The Different Types of Gold for Jewelry


How much do you know about the gold in your jewelry? Odds are you know that it is a certain karat rating, and that 24K is the best, but do you know what that really means? If you own much gold jewelry, are thinking about investing in it or selling what you have, you should. There are many different types of gold in gold jewelry, and they all have different ratings and properties.

Karats Explained


No jewelry gold is pure gold, but 24 karat gold is the closest there is – at least 99.7% gold. The higher karat rating it has, the larger the percentage of gold. It is really that simple! One good reference point for less than 24 karats is that 18K gold is 75% gold. It may seem odd to call an object gold when the metals is only 75% gold, but there are plenty of reasons to combine gold with other metals.

Why Alloys?

One of the main reasons that gold is alloyed is to make it a bit stronger. Gold is a very soft metal, and alloying it with other metals allows it to be a little more durable. This is good for jewelry, which is at risk of damage when it is being worn.

Another reason is for color. Adding small proportions of other metals is what allows for white gold, red gold, and even green, blue, and purple gold. The proportions and types of metal make for the different colors. For example, white gold is 75% gold and 25% platinum or palladium. Palladium is more popular because it is more accessible.

Not Just Price

Price may be the first factor to come to mind when you think about knowing the karat rating of your gold and what metals are alloyed with it, and that’s fair. If platinum is the metal used to make white gold, for example, the white gold can be even more expensive than regular gold, because platinum is more expensive than gold itself. However, there are other reasons to know which metals are in which colors of gold.

One of the main ones is allergens. Many people are allergic to copper jewelry and avoid it, but they may not realize that copper is one of the primary metals that gold is alloyed with. Copper is in large proportions in green gold, rose gold, and red gold. On the other hand, palladium, used in white gold, is hypoallergenic, so people who have problems with other metals may be able to wear white gold jewelry with fewer issues.

However, if you don’t have allergy issues, you should look into the different types of gold more thoroughly. Many people don’t even know about all of the different shades, usually only knowing about “normal” yellow gold and perhaps white gold. Red gold and rose gold are very beautiful innovations created by these alloys and can certainly lend a different feeling to jewelry than the standard options. The same is true of the other colors of gold, though they are even less common in current jewelry design.

Now that you know a bit about the different types of gold that are used in jewelry, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when looking for, buying, or selling gold jewelry. Knowing more about your investments, especially those as expensive as jewelry, is always a good idea. Although the karat system and the amount of alloys out there can seem intimidating at first, remembering some of the basics about gold isn’t all that hard and will serve you well.