I have a ring at home that is three colors of gold. Just the other day I was wondering, what makes the difference in the colors? Even though I do not work in gold, I thought I wanted to find out and share it in my blog.
Just as I had suspected, the difference lies in the metals mixed into the gold alloys.
Yellow gold is made by mixing metal alloys such as copper and zinc to pure gold.
Rose gold is made by mixing pure gold with alloys such as copper, which creates the rosy reddish color.
White gold is pure gold mixed with metal alloys such as silver and palladium.
Often times, white gold jewelry is coated with rhodium, another white metal, which helps the gold look whiter. In its pure state, white gold is actually a light grey color. Over time, the rhodium wears away. When this happens, the jewelry needs to be recoated (plated) with the rhodium. This may need to be done every 12-18 months and is a fairly common practice with jewelers.
The higher the carat weight of your yellow gold jewelry, the richer the yellow color will be. By that I mean that a ring that is 18 carat is yellower than a ring that is 14 carat. The higher the carat weight in rose gold, the more subtle the rose tone will be. And in white gold, the color will look the same because of the plating.
The one last difference is more in terms of the carat weight. The higher the carat weight, the better your jewelry piece will age because the piece will be stronger and hold up to everyday wear better.
Very interesting information.