Published 01/09/2021 by Rebecca Nichols

What is a gold alloy?

Gold alloy is made by combining gold with one or more metals, thus blending gold’s color, malleability, ductility and resistance to corrosion with the properties of the additional metals. This greatly increases gold’s durability, affordability and can even produce exotic colors.

Why isn’t pure gold used in jewelry?

Pure gold is extremely malleable, making it easy to scratch and warp even with gentle use. Alloying gold with other metals greatly increases its durability, keeping your jewelry looking its best and protecting it from getting scuffed as easily with everyday use.

Did you know…? Gold is so malleable that just one ounce can be flattened into a sheet so thin it can cover 100 square feet.

What does karat mean?

Karat, often abbreviated as “K” or “kt”, is the unit used to measure gold’s purity. The karat number says how many out of 24 parts in an alloy are gold. For example, pure 100% gold (99.9% or higher in practice) contains 24 out of 24 parts gold. The most popular karats for gold jewelry are 18K (75% gold), 14K (58.5% gold) and 10K (41.6%).

How are different colors of gold made?

You are probably familiar with the classic yellow, white and rose golds, but did you know gold also comes in blue, purple, red and greens depending on what metals are added? While the percentage of gold is fixed according to the karat, the additional metals can be of any type and percentage, allowing for a wide range of exotic hues.

  • Yellow - Silver, copper, and zinc
  • White -  Nickel, silver and zinc ( or palladium and silver for nickel-free white gold)
  • Rose - Copper and silver
  • Green - Silver, copper, and cadmium
  • Blue - Iron
  • Purple - Aluminum
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