You’ve more than likely heard of yellow, red and white gold, but did you know gold likewise comes in green, purple and black? read on to discover out more about what reasons colours in gold.

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A tiny bit of history 

Pure yellow (24K or 999) has actually a rich, nearly orange-yellow colour, but gold rarely occurs in nature in pure form. It usually grows as a crystal structure including other elements, favor silver or copper.

As early on explorers traveled about the world and also found gold in various places, lock realized no all yellow is the same colour. Some early finds that gold were a metal known a Electrum – a mix of gold and silver v a pale contempt greenish colour. Other finds proved gold with a reddish tinge.


An experiment in alloying metals: large Sterling silver ring with spinning 14K white, green and red gold bands.

Later, medieval alchemists set out to artificially create gold. They uncovered through much testing that the was possible to change the colour of yellow by adding different metals. For example 

adding copper make a somewhat brittle metal that work-hardened really quickly and also had a red hue.adding silver left the metal really malleable and created a pale steel with a green tinge.

Eventually they uncovered that mix copper and silver developed a yellow metal, albeit a lighter shade, with an excellent working properties. So, as soon as we talk about coloured yellow we space really talking about the blend of other steels or alloys the are added to pure 24K gold.

Although they never ever did regulate to do gold together they collection out to, their explorations have been used by goldsmiths for centuries.

Nowadays, goldsmiths mostly buy yellow in the karat and also color they need to make a particular piece the jewellery. Sometimes a goldsmith will adjust an alloy when reworking old yellow jewellery to meet modern Assay standards. Some goldsmiths have dedicated processes for making a variety of colours – the recipes for which are safely guarded trade secrets.



Today ok talk around the most typical gold colours and also their compositions. However if you have a special task in mind contact me to discover out what is possible.


Modern gold Alloys and Colours

No issue what the purity — 18K, 14K or 9k — the procedure starts v gathering the exactly amount that pure metals and also blending them to develop different colours.


Yellow gold

As we understand pure gold (24k or .999) is yellow, however it is also really soft and unsuitable because that making delicate jewellery. Additionally the greater the yellow purity, the much more expensive the metal is. In bespeak to do a an ext durable metal, and also to mitigate cost, we include an alloy to the pure gold.

In the situation of yellow gold, we add an alloy of 50% silver and also 50% copper to add to 24k pure gold. The greater the gold content the richer the yellow colour:

18k yellow has a rich buttery colour,whereas 14k yellow has a straw yellow color and9k yellow is a pale yellow. 

The “recipe” because that making 2 grams the 14k yellow gold (enough to do a slim wedding band) looks something choose this: 

1.2 grams the 24K gold casting grain0.4 grams the 999 silver spreading grain0.4 grams that 999 silver spreading grain

To adjust the colour of gold we simply adjust the proportions of the other steels or alloy as displayed here:


To do red gold we get rid of the silver and include only copper. The greater the gold content the less evident the colour: 18k red gold has a warm yellow colour, 14k red gold has a salmon-pink colour, and 9k red gold have the right to look quite coppery as checked out in antique jewellery in the UK. To mitigate the red colour and make pink or rose gold alloys us can add in a little bit of silver. This also makes the metal less complicated to work.

Green yellow or Electrum

A color you might not have actually heard of before is environment-friendly gold. Environment-friendly gold is a mix that gold and silver, with trace amounts of various other metals. It has actually been uncovered to type naturally together far back as 600 BC, when it was offered for the an initial metal coins ever made. Ancient Electrum was a bright, practically white metal with a slight greenish tinge as its gold contents was relatively low (45-55%).


A bespoke 14 karat eco-friendly gold ring - alloy by Nicole valve der Wolf

Last year i made a bespoke signet ring. The customer want it to it is in made in 14 karat eco-friendly gold, and I had to make it from scratch as mine supplier doesn"t stock it. If you"re interested something similar, call Nicole to comment on possibilities.



Use the yellow, green and also red gold goes earlier to antiquity, yet white gold is fairly new. The an initial attempts at making white gold were made in the early 1700’s. The metal we understand as white gold currently was occurred in the 1920’s as a cheaper alternate to platinum, i m sorry was famous in Art-Deco diamond jewellery. 

To do white yellow we include a blend of only white metals, choose silver and also palladium (a member of the platinum family), but no copper. White gold isn’t yes, really white, the is simply paler 보다 yellow gold and also with a grey tinge.

For example, 18k white yellow looks pretty similar to 14k yellow. 14k white gold is much more grey v a touch the yellow. And also finally 9k white gold deserve to have a virtually aluminium-like appearance. 

Rhodium Plating 

So why does white gold on the high street every look the same, no matter what the purity?

To acquire that shining white finish, white yellow jewellery is typically rhodium plated.

Rhodium is another metal in the platinum family. The rhodium plated jewellery looks good on display, yet the plating does often tend to wear gradually exposing the underlying yellow-grey material.

There is a farming trend among goldsmiths and designer/makers to architecture pieces with the herbal material in mind. Why? Well,

It feels more honest – what you see is what friend getIt is reduced maintenance – no should re-plate the piece more down the lineIt clears a time consuming and also costly step from the making procedure – benefits that benefit you together a customer.


Is over there a price difference? 

There is a price difference relying on the yellow purity – eg. The buttery yellow 18k yellow is more expensive 보다 straw yellow 14k and there is an additional step down in price for the pale yellow 9k gold.

There is usually no difference between red or yellow yellow in the same karat proportion. For this reason 18k yellow gold is typically the very same price together 18k red gold – you are after all gaining the exact same amount of gold and the gold contents is what to adjust the price.

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The exemption is white gold. The palladium that is mixed into the white yellow is part of the platinum family and also is a much more expensive metal than silver and also copper. As a result white gold is generally slightly much more expensive than yellow or red gold. In countless cases, there is also the added cost of rhodium plating the finished piece of jewellery. 

Are there other colours of gold?

Yes, there are much more possibilities, prefer black, blue and purple, yet they space not really an ideal for jewellery. 

Black yellow is created by oxidizing the “other metals” in ~ the surface, fairly than colouring the steel throughout. This and other approaches of blackening yellow are considered a surface treatment and it tends to stay away end time, much like oxidized silver or rhodium plated white gold. 

Purple yellow is combined with aluminium and blue gold uses an iron alloy to readjust the metal colour throughout. Unfortunately the resulting steels are notoriously brittle and prone come cracking, do it impossible to work-related them using classic jewellery do techniques.

That said, metallurgists continue to develop new metals and experiment through applications, so who knows what lies ahead!