What makes White Gold White? What makes Rose Gold Rose?
Generally there is very little difference between the alloys of Gold. Basically they’re gold with some other metals added either to change the colour (as is the case with White and Rose Gold)
18k White Gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel or palladium, a common mix being 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2%, while 9k White Gold us usually something more like a mix of 62.5% silver.
It’s also true that 9k White Gold is more white than 18k (or even 14k) White Gold due to the fact that there is less gold colour to ‘cover up’ in 9k than 18k gold, so it is common to see 14k and 18k White Gold with a hint of yellow to the colour.
Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in carats (karats), with karats being 24ths of Gold, for example :
9k gold is 9/24 = 37.5% gold
14k is 14/24 = 58.3% gold
18k = 18/24 = 75% gold
and so on
White gold's properties can vary dramatically depending on the metals and proportions used in the mix. This is done deliberately for different purposes for example, mixing gold with nickel makes it harder which is perfect for rings and brooch pins, while if you mix gold with a soft metal such as palladium then it becomes good for gemstones settings where a pliable gold alloy is required.
Rose gold is made when you mix gold with copper since copper has a reddish colour naturally, (gold and copper are the only coloured metals, all the rest are silverish in colour) and an important point to note with both White and Rose gold is that since by definition the gold must be mixed with other metals to make the colour, then it’s not possible to have “Pure” (or 100% / 24k) Rose or White Gold.
Rose gold may also vary quite a lot in colour depending on the amount of copper mixed with the gold, the higher the copper content the more reddish the colour and a common combination for Rose gold is 75% gold plus 25% copper.
There are some more unusual alloys of gold where gold is mixed with Silver or even Iron, Cadmium or Aluminum and this is when you hear of Green Blue or even Purple gold !!! There are not seen very often but do exist.
Red gold is sometimes seen too, this being more common in the Middle East and this is an alloy of gold with a very high copper content, typically 14k Gold with 58.3% gold plus 41.7% Copper.
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