Christina Aguilera Navel Ring
Pure gold is naturally yellow. However, pure gold is too soft to make jewelry out of. Because of this pure gold is often combined with other metals the result is an alloy that comes in a variety of colors.
The amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry is measure in karats. Karats get their name because many years ago seed from carob trees were used to balance the scales to weigh gems and gold. The higher the number of karats in your jewelry the more pure gold and fewer alloys are in it.
Jewelry with a high numbers of karats contains more pure gold and therefore is more yellow in color. Pure gold is 24 karats; it is always yellow in color. The color of gold is modified depending on which types of metals make up the remaining percentage of the alloy.
For example, 18 karat gold is comprised of 75 percent pure gold and 25 percent other metals. The color of the metal is determined by what metals make up the 25 percent. The proportion of those metals also plays a big factor in the color of the gold piece. In addition, the smaller the karat in a piece, meaning the less pure it is, the easier it will be to alter the colors. You must also consider how the different metals will react with each other, and the effect it will have on the value of the jewelry.
For example, when gold is combined with nickel a white gold is formed. White gold alloys became trendy in the 1920s. Its popularity was due in most part because white gold could be used as a substitute for the more expensive platinum. When nickel is combined with gold, it produces a color very similar to platinum. It is an inexpensive way to bleach yellow gold.
White gold can also be achieved by combining gold with a more expensive palladium. Palladium is a close relative of platinum. While it is possible to achieve a white gold alloy using palladium it is rarely done. The first reasons jewelers avoid the palladium blends is its costs. Palladium is almost as expensive as the gold itself. Another disadvantage of this metal is its high melting point.
Silver is another metal that if combined in the proper amounts can be used to create white gold alloys. Other whiteners include zinc, platinum, indium, cobalt, platinum, and tin.
Combining copper and gold while decreasing the silver content, will result in a pink or rose-colored gold. The pink color becomes deeper based on how much copper is added. The gold can actually appear a bronzy red if enough copper is added to the blend.
A green gold alloy can be achieved by leaving copper out of the mixture. By blending only silver and gold the result will be a greenish yellow color. Green gold’s are usually too soft to be used in jewelry. They are however popular decorative accent pieces.
Yellow gold is the most popular shade of gold sold in the United States today. Pure 24 karat gold is yellow in color. However, you can enhance the yellow color of a piece with fewer karats by adding small amounts of copper and silver.
While making different colored alloys seems simple there is a lot to consider when modifying the color of gold. To begin, you must judge how the metals are going to react with each other. If you add too much of one metal or another you can make the gold unusable. Bad combinations of metals, or bad quantities of those metals, may result in gold that is too hard or brittle, or to soft and malleable.