Whether you’re looking for some gold jewelry for a special person in your life, or you just want to be informed for your next trip to the jeweler, knowing the different types of gold can come in handy.
If the only kind of gold that rings a bell to you is 24-karat gold, you’re not alone. Read on for a simple guide to the different kinds of gold.
Pure gold, or 24-karat gold, is one of the rarest types of gold. It is a 100 percent gold alloy and it is the least durable of the different styles of gold. It is not entirely practical for the average consumer because of its fragility, as it bends and scratches easily.
Instead of finding 24K gold at most jewelers, you’re more likely to find items dipped in gold, which is called gold leaf. Dipping other metals in pure gold gives you the appearance of gold with the durability of harder metals. This is the most popular use of pure gold.
Yellow gold alloys look like pure gold but are actually a mixture of pure gold with other metals, usually silver and zinc. By adding other metals to pure gold, you maintain the yellow color but increase the durability and hardness. Yellow gold alloys are also more affordable since they don’t contain 100 percent pure gold.
Most yellow gold jewelry is some form of a gold alloy. These alloys are ranked using the karat system which measures the ratio of pure gold to the other metals. The higher the karat number, the more pure gold it contains.
14-karat gold is the most common gold type in the United States, containing 14 parts of yellow gold to other metals. It is roughly 58 percent gold and 42 percent other metals and is extremely durable, second only to 10-karat gold.
White gold has a silvery appearance because it is mixed with metals like palladium (platinum) or nickel. It was first created as an alternative to platinum, which is an expensive metal.
White gold is typically less expensive than yellow gold. It is also rated using the karat system.
Rose gold is a colored gold alloy that gets its color from being mixed with copper. Rose gold, like the other gold alloys, uses the karat system to denote the ratio of yellow gold to copper. Mixing yellow gold with a higher amount of copper results in a deeper reddish hue, while lowering the amount of copper gives off a light pink color.
Rose gold is also a more affordable option than yellow gold.
All Types of Gold Are Beautiful
Whether you opt for the classic yellow gold or the more modern rose gold, gold is timeless. Choosing between the different types of gold really comes down to your personal preference. With many different alloy options, you’ll always be able to find a piece of gold that fits your budget.
If you liked this guide to the different kinds of gold, be sure to check out our other guides.