The Colour Of Gold
From rose to yellow and on to white, the colour of this metal varies and with this variation there exists the in-between. The colour of gold can be so subjective when faced with something not quite rose, but not bright yellow, an almost blending of both. So where is the definitive line ? Where does this favoured metal get its hue? A GUIDE TO GOLD
The use of gold in jewellery dates far back in history when it became a symbol of status and wealth. Gold jewellery can be found in many forms and will always retain its value as a precious metal, a highly sought after treasure popping up again and again throughout worldwide cultures and ancient histories. There is influence in the colour from composition, not just the content with the gold alloy, the karat, but also the elements from which the alloy is forged. YELLOW GOLD
We all know the historic value of pure gold, being the most sort after metal dating back over 5000 years ago where records have proven that the Ancient Egyptians used gold to decorate tombs and temples. In its purest form, exists 24 carat gold - This high karat isn’t the most practical for jewellery because the higher content of gold creates a much softer alloy which is vulnerable to bending, scratches, and denting.
Image Source : The Met Fifth Avenue In Gallery 121 'Finger Ring depicting King Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti as Shu and Tefnut CA. 1353-1336' Yellow gold is made from mixture of pure gold with silver, copper, and zinc. It is the most hypo allergenic metal and requires the least amount of maintenance, with the composition varying slightly with manufacture and alloy quality, the gold content resulting in karat etc. Its this yellow shade that springs to mind when we think of gold, the classic buttery yellow hues that characterise gold coins discovered in treasure chests, gold that decorates a hidden tomb and ancient relics.
Image Source : Charlie Luxe Vintage, 18ct yellow gold earrings alongside 9ct yellow gold pendant. 'The difference in yellow shade between the two items of jewellery with differing karats in striking and obvious.' ROSE GOLD Moving on to Rose gold, a gold with a pinker deeper tint to the colour, that is no longer the distinctive 'bright yellow', but a softer more delicate shade.
Rose gold was patented by British jeweller William Holden in 1842, he invented it as an attempt to recreate the look and colour of copper coins, originally naming rose gold ‘American Pink’.
Image Source : Stock Photo Of A Copper 1p Coin
Renowned Russian jeweller Carl Faberge was one of the first to use Rose Gold in ornate creations, most famously Faberge eggs. This then sparked the trend to use this mix of metals in jewellery, renaming the alloy mixture as ‘Rose Gold’.
Image Source : Stock Image depicting a 'Faberge-esque' egg
To obtain that rosier colour, rose gold is made with a high presence of copper mixed with pure gold. This addition of copper is what causes the gold to redden slightly, achieving the pinker hue. It is generally more affordable as copper is an extremely common metal, and is also more durable due to the strength coming from the inclusion of copper in the alloy. Interestingly rose gold also it also tends to have a softer texture, making it more comfortable to wear. Rose gold jewellery fades in and out of popularity as with yellow and white, but it is currently enjoying a boom ; The warmer softer tones tends to make it appear more subtle, and has a lovely aged lived in quality to the older pieces of jewellery.
A common ratio for an 18 carat rose gold ring would be 75% gold, 22.5% copper and a small 2.5% of silver, whereas 14 carat rose gold would be approx. 48% gold and 42% copper. CHOOSING YOUR GOLD
Rose gold can sometimes be slightly more affordable due to the copper content, however the cost of an item of jewellery is generally based off the percentage of pure gold. The higher the carat of gold, the more expensive an item of jewellery will be, regardless of what the gold is mixed with.
Image Source Charlie Luxe Vintage. A mix of eras, gold karats and jewellery items.
Rose gold is extremely durable, unlike yellow gold it does not tarnish (when the surface of the metal begins to look dull). However, over time rose gold can slightly darken in colour, this is because of everyday wear causing oxidisation, where a thin coating will cover the metal, often referred to as patina.
A note for choosing rose gold over yellow is that it can rarely cause irritations in some instances, particularly if you are sensitive to the metals blended in the alloy. Due to this rose gold is not a recognised hypo-allergenic metal, which can be confusing because it is still gold. A general rule is that the higher the pure gold content, the less likely it will cause irritaton. It is recommended that those who are prone to allergic reactions should consider yellow gold and white gold jewellery over rose gold. GOLD TRENDS
Like most things, gold has been in and out of fashion in modern times. Yellow gold was the predominate favourite from the 1960’s right through until the mid-nineties, when yellow gold then became considered 'tacky' and thus less desirable. White gold was then the favourable choice in search for jewellery that felt more modern and stylish.
Image Source : Charlie Luxe Vintage, Vintage 18ct White Gold Engraved Blossom Band Moving further forward into the 2010s, trend forecasters WGSN began to regularly feature rose gold jewellery in their trend predictions in 2012, however nearly 100 years previous, rose gold was heavily popularised by the likes of Tiffany and Cartier, designing jewellery oozing warmth and femininity. This was until the Wall Street Crash in 1929 which gave way to newer commercial styles of jewellery.
Today all types of gold colour are considered equally popular; rose gold has never dwindled in popularity in the same dramatic manner as yellow and white gold. Currently yellow and white gold are certainly having a resurgence thanks to celebrities such as Megan Markle inspiring the return of yellow gold thanks to *that* gold and diamond trilogy ring.
Image Source : Marie Clare magazine There are even new trends being born in metal choice, with more unconventional materials such as tungsten being an increasingly popular choice for engagement and wedding rings, and of course the mixing of gold colours and karats alongside a necklace stack for the collectors and pursuers of fine antique and vintage jewellery. .................................. We love rose, yellow and white gold and we love to mix it up and wear them alongside each other, tell us in the comments what colour of gold you opt for and whether you mix it up or keep it classic !