White Gold, Rose Gold, Yellow Gold, Old Gold!

June 4, 2020

Believe it or not, gold comes in many different forms. Okay, maybe you knew that. But do you know why white gold is different from rose gold is different from gold gold? Not all precious metals are created equal! This time on the Stewart Kuper Jewelers blog, we’re giving you a rundown of the different kinds of gold!

White Gold, Rose Gold, Yellow Gold – Oh my!

Colored gold is another great way to make your jewelry stand out from the crowd. But how do you get those colors?

White Gold

White gold is an alloy (a metal made up of a mix of two or more different metals) of gold and at least one other white metal, usually nickel, silver or palladium. Depending on the metal used to make the gold white it would be a good match for different purposes. For instance, a gold-nickel alloy is strong and hard, making it a perfect option for rings. Gold-palladium meanwhile is a softer alloy used for more delicate, pliable pieces.

A common white gold formula uses 90% gold and 10% nickel. 10% is all you need to create a white gold alloy. In addition, copper or zinc can be added to give the alloy other properties, increasing its malleability or for color.

Rose Gold

We mentioned copper being used in a white gold alloy, but if you keep the nickel/silver/palladium away and just combine gold and copper you’ll get rose gold! Rose gold has a few names including pink or red gold. While these names are frequently (and maybe a bit incorrectly) used interchangeably they actually apply to different ratios of gold and copper. The more copper, the redder the gold looks. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 18K red gold: 75% gold, 25% copper
  • 18K rose gold: 75% gold, 22.25% copper, 2.75% silver
  • 18K pink gold: 75% gold, 20% copper, 5% silver
  • 12K red gold: 50% gold and 50% copper

Yellow Gold

You might be tempted to think yellow gold is just your standard gold, after all, isn’t gold ‘yellow’? This is not the case. Yellow is a brighter shade than gold and when it comes to yellow gold, it is from an alloy of gold, copper, and silver. A ratio of about 75% gold, equal amounts of copper and silver (12.5% each), will yield a lighter yellow color and thus: yellow gold.

Old Gold

Alright, we included this because it makes for a good ending to our Seussian rhyme but older gold pieces can have a distinct change in color: that’s because they can tarnish. Pure 24k gold will keep its beautiful shine forever, but when gold is mixed in an alloy those other metals may react to oxygen and oxidize over time making for darker areas on the piece.

There are even more types of colored gold out there, but the principle remains the same. It is either a gold alloy with some mixture of silver and copper, an intermetallic compound, or a treatment done to the surface of the gold.

Whether you are looking for a rose gold wedding band or white gold rings, Stewart Kuper Jewelers is here. We can show you a number of different pieces with different gold, stones, and styles. You are sure to find the exact right thing. Schedule your appointment today