Thinking of buying gold jewelry? Excellent choice! From gold wedding bands, to white gold engagement rings to rose gold jewelry sets--gold is consistently in high demand in the jewelry market. Why? Well, fewer metals are regarded as highly for their quality, aesthetic and lifespan as gold. Simply put: gold is timeless! If it wasn’t such a classic, it wouldn’t be available in so many different styles and colors.
Speaking of gold colors, what was once a predominantly yellow gold jewelry market has evolved through various colors and now we’re seeing a massive boom in rose gold jewelry. Is rose gold the new gold? Is white gold less pure than yellow gold? Is yellow gold outdated?
No doubt, you’ve got questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers! Truth is, there’s a lot to consider when buying gold jewelry, especially when it comes to choosing the perfect color.
Before you invest in fine gold jewelry, there are factors you’ll want to consider. For example, which is more durable and which requires long-term maintenance? What’s the difference between rose gold, white gold and Black Hills Gold?
For starters, yellow gold is the only pure form of gold, but each of these gold colors contains yellow gold. Depending on the gold karatage, alloy metals are used to strengthen gold as it’s simply too soft on its own. This means any gold jewelry that is not yellow gold contains alloys that change its color and properties.
Allow us to elaborate by explaining the key features of rose gold, white gold and Black Hills Gold. First up...
You know and love it, right? How could you not? It’s pink! Ok, back to the subject at hand: what is rose gold? Well, rose gold is simply yellow gold that’s been mixed with a copper and nickel alloy to create that romantic rosy hue. You may notice that some rose gold jewelry pieces are more brightly pink and others are more deep, almost reddish? The color of the rose gold piece ultimately correlates to how much nickel and copper are used in the alloy. For instance, the more nickel, the redder the rose gold will appear.
Is there a standard mixture for rose gold? Most often, rose gold contains 75% gold and 25% copper. If rose gold contains 75% gold, it’s considered 18k rose gold.
To learn more about rose gold jewelry, don’t miss our ultimate buyer’s guide to rose gold vs. yellow gold, which elaborates on value, fashion trends, styling, durability, and more!
There are few jewelry metals as sparkling and brilliant as white gold. But, what is white gold and how does it get its pristine color? Is white gold real gold?
Absolutely! White gold is simply yellow gold that’s been alloyed with a mixture of metals and often plated after to create a white finish. Generally, white gold is mixed with nickel or palladium, depending on what type of jewelry piece it is.
Generally, white gold contains rhodium plating which is a coating around the gold in order to strengthen and protect the metal. Additionally, rhodium plating creates a smooth sheen and resists scratching and tarnishing. Need more info? We’ve got you covered with all the details explaining rhodium plating and whether or not it’s right for you.
While rhodium-plating white gold jewelry creates a gorgeous luster that also strengthens the jewelry, over time and with daily wear your white gold jewelry will require replating. It’s important to factor replating into the long-term maintenance of your jewelry as it will preserve the lifespan, but also accrue additional costs.
Among the gold shades, rhodium plating is unique to white gold jewelry, as rose gold and Black Hills gold do not require rhodium plating.
Pictured above: Gold-quartz placer nugget from the Black Hills of South Dakota, USA | Image credit: James St. John on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0
If you haven’t heard of the Black Hills, then you haven’t been to South Dakota or seen the infamous Doris Day western, Calamity Jane. Don’t worry, we’ll help you catch up:
The Black Hills are in South Dakota, one of the major mining meccas for gold in the United States. In fact, the Black Hills Mine in Lead, South Dakota produced 10% of the world’s gold during a span of one hundred years! However, with the Depression, World War II and evolving federal government interaction, the Black Hills Mine inevitably slowed production and finally closed down in 2001.
Gold mining in the Black Hills, once a booming and lucrative industry, is now a song of the past. What’s left, however, is the prevalence of Black Hills gold in jewelry. So, what is Black Hills Gold, is it simply yellow gold? Yes, and no.
Black Hills Gold contains unique characteristics that differ from yellow gold. For example, Black Hills gold jewelry will have natural elements like leaves and grapes, and come in a variety of colors including light green, pink and yellow.
Ultimately, for a jewelry item to be labeled Black Hills Gold, it must be crafted in the Black Hills of South Dakota. However, the gold itself can be mined elsewhere. Most often, you’ll encounter Black Hills Gold rings.
Important note: Black Hills gold is not the same as black gold.
As you can see, rose gold, white gold and Black Hills Gold each have their own unique features. Really, the only universal feature among the three is that gold is the main ingredient. Here are the key differences between white gold, rose gold and Black Hills gold:
Rose gold has a warm, rosy hue obtained from copper and nickel alloys mixed with yellow gold.
White gold is almost always rhodium-plated, which creates a shining luster and enhances its durability. Over time, white gold will require replating, as the yellow beneath may begin to show through.
Black Hills Gold is gold jewelry that can be mined anywhere but must be crafted in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The similarities between these three types of gold jewelry are few, but they each retain an eye-catching uniqueness that sets them apart from other jewelry metals.
And that’s it! Which is your favorite? Ready to shop? Browse our extensive collection of gorgeous gold jewelry, including unique white gold and rose gold jewelry!
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