Just what is the difference between white, rose and yellow gold anyway?
I get asked this question a lot and the answer, to put it simply, is in the metal mixture that is used to make them. This metal mixture happens when gold is mixed with other metals otherwise known as alloys. The alloys essentially fluctuate the karat of gold and the color depending on how the mixture is changed.
Why do they alloy gold?
Pure gold, also known as 24 karat, though it is incredibly valuable, is really soft and doesn't make the best jewellery. It just can't stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life. So when mixing gold different alloys such as copper, palladium and zinc are added in to make the gold harder and change its color. The more alloys you add the more the color will change and the karat value of the gold will go down.
Yellow Gold is commonly mixed with copper and zinc. A 10 karat yellow gold ring has a higher percentage of alloy than a 22 karat yellow gold ring, which makes it more durable but also more affordable as there is less gold in the mixture.
White Gold which is currently the most popular color, is often times mixed in varying blends using nickel, palladium or rhodium along with some other options. Though it looks alot like silver, it is much more durable, quite a bit more expensive and will not tarnish like sterling silver. It is important to note that not all companies are mixing their gold using the same formulas. The alloys used to mix with white gold, in particular palladium and rhodium are very expensive. Some companies will cut down on the amount of these alloys in the recipe leaving the gold with a yellowish tinge. To keep the gold looking bright white they rhodium plate a thin coating overtop. Rhodium plating can wear off quite quickly leaving the yellowish colour to shine through. It is important to note that Rhythm Jewellery pendants use a really high grade mixture of white gold and therefore are not rhodium plated.
Rose Gold which can also be referred to as pink gold or red gold, has become incredibly popular over the last few years particularly for bridal. Generally speaking, rose gold is created when you add the alloys of copper and silver into the gold.
Which color of gold is better?
White, yellow and rose gold are going to have very similar durability to the wearer. In most cases they are very similar in price as well. So essentially it all comes down to personal preference and which color you prefer over the other. All of our pieces of Rhythm Jewellery are available in 10 karat yellow, white or rose gold as well as sterling silver. If you can't decide which one you like, don't panic!. The trend over the last while has been to wear multiple shades of gold in layers or to stack different coloured gold rings on one finger. Gone are the days of matchy match. Don't be afraid to mix it up!
Tasha Sattler is the founder of Rhythm Jewellery and has over 20 years experience in the jewellery industry repairing, designing and manufacturing high end jewellery. To see her bio please check out our Our Story page. To view a collection of some of the projects she has been a part of visit our Fine Jewellery Portfolio.