How Many Different Colors of Gold Are There?

gold mokume gane rings Jaume Labro

When most people are asked about colors of gold, yellow and white varieties typically come to mind. And while these two hues are certainly the standard for most luxury jewelry, there’s an entire rainbow of gold alloys that are just as stunning.

Our Mokume Gane jewelry harnesses a wide variety of gorgeous shades to produce bespoke jewelry pieces. But how many different colors of gold exist – and how they are produced?



What Is “Pure Gold?”

When found in nature, pure gold is 24 karat. Because 24K gold is extremely soft and malleable, it’s a poor choice in jewelry production. To produce a stronger material, gold is mixed with other alloys (like silver or copper) to produce a stronger product. Nearly all of the gold used for jewelry production is an alloy.

22K or 18K: What Is Better for Jewelry Production?

22K karat gold is 91.6% pure gold, still brilliantly yellow, and slightly harder. That said, it’s still easily bent, making it a poor choice for gemstone-studded jewelry.

With a 75% gold composition, 18K gold is far better  for jewelry designed to be worn regularly without risk of damage. While 18K gold is a slightly different shade of gold (with less of a deep golden luster), it is a more affordable option and requires less regular upkeep.

With the right alloys, expert metalsmiths can produce a wide spectrum of intriguing colors. While black, blue, and purple are all possible gold colors, they’re notorious for breaking in traditional jewelry designs.

What Different Colors of Gold Are Used for Jewelry?

different colors of gold

White Gold

White gold looks incredibly similar to platinum – but approximately four times less expensive. White gold amplifies the beauty of colorless diamonds to produce a stunning effect.

Initially, white gold was a mixture of palladium and yellow gold. Today, it is most often created by combining yellow gold with alloys like zinc, copper, and a platinum compound (instead of nickel due to common allergic reactions). Rhodium plating is usually added to remove any trace of yellow that may still shine through. Though this plating may need to be replaced every few years, it is an affordable fix for an affordable metal. We could say Palladium and Copper have a key role in the alloys to create the different colors of gold range.

Rose Gold

Mokume Gane Ring Rose Gold, White Gold, Silver, Custom Jewelry by Jaume Labro, Wedding Rings

 

This hand-hammered rose gold engagement ring reveals a Mokume Gane pattern along the interior.

A unique option for the modern jewelry lover, the popularity of rose gold has surged over the last decade. Also referred to as pink or blush gold, this alloy is formed when copper and silver are mixed with gold.

For an 18k rose gold, you can expect approximately the following ratio: 75% gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver. To get a lighter 18k pink gold, the following proportions tend to be used: 75% gold, 20% copper, and 5% silver. Deeper, redder hues are achieved by adding more copper to the mix. 

Green Gold

Created nearly three millennia ago, green gold is created by adding silver to gold (and occasionally copper). Green is the most popular “alternative” gold color because of its soft yet durable composition. Though not exactly an emerald or forest green, people love the subtle greenish-yellow tinge. Green gold fine jewelry truly shines when paired with a variety of gold colors.

green gold mokume gane rings

For the highest caliber of green gold, look for a balanced mixture of 18k green gold made up of 75% yellow gold and 25% silver. If you’re designing or purchasing an engagement ring, nickel or zinc may be added to strengthen the alloy. Be sure to ask your jeweler, especially if you suffer from metallurgical allergies.

No Matter the Color, Choose Ethical Gold

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Cyanide is most often used to extract gold from ore, and then this poisonous substance leaches directly into ecosystems. When purchasing a beautiful piece of jewelry, take an extra step and check where it’s been mined.

Sustainable jewelry designers and consumers have begun using their purchasing power to choose eco-friendly gold. At Jaume Labro, all of our jewelry pieces are made from purified, existing gold. With zero environmental damage, your Mokume Gane jewelry will be even more meaningful.

Mokume Gane Patterns Capture the Beauty of Colored Gold

mokume gane technique

The ancient art of Mokume Gane fuses layers of precious colored metals in a one-of-a-kind pattern. This is an effective way to combine multiple metals into something uniquely yours.

Selecting colored, eco-friendly gold for your next jewelry piece is a surefire way to showcase your style and personality. Speak to one of the Jaume Labro consultants to start discussing your next Mokume Gane ring, necklace, or pendant.

If you still have questions about the different colors of gold and potential new alloys, just contact us and we will reply you in detail.

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