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Gold Alloys

 

Colored gold alloys are just as "real" as their golden colored counterparts. Pure gold is generally too soft to be used for jewelry, so other metals are nearly always added to it, no matter which color of gold is being prepped for jewelry making.

The color of gold is determined by two factors:

  • The type of metal alloys included
  • The percentage of each metal alloy

White Gold Alloys

  • Nickel can be mixed with gold to create a white (or gray) color; it can cause dermatitis in people who are sensitive to nickel.
  • Palladium is another metal used to create white gold alloys. Related to platinum, it is more expensive than nickel, but is less likely to cause allergic reactions than nickel.  
  • In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium. Although strong, rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that can be done to restore whiteness to your jewelry.   
  • Black rhodium is plated to white gold creating a rich black appearance that is extremely hard and strong. As with traditional white rhodium, black rhodium may wear away over time. Replating is a simple process that Blue Nile offers to restore your jewelry's black finish.

Rose & Pink Gold Alloys

  • Copper is added to make gold-colored alloys, but additional copper creates pink and rose tones -- the more copper, the deeper the effect.  

Green Gold Alloys

  • Greenish shades are created by adding silver to gold.

 Making alloys isn't as simple as it might sound. Before they make an alloy, metallurgists have to consider how the metals will react with each other. Adding too much of one metal or another can make the mixture brittle, too hard, or difficult to work with. Some ingredients could make the mix too soft. Metallurgists fine-tune their recipes to produce combinations that are attractive, durable and can be successfully worked into pieces of jewelry.

Gold Karat Markings

  • 24K gold is pure gold.

     

  • 18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal(s), making it 75% gold.

     

  • 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal(s), making it 58.3% gold.

     

  • 12K gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts of another metal(s), making it 50% gold.

     

  • 10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal(s), making it 41.7% gold. 10K gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called gold in the US.

 

 

Gold Care

Since gold is a natural element, it is affected by harsh chemicals such as chlorine or other cleaning products. We recommend that you remove your jewelry when using chemicals to reduce daily abrasions and prolong the luster. To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush. When not worn, store your gold pieces in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements of daily exposure.