underlying color to your gold jewelry is actually derived from alloy metals like copper and zinc. Pure gold is an incredibly soft metal, which bends out of shape too easily to be practical in most jewelry or coin unless it's mixed with some amount of harder metals. The underlying metals used changes the color of the overall mixture, creating unique shades and varieties of gold for your jewelry.
Karat Also Affects Color
Yellow gold is usually gold mixed with copper, zinc, and silver. It's a traditional, classic look, but even all yellow gold isn't the same color. The purity of gold is measured in terms of "karats" (in reference to an ancient method of measuring grains of gold on scales against carob seeds). Pure gold is 24 karats. Gold jewelry is commonly found in 10 karats, 14 karats, and 18 karats.
Because the alloy content is lower in high karat gold, the yellow hue is usually more buttery and vibrant in color. In return, however, you give up some of the durability provided by the alloy, which can be inconvenient, especially in rings that are meant to be worn every day (like wedding bands).
If the amount of silver or zinc is reduced and more copper is added, the gold takes on a reddish hue. Depending on the karat of gold involved, the gold can have a fiery tinge or appear almost totally pink.
Green gold is actually a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, called electrum, and sometimes includes other trace metals. Man-made versions of the alloy are now made for jewelry, and the tint can range from greenish-yellow to greenish-white.
White gold is a unique alloy of gold and either silver or palladium, both of which produce a more greyish-white result. In order to brighten the metal, a lot of white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium, which is similar to platinum.
Color Doesn't Affect Value
The value of your gold jewelry is controlled by the karat, quantity, and quality of workmanship, not its color. However, if you're buying jewelry with an eye toward resale value or as a heirloom piece, keep in mind that plain yellow gold is considered the most timeless look.
White gold tends to rise and fall in popularity over time with regularity while rose and green gold are less common. Rose and green gold may be seen as either "vintage" or "dated" depending on whose opinion you ask, so that could affect the interest in a piece over time.
For more information, contact Palace Jewelry & Loan or a similar company.