The Different Colors of Gold And How They’re Made

February 04, 2020 - Jewelry & Luxury Items

Best estimates say that around 184,000 tonnes of gold have ever been mined from the Earth.

While most speculate there’s more gold out there, it’s difficult to say how much can be mined.

Pure gold is rare. That might make you wonder about how rare some of the other gold colors are. How are different colors of gold made, and how many are there?

Yellow Gold

This is what people refer to when they talk about “pure” gold, but most yellow gold isn’t pure. It usually has copper and silver mixed into it.

There’s good reason for this. Gold on its own is incredibly soft. If you tried to make a ring or a necklace out of it, you wouldn’t have this piece of jewelry very long.

White Gold

When it comes to colors of gold, white gold is often the next choice for people. White gold may look like silver or platinum, which some people prefer to the look of yellow gold.

White gold isn’t pure gold though. It’s mixed with a white metal, such as nickel, zinc, or palladium. These metals are what give white gold its distinctive hue.

Rose Gold

One of the trendiest different gold colors right now is rose gold. This gold takes on a pinkish hue. It’s been spotted in everything from interior design to jewelry to the latest iPhones.

You can thank copper for this shade. The more copper in the alloy, the more pink or red the gold will appear.

Green Gold

You may hear green gold referred to as electrum. Unlike other gold color variations, green gold occurs in nature, so it’s been known to people for millennia. It’s a natural mixture of silver and gold.

The hue of this gold color is more of a yellowish-green than an emerald. It also tends to be soft, which may be on reason it isn’t as popular as other gold colors. When zinc is added, however, it becomes much harder.

Blue Gold

Blue may not be the first type of gold color you think of it, probably because it’s somewhat unusual. To make blue gold, indium can be added to gold. There’s more indium than gold in the mix, giving the cast a blue tint.

Other metals can be added to create different shades of blue. One problem with blue gold is that it can leach color if exposed to sweat.

Purple Gold

Speaking of striking types of gold colors, have you ever seen purple gold? This shade is achieved by blending gold and aluminum.

Purple gold tends to be brittle, which makes it less than idea for use in jewelry. You may see it used as an inlay.

Black Gold

No, we’re not referring to oil. Black gold is one of the many gold colors modern artisans use. It’s made in a variety of ways.

Mixing cobalt with pure gold and heating it will produce a black oxide on the surface. Rhodium and ruthenium can be electroplated to produce black gold as well.

Gold Colors and Prices

Like pure gold, most gold colors are identified by the karat system. An 18-karat gold has 18 parts gold to six parts of another metal, making it 75 percent gold.

Rose gold and white gold come in 18K and 14K varieties. Other gold colors, like blue gold, may be 10K.

Some gold colors may be more expensive, depending on the price of the other metals in the alloy. Rose and pink gold, for example, tend to be more expensive.

What’s Your Gold Worth?

Gold in any color has excellent resale value. If you want to find out what different gold colors are worth, take a look at our blog to learn more.

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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