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Yellow gold, rose gold or white gold? What’s the difference and are they all really gold? The short answer is yes, all colours of gold do contain gold. The difference arises in the composition of the alloy.
Jewellery is not made of pure gold as it would be too soft for daily wear. The standard for fine jewellery in Australia is 18 karat, meaning it is made up of 75% gold and 25% other metals. Karat is not to be confused with carat, which is used to measure the weight of diamonds.
Yellow gold is usually alloyed with sterling silver, copper, and zinc. Rose gold is a combination of gold and copper, which gives it its warmth. White gold is a combination of gold and nickel, palladium, or zinc.
While white gold has long been the most popular choice, yellow gold is the most traditional and is making a comeback in recent years. Rose gold is the most different and unique choice.
When yellow gold is used in diamond jewellery it is common to make the setting in white gold to highlight the beautiful white diamonds and make them look as bright as possible.
White gold in its raw state will still have a yellow tinge so it is commonly plated with rhodium to give it a bright silvery appearance. As this plating is very thin it will wear off eventually. Usually, you’ll notice this first on the underside of your ring. A jeweller can re-rhodium plate your jewellery to bring it back to looking bright and new.
The colour of gold used in your jewellery is purely a personal choice. And gone are the days when it is expected that all jewellery should match. Mixing metals is very on-trend. Whatever the colour, gold is a beautiful and precious choice for jewellery of all kinds.